“American Idol” is midway through one of the the most fun stages of the competition, Hollywood Week. Night 7, which airs March 22, sees judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie taking another listen to some of the 150 contestants who got a golden ticket to La La Land. At the end of these seven days, only 40 contenders will make the cut.
Those two score of contestants will then take turns performing on their own and with celebrity guests. Only half of this Top 40 will move on in the competition. And from these Top 20, just 14 contestants will get put through to the live shows, which begin in early April. At that point, you will be able to predict the outcome of each episode in our predictions center.
Below, follow along with all the action in our live blog of the Night 7 Season 19 episode of “American Idol.”
8:00 p.m. — Hollywood Week is just one more stage in the gauntlet that is “American Idol.” The contestants are brought up onstage and they will either show up or crack. It’s survival of the fittest as judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan pair up the aspiring superstars for the Duets round of Hollywood week. Let’s get started!
8:10 p.m. — Host Ryan Seacrest gathers all the contestants outside where they will find out who their duet partner is for the upcoming round. After everyone is paired up they will choose a song and begin rehearsals. Something new this year — the judges will circulate during rehearsals and provide live, real notes that the singers can apply for their performance. It’s fun to see the judges in more of a mentorship role. First up are Liahona Olayan & Laila Mach. Liahona is still a little down in the dumps about her brother’s elimination last night, but Katy gives her a pep talk and tells her she better go after her own dreams while she has the shot. Liahona and Laila are singing “Stay,” with Liahona on keyboard as well. Liahona looks completely depressed as if she doesn’t even want to be there, which doesn’t make her fun to watch. They both sound fine, but neither is blowing this out of the water. Katy has no time for Liahona’s self-sabotage and tells Luke and Lionel that there are plenty of other people in Hollywood that are ready for this moment. Next, Katy lights into Liahona and calls her behavior selfish. “You took this whole ship down,” the judge says sternly before putting both teenagers through to the next round with a warning.
8:20 p.m. — Next up are Cameron Allen & Graham DeFranco singing “Watermelon Sugar.” Luke says the song didn’t show off their voices very well before advancing Graham and cutting Cameron on the spot. Beane & Kari Erickson sing the same song, hoping for better results. It felt like they were performing in a hotel lobby and didn’t quite have the dazzle they were hoping for. Beane advanced but Kari was cut after Katy tells her she needs more experience. The judges decide they want to ban “Watermelon Sugar” from the song list. The next pairing are polar opposites in terms of personality, but Lionel tells Anthony Guzman & Adriel Carrion they need to act like they’re best friends. The vocal coach says their song choice of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is boring so they make a last-minute change to, you guessed it, “Watermelon Sugar.” Katy can’t believe it, but these two kill it and impress the judges. Both will advance to the next round. Justice for “Watermelon Sugar”! Lionel calls Adriel’s performance “transformative.”
8:40 p.m. — The next pairing didn’t know each other until they teamed up for this duet, but have quickly become best friends. DeShawn Goncalves & Madison Watkins are singing “Stay,” and Lionel calls their chemistry a “slam dunk” before moving both of them forward. The next duo did not have the same instant chemistry. Hannah Everhart was not thrilled to be paired up with TikTok star Claudia Conway, but after brushing her off for the better part of an afternoon, they finally began rehearsals. Hannah eventually came around to working with Claudia, but their performance of “Sign of the Times” is pitchy at best. Luke thinks Hannah carried the load on this, but Katy didn’t really care for either of them. I didn’t either, but Hannah will move on to the next round and Claudia has been eliminated. Hannah feels terrible for how she acted towards Claudia earlier and says she’s a “really wonderful person.” She plans to FedEx Claudia a chicken in appreciation, but whether it’s dead or alive will be a surprise. Next up will be a country duet between Alex Miller & Emisunshine. Luke suggested to them earlier to avoid the song “Walk the Line,” but the duo has ignored that advice and will move forward with the Johnny Cash classic. Luke gives them props for doing the song justice, but hopes they throw some curveballs in the future. Both these country bumpkins will advance to the next round.
