“American Idol” judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie had a hard time cutting the 64 contestants competing in the Showstoppers round of the competition down to just 24. But they managed to so in shows that aired March 28 and March 29. Now, it is America’s turn to vote as this Top 24 is winnowed down by a third.
On both April 4 and April 5, a dozen hopefuls perform both solo and with celebrity partners. Each night, the top eight vote-getters will move on to the Top 16 while the bottom four will be eliminated.
Below, follow along with all the action in our live blog recap of Night 11 Season 19 episode of “American Idol.”
8:00 p.m. — They survived their first auditions, the grueling demands of Hollywood week and Showstoppers, but can they survive America’s vote? This time the power is in viewers’ hands. Last night 12 contestants performed solo numbers and celebrity duets. Tonight the remaining contestants in the Top 24 will compete for a spot in next week’s Top 16. Let’s go!
8:07 p.m. — Jason Warrior is kicking things off tonight with a performance of “Call Out My Name” by The Weeknd. Jason has a lot of charisma on stage and never struggles to put passion into each performance. He’s probably the most soulful contestant in the competition. I don’t love this song choice, but he’s definitely delivering vocally. For his duet he pairs up with Grammy-winner PJ Morton for a performance of “How Deep is Your Love” by the Bee Gees. They both sound good, but I feel like they’re singing at the same time, not “together.” I was also hoping to see Jason have a bit of fun. He’s always SO intense, I’d like him to chill out once in a while. But he definitely deserves to join the Top 16 based on tonight’s performances. Katy calls it the best solo and duet performance she’s seen so far, but would like to see Jason take a couple of risks artistically (namely more fun costumes). Lionel says “it does not get any better than that.”
8:15 p.m. — The second artist performing tonight is 26-year old Madison Watkins. She begins with a solo performance of “Holy” by Justin Bieber, which isn’t as inspiring of a song as I think she had hoped. Madison is a full package and looks like a pop star already, but vocally she goes a little sharp when she belts out the high notes on this song. For her duet she teams up with Tori Kelly singing “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder. These duets really show how artists stand up to established superstars and I don’t think Madison is measuring up to Tori in this case. I’m not sure this was a great night for Madison. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very memorable either. Luke says Madison is a natural entertainer with a striking look. Lionel says Madison “nailed it” and Katy was impressed with the vocal Olympics.
8:25 p.m. — Beane keeps things going with his solo performance of “Don’t Stop Now” by Dua Lipa. I didn’t really think much of Beane throughout the audition process, but I’m loving his presence tonight. Go ahead with the glittering eyeliner! He veers a bit off key throughout the song though, so that’s a little distracting. Actually, he sort of unravels vocally more and more throughout this performance. I wish these songs were longer. It doesn’t really have time to go anywhere. Next he’s singing “Angels” by Robbie Williams with superstar Josh Groban. Now, Beane is KILLING it on this duet and it’s miles better than his solo performance. This should solidify him in the Top 16. Katy says she would sign Beane right now and he has incredible artistic vision. Luke says Beane “slayed” him when he held his own with Josh.
8:35 p.m. — Hannah Everhart is up next singing “I Was Wrong” by Chris Stapleton. Hannah has a unique voice and I love how low her vocal register is, but she’s all over the place on this performance. There was plenty wrong with it, but America might like her enough to save her anyways. I don’t think she made the right song choice. Next she’s joined by country superstar Jason Aldean for a duet of his hit, “She’s Country.” This performance is much better and Hannah looks more loose on stage. Vocally, this is a better fit for her voice and may be enough to save her after her not-so-great solo performance. Katy didn’t think Hannah’s solo landed, but she looked like a star during her duet. Luke says once Hannah’s talent catches up with her star power she will be fun to watch.
8:45 p.m. — Next up is 19-year old Mary Jo Young singing “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran. This shows how important song choice is. Mary Jo isn’t the strongest vocalist in the competition, but for me this is easily the best solo performance so far tonight. I think she nailed it! Next she is joined for a duet of “Foolish Games” by the songwriter herself, Jewel. Jewel is absolutely fantastic tonight, WOW! But Mary Jo holds her own and I love the rasp in her voice when she stretches her range. Lionel calls Mary Jo “young and fresh” and says she represents her generation. Katy says Mary Jo is becoming an artist before our very eyes.
