After taking a break last week for the Oscars, “American Idol” returns on Sunday, May 2 with Disney Night. The Top 10 are set to perform songs from the Disney animated classics. This two-hour show will air live nationwide on ABC and will conclude with Ryan Seacrest revealing the Top 7.
Nine of the singers on Sunday’s show were last seen as part of the Top 12 singing Oscar-nominated songs on April 18. Those lucky contestants who won enough votes from America to continue on in the competition are: Alyssa Wray, Caleb Kennedy, Casey Bishop, Cassandra Coleman, Chayce Beckham, Deshawn Goncalves, Grace Kinstler, Hunter Metts and Willie Spence. Joining them in the Top 10 will be the winner of the Comeback Special, which aired on April 19.
Below, follow along with all the action in our live blog recap of Night 16 Season 19 episode of “American Idol” and find out which three contestants were eliminated.
8:05 p.m. — Mickey Mouse himself welcomes the contestants to Disney World where they enjoy some downtime in the Magic Kingdom. Then Sofia Carson sets the mood by singing “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin.” Ryan then announces that live voting will be in action throughout the night before introducing the judges. Katy just couldn’t help herself from dressing up as Tinker Bell. Let’s get started!
8:10 p.m. — In an exciting announcement, Season 18 runner-up Arthur Gunn was announced as the comeback contestant. Will he outdo himself and take the crown this year? The pressure is on. Three of the Top 10 singing tonight will be eliminated at the end of this episode. TV, Broadway and music star John Stamos will act as this week’s mentor.
8:15 p.m. — First up is Caleb Kennedy singing “Real Gone” from “Cars.” Prior to the performance John gave Caleb some tips on how to connect with the judges. The country crooner also got an emotional, socially distanced visit from his mom. Caleb has his low-sitting ball cap back on to cover up his eyes, but it kind of works for him. It’s sort of become his identity. The song is perfect for his raspy vocals and he looks completely comfortable up on that stage. I’d say this is his best performance to date. Way to kick things off, Caleb! Katy says he sparkles more each time she sees him. Luke says Caleb showed us a glimpse of what he will look like as an artist. Lionel loves that for a brief moment Caleb actually gave us a smile. The energy radiated off the stage.
8:25 p.m. — Next up is the soulful sound of Willie Spence. He will be singing “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King,” which is the same song Jennifer Hudson nailed in Season 3. A family surprise gave him some extra motivation to sing his heart out and he takes the stage underneath the glow of an orange spotlight. Willie changed up his hairstyle and I’m loving the colorful jacket he’s sporting. This song is the obvious choice for Willie, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. He has done nothing but ballads this season and it would be nice to see him change it up. But of course he’s absolutely killing this performance. It’s hard to critique a performance like that! Luke says Willie just has that magic. Lionel says Willie can sing anything and make it his own. Katy says Willie is a bonafide idol and loved his musical arrangement.
8:35 p.m. — The competition continues with Deshawn Goncalves singing “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio.” The song resonates with Deshawn, but John wants him to loosen up and sing out. He hits the stage and has rearranged this into a jazz number that is unrecognizable at first, but I’m into it! We’ve heard these songs a million times, it’s nice when someone switches it up. He starts off at the piano before working the stage with a smile. He reminds me of a young Nat King Cole. I love the old school vibe, but I’m not sure there were enough big vocal moments for someone of his caliber. This is a competition for votes! That being said, this was by far Deshawn’s most charismatic performance. Lionel says we always knew Deshawn could tickle the keys, but now he has nailed the character for the first time. Katy feels like she just met Deshawn and was blown away by his growth. Luke couldn’t stop smiling throughout the performance and feels blessed to watch him blossom.
8:50 p.m. — Casey Bishop is next singing “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2.” John advises her to change the key, which seems to take the song up a level. This is definitely out of the musical lane we’ve seen from her most of the season, but she sounds angelic. It’s a nice change of pace for the teenager. This a simple song and an appropriately simple performance that almost feels meant for Broadway. Casey isn’t the best vocalist of this crop of singers, but she definitely has star power. Katy thinks Casey’s vocals will take her to infinity and beyond. Luke thinks she is a superstar in the making. Lionel says Casey has grace beyond her years.