9:00 p.m. — The indie-folk pairing of Lizzy O’Very & Murphy has bonded them and both decide to sing barefoot while hoping to set themselves apart from the competition. But their performance of “Dreams” is a little off-kilter and all over the place. I didn’t think either of them did themselves any favors, but the judges loved it! It’s interesting, because I’ve always liked Murphy more than the judges do up to this point, and I didn’t care for this performance but they love it. Go figure. Lizzy and Murphy both advance. The next pair is Wyatt Pike & Cassandra Coleman and rehearsals have been a bit of a struggle. Cassandra has a really tough time controlling her nerves, which causes her to black out and forget lyrics. Their performance of “Too Close” is a bit underwhelming in my eyes, with neither shining brightly. The judges beg to differ and applaud both of them as they sail into the next round.
9:10 p.m. — The second half of tonight’s episode kicks off quickly with a performance from Monica Leah & Miguela. The two powerhouses blast through “Titanium” and I’m not sure if there was a single note in tune. Lionel calls it more of a duel than a duet and cuts both. Hoping for better results are Funke Lagoke & Ronda Felton, who have bonded and really built up an emotional support system between them. Both come from tough upbringings and see this dream as their shot at making a better life for themselves. They’re singing “Tell Him,” and have almost operatic tones. Funke in particular has a lower register like no other woman in this competition. But I can’t say this duet sounds good. It’s actually sort of a disaster. The judges argue about who should stay and who should go, and as Lionel is giving them both some harsh criticism, Funke passes out and lands face first on the stage. It looks painful, but she’s completely unconscious at this point. The ambulance has been called and we’ll get to the results of their journeys a bit later.
9:20 p.m. — Funke has been hauled off in an ambulance and Lionel lets Ronda know that despite his harsh words, both of them are advancing to the next round. He just wants them to learn and grow from this experience. Ronda is both relieved and traumatized, but it sounds like Funke will be fine after being treated for dehydration. It’s tough to be the next to perform after that, but Willie Spence & Kya Monee are on deck. Their inspirational performance of “Stay” leaves Katy in tears and Lionel calls it a “divine experience.” Both advance to the next round with flying colors. Other matches made in heaven were Ben Dodson & Henry Thompson, who nailed their performance of “Mercy,” and Jazzy Rose & Re’H, who impressed Lionel with their divalicious duet. All of them have advanced to the upcoming Showstoppers round.
9:40 p.m. — Not all duos are perfectly matched. Zachary D’Onofrio isn’t totally thrilled with his cheerleader partner, Sloane Simon. They are just on completely different wavelengths, energy-wise and mentor Bobby Bones warned Zach to not fall into the role of Sloane’s backup singer. Their performance doesn’t go great and after praising the duo’s growth, Katy cuts both of them from the competition. A more promising pair appears to be Chayce Beckham & Christina Daugherty, who are thrilled with their pairing. Luke thinks their voices are both unique, but only Chayce will advance after the performance. Christina has been eliminated. And they weren’t the last pair to feel the heartache of Hollywood week. Alec Shaw & Sadie Leigh have trouble remembering lyrics and Samantha Sharpe & Alana had to restart their performance at least twice.
9:59 p.m. — Althea Grace & Camille Lamb had a rocky road the stage. Initially, Althea wasn’t thrilled to be paired up with Camille, but after working through their differences, Althea was derailed again with news that her daughter was sent to the hospital. The toddler will be just fine, but Althea’s emotional rollercoaster has been tough for this duo to deal with. Despite all the issues, they team up for a rousing rendition of “You Don’t Own Me” that advances them to the next round. The next featured duo is Ava August & Hunter Metts who sing a haunting version of “Dancing on My Own.” Luke says they played it safe, but they’ll both advance. The last duet of the night brings together two powerhouse divas: Alyssa Wray & Grace Kinstler. Both had memorable auditions, but can they prosper together? Yes, they can! Their performance of “Grenade” gets a standing ovation from the judges as both women prove they are two top contenders this season. That’s a wrap for duets and next week the competition kicks into overdrive with the brand new Showstopper round.