8:55 p.m. — Chayce Beckham is the next performer, starting with his solo performance of “Afterglow” by Ed Sheeran. I think America is really going to respond to Chayce, so watch out for him to go deep into this competition. He has so much charisma and his raspy vocals will attract fans of country and rock music alike. He looks completely comfortable on stage and absolutely aces this performance. Next, Brandon Boyd joins him for a duet of “Drive” by Incubus. They match up perfectly and have great harmonies. Chayce looks like a pro up there and this is top notch. It’s the best overall solo/duet performance of the night so far. Lionel calls Chayce’s voice “magical” but wants him to engage the audience more. Katy compares him to Alejandro Aranda and thinks he’s a true artist bound for the Grammy Awards.
9:05 p.m. — Next up is 22-year old former boy-bander, Colin Jamieson, singing “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. This is another great song choice that viewers will respond to and I’m happy to see Colin has toned down his whispery vocals. He’s a bit of a ham on stage and not the greatest vocalist, but I think he has what it takes to advance to the Top 16. For his duet he’ll be joined by Tori Kelly for a duet of her song “Hollow.” This is a nice compliment to his solo song, showing a more emotional, vulnerable side to him as a vocalist. Colin also does a good job of highlighting his range here. Katy says Colin looks like he plays 300 shows a year. Luke calls him “infectious” Lionel says Colin treats the stage like his living room.
9:15 p.m. — Next up singing “Just Friends” by Audrey Mika is 17-year old Liahona Olayan. This is a fun song that compliments her age, but it doesn’t have a great melody and her voice sounds just okay. She’s joined by PJ Morton for a duet of his song with JoJo, “Say So.” I like some of the inflections she does vocally on this song, but she isn’t one of the strongest vocalists this season. She’s so likable though, it may just be enough to get her to the next round. Luke calls Liahona “so talented” and thinks she’s radio ready. Lionel enjoys her phrases and note placement.
9:30 p.m. — The youngest competitor this season is 15-year old Ava August and she’s up next singing “Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo. I think she’s such a fantastic storyteller and Ava is connecting to this song magnificently. She absolutely nailed this and Katy’s jaw is on the floor. For her duet Ava is joined by Josh Groban singing “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell. Wow! She is really impressing me tonight. Ava looks like a star up there. Lionel says Ava is singing far beyond her age. Katy calls her a queen and tells her to “buckle up.” Luke says watching Ava is like watching Judy Garland on stage.
9:40 p.m. — Next up is 16-year old country singer Caleb Kennedy singing “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers Band. Caleb’s hat is pulled down so far I can’t even see his eyes, but his natural grit and vocal talent should win over country fans. He also has a lot of personality, which is seen throughout his meeting with his duet partner Jason Aldean. They sing Jason’s hit “Fly Over States” and Caleb holds his own. He makes some vocal mistakes, but he has so much charisma I think he will be safely into the Top 16. Katy loves that Caleb is authentically himself. Lionel says Caleb is possessed by an old, seasoned countryman.
9:50 p.m. — Hunter Metts is up next singing “Chandelier” by Sia. He has rearranged it to be a bit acoustic as he plays guitar and Hunter has a solid way of making this sound like his own song. I don’t think this is his strongest vocal, but I don’t know if matters. Hunter is the heartthrob of Season 19. For his duet he’ll sing the smash hit “Who Will Save Your Soul” with Jewel. Hunter seems a little uncomfortable with the harmonies and Jewel is sort of drowning him. Again, I think his charm will save him for a while in this competition but he can’t rely on that all season. Lionel calls Hunter a stylist and says he can’t mess this up, but he needs Hunter to feel confident enough to lean forward. Katy could see fear in Hunter’s eyes and advises him to stop comparing himself to other singers in the competition.
9:59 p.m. — Closing out the night will be 16-year old Casey Bishop singing “Decode” by Paramore. She’s a bit of a grunge rocker and I like that she’s carved out her own lane in this competition. She’s giving me a pure angst and angry teenager vibe, but in the most fun sort of way. I like it a lot! For her duet she’s joined by Brandon Boyd for an Incubus duet of “Wish You Were Here.” I’m not in love with the song choice, but the performance is good and these two are vibing well off each other. Lionel says Casey owns the stage. Katy wanted her to look a little more angry and make the stage her bitch! Luke says Casey hasn’t grasped her potential yet, but her voice is world class.
10:00 p.m. — That’s a wrap for Top 24 performances. For me, Chayce Beckham and Ava August won the night. And it’s tough to predict which four artists will be sent packing. I can’t decide. What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments and let us know who your favorite artist is this season and who you think gave the best or worst performances of the night.