9:00 p.m. — Chayce Beckham is closing out the first hour with his own twist on “Baby Mine” from “Dumbo.” John mentions Bette Midler‘s fantastic version, but Chayce sounds quite different from the Divine Miss M. Chayce is giving this an obvious rock tinge that sounds more contemporary. He’s so comfortable when he performs and reminds me a lot of Chris Daughtry up on that stage. He is effortless. Luke thinks the performance is what Chayce is all about and appreciates that he never overdoes anything. Lionel wants Chayce to stop thinking so much and appreciate the moment. Katy is impressed that he could take a lullaby and turn it into a cool rock song. I was a bit surprised by Lionel’s comment. I have generally found Chayce to be one of the most confident performers this season.
9:08 p.m. — Alyssa Wray is giving us the Disney princess treatment with “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from “Cinderella.” John instructs her to really fight for this before she appears on stage looking absolutely magical in a silver gown. I’ve been a little harsh on Alyssa in previous weeks for lacking restraint, but this first verse is gorgeous. She puts it into high gear on the second verse and really belts her way through the finish line in stunning fashion. Wow! This was by far her best performance and Disney week has treated this diva-in-training well. Lionel loves that she held back at the beginning before pushing her vocals. Katy loved the elegant control.
9:17 p.m. — Next up is the comeback kid, Arthur Gunn. John is blown away by his stunning voice and Arthur will be singing “Remember Me” from “Coco.” And he’s never seen the movie. What?! He changes up the style to give it more of a country/rock vibe and it’s cool, but it loses a bit of the emotion of the song for me. I do love the breakdown with the band and I think Arthur would make an excellent frontman. There’s something still so timid about Arthur, I wonder if he’s weirded out by how he was entered into this season. Katy compares him to Dave Matthews and loves his style. Luke loves his authentic style and vocal tone. He also appreciated how Arthur turned down John Stamos’ advice and did his own thing. Lionel congratulates him for owning his voice.
9:30 p.m. — Oscar winner Jon Batiste stops by give a special performance of “It’s All Right” from “Soul.” His suit and dance skills breath a whole new life into this episode. That was killer! I need his concert dates immediately. So who has to follow this? It looks like it will be Cassandra Coleman with “Go the Distance” from “Hercules.” John gives the self-conscious performer a pep talk and Cassandra feels more determined than ever to own the stage. She has such an odd voice, but it’s definitely identifiable. Cassandra definitely looks more confident on stage and the judges give her a standing ovation. Luke calls it her most solid vocals to date. Are we giving standing ovations for “solid” vocals now? Lionel also calls it “solid” before calling it “great.” Katy loves how Cassandra leaned into the theme of the night and says her confidence went from zero to hero. I’m a little tired of hearing about Cassandra’s confidence. It’s a weekly theme that I think they should move on from at this juncture of the competition.
9:40 p.m. — Hunter Metts is up next and we’re all getting a reminder of how he fell apart a couple weeks ago, which led to his best critique all season. He’s moving forward with “You’ll Be In My Heart” from “Tarzan.” I don’t question the star quality in Hunter, but this is a rather weak vocal from him. Lionel reminds Hunter to enjoy the stage. Katy loves watching him sing with a smile and says he sounded great. I think he may be on the chopping block this week, but we’ll see.
9:50 p.m. — Grace Kinstler will close out Disney weak with “Into the Unknown” from “Frozen 2.” It’s an epic power ballad that fans may have been missing from her in recent weeks. I think Grace has been smart in showing more sides of herself throughout the season, but in the end the power ballads will win or lose this for Grace. She gets some sparkling effects on stage and looks radiant. I love the slight smile on her face as she belts out these big notes effortlessly. The Grace everyone saw as a front-runner after her audition is back! Katy says Grace controlled the whole room with her voice and it was awesome. Luke says he knew that Grace was about to slay this as soon as he saw the look in her eyes. Now it’s up to voters at home and three contestants will be cut in a few minutes.
9:59 p.m. — Dim the lights! It’s time to find out which three contestants will never want to watch another Disney movie again. The Top 7 are: Chayce, Casey, Willie, Hunter, Caleb, Grace and Arthur. That means Alyssa, Cassandra and Deshawn have been eliminated. That’s a wrap for tonight.