The May 3 episode of “American Idol” will see the Top 20 cut down to the final 11 artists still in contention for the season 18 title. The 20 artists hoping to sing on the first live show of the season are: Faith Becnal, Franklin Boone, Dewayne Crocker, Jr., Samantha Diaz (“Just Sam”), Cyniah Elise, Kimmy Gabriela, Julia Gargano, Arthur Gunn, Aliana Jester, Dillon James, Louis Knight, Grace Leer, Francisco Martin, Nick Merico, Makayla Phillips, Lauren Spencer Smith, Sophia Wackerman, Jovin Webb, Jonny West and Olivia Ximines.
Ten of them will hear from host Ryan Seacrest that they number among America’s favorites and have earned places in the Top 11. The three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — will confer and throw a lifeline to one artist from the remaining 10 who will get to round out the Top 11. Each of them will sing live from their home in the hopes of winning enough votes from viewers to move on in the competition.
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Below, follow along as we recap all the action on “American Idol” season 18 night 14 in our updating live blog.
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8:00 p.m. — America has voted and now the Top 10 will compete to be number one! Things kick off with Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips singing his hit single, “Home,” which is the theme for this week. What will the Top 10 (or 11) select for the songs that remind them of home? And who will has won enough votes to advance? Katy has arrived dressed as a giant roll of toilet paper, so let’s get started!
8:10 p.m. — The first person to make it through to next week is Louis Knight! Tonight he’ll be singing “In My Place” by Coldplay. He’s playing for an audience of four at the piano on his front porch. It’s an okay song choice and Louis sounds good, but he’s not exactly blowing me away. Katy thought it helped her escape to a better time, Luke wasn’t blown away, but Lionel thinks Louis was great. Louis is the teen heartthrob this season so I doubt he’s going anywhere anytime soon.
8:20 p.m. — The second person to advance this week is Julia Gargano! Tonight she’s singing “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel. I love this song choice for her and I’m excited to hear her take on it. She’s switched things up this week by ditching the guitar and focusing solely on her voice. This is sort of a bluesy, laid back version that works nicely but I’m not terribly excited by this performance either. The judges are obsessed with her though and give her a standing ovation. Luke calls it the best performance of the year, Lionel says it’s fantastic and Katy thinks she grew to an even higher level.
8:35 p.m. — The third artist to make it into the Top 10 is Jovin Webb! Tonight he’s singing “Voodoo” by Allen Stone. This is a funky, soulful, southern song that represents his New Orleans culture. I love Jovin’s vibe and he’s so comfortable on stage. I wish there was a live audience to turn this up a notch, but he’s pulling it off on his home stage. This was easily my favorite of the night so far. Lionel loved the old school sound, Katy said she escaped with Jovin and Luke called it his best performance this year.
8:45 p.m. — The fourth artist in the Top 10 is Grace Leer! Tonight she’s singing “Over the Rainbow,” by Judy Garland, a song she sang in her third grade talent show. It’s wise to choose a well known, beloved classic although it’s not exactly what I was expecting from this country artist. It’s a little bland vocally, but okay I guess. Katy thought it was unusual, but bold. Luke says she showed America she has a big voice and Lionel told her to hone in on country fans if that’s the lane she wants to be in.
8:55 p.m. — The fifth artist in the Top 10 is Jonny West! Tonight he’s singing “Faithfully” by Journey. So far this season Jonny is nailing it with his song choices and that’s going to take him far. He sounds great on this laid back version of the classic rock ballad. Luke loves his well-placed falsettos, Lionel says he’s gone from shy to sexy and Katy can’t wait to see Jonny in concert.
9:05 p.m. — The sixth artist in the Top 10 is Sophia James! Tonight she’s singing “In My Room” by The Beach Boys. I love this song so I hope she nails it. Sophia is singing from her actual bedroom while playing the keyboard so the lyrics are fitting. This is sort of a cool version with a nice modulation — once again I think this would have been great with a live audience, but this is good too. Lionel loves her deliver from top to bottom, Katy says Sophia will have a career whether she wins or loses and Luke calls her a wonderful vocalist.
9:15 p.m. — The seventh artist in the Top 10 is Arthur Gunn! Tonight he’s singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. Arthur looks like he’s having a blast jamming on his guitar out on the deck of his house. It’s a fun, updated version of the classic and he’s got such a great, recognizable tone. Katy felt he did a much better job connecting to the audience this week, Luke loved his spin on the classic and Lionel loved the reggae twist.
9:25 p.m. — The eight artist in the Top 10 is Just Sam! Tonight she’s singing “Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers, dedicated to her grandmother who is in New York. I love how raw this song is and it fits Sam’s voice beautifully. She sounds great vocally, but this performance just doesn’t have much energy. Luke is impressed by her voice, Lionel is proud to see Sam beaming and Katy was reminded of being lost in church.
9:40 p.m. — The ninth artist in the Top 10 is Dillon James! Tonight he’s singing “Yesterday” by The Beatles. He picked up the tempo from the original and this is a nice folk version of the classic song. I feel like Dillon is taking us to the 1970’s with his entire vibe. I think he nailed it for the second week in a row! Lionel compliments his identifiable sound, Katy wanted him to paint beyond the lines more and Luke would have liked Dillon to slow it down a bit.
9:50 p.m. — The final artist to make the Top 10 is Francisco Martin! Tonight he’s singing “Falling Like The Stars” by James Arthur. He makes really smart song choices and for the second week in a row I think he’s one of the most current, relatable artists performing. This was a great performance for Francisco. Katy is sobbing and says she felt the lyrics, Luke thinks he’s a diamond in the rough and Lionel calls him a true talent.
9:55 p.m. — 10 artists are now facing elimination unless the judges decide to use their one save this season. Will they choose to use it now or save it for later in the season? There isn’t much time left, I think they should throw an artist their lifeline now and make this a Top 11 while we’re still getting to know them. I’m a little shocked about some of the female contestants facing elimination — the men who advanced were more expected for me. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the judges save Kimmy, Lauren or Makayla. And they decided to save Makayla!
9:59 p.m. — Last up is the judges’ save Makayla Phillips! Tonight she’s singing “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert. She’s hoping to show a more sentimental side of herself and I think this is a better song choice than she made last week, but it’s still not showing her full vocal potential. Luke wants America to hear her great voice, Lionel calls her a star and Katy appreciates how Makayla took their advice from last week. That’s a wrap for tonight! Unfortunately the journey has come to an end for nine artists: Faith Becnal, Frankline Boone, DeWayne Crocker, Jr., Cyniah Elise, Kimmy Gabriela, Aliana Jester, Nick Merico, Lauren Spencer-Smith and Olivia Ximines.