The last 13 contestants of American Idol’s top 26 are taking the stage in hopes of earning America’s vote and staying in the competition. Noah Cyrus takes over for Allen Stone as a mentor. Elijah McCormick kicks things off with a fun and powerful performance of “Good Vibes” by Chris Janson.
Lionel Richie tells Elijah that he pulled off a “great performance,” but he wants to see Elijah “attack even more” the next time. Katy Perry says the singer “nailed” his performance, and Luke Bryan adds it was a “great start of the night.”
Turns out, one of the original top 26 singers — Beckett McDowell — had to bow out of the competition, so the show went to the judges’ first alternate: Paige Anne. She may have gotten eliminated, but she’s making sure to make the most of being brought back. She wows with her performance of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. Katy admits that she doesn’t like being wrong, but the end of Paige’s performance was “super pro class.” She adds, “You belong here.”
Luke brings up that it’s sometimes about luck in show business, and he praises Paige for seizing this moment. “That was absolutely perfecto. You nailed it,” Lionel says.
Marybeth Byrd belts out Lainey Wilson’s “Heart Like A Truck.” Luke says that the song choice was “perfect” for Marybeth. He admits that it got a “little shaky” at the end, but he feels like the singer is a “really big country star in the making.”
Wé Ani dazzles with her rendition of “Edge of Midnight” by Miley and Stevie Nicks. Lionel is still clapping well after the performance is over. “You either have a stage presence or you don’t. You, my dear, are star quality,” he says. “I am in love with what you do.” Wé’s father is so adorable cheering her on in the crowd.
Michael Williams sings a heartfelt rendition of “Tuesdays” by Jake Scott in honor of his parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. Katy is nearly speechless over the performance. She says the performance was “so beautiful, so well delivered” and feels “lucky” to have Michael on Idol. She thinks he’s going to “be a star with or without us.” Luke calls this performance Michael’s “defining moment.”
Dawson Wayne performs “copycat” by Billie Eilish, and it’s a departure from what he’s done in the past. Luke notices that and says he prefers Dawson’s voice in that “sweet, sensitive range.” Lionel says the song choice was a “risk” and urges fans to vote because Dawson is “amazing.”
Hannah Nicolaisen has yet another reason to celebrate — she’s engaged! The former volleyball player performs a gorgeous rendition of “Glitter In The Air” by Pink. Despite being sick, Hannah powers through the performance. Lionel commends her for fighting through not feeling well. Luke adds that he doesn’t think anyone has “shown more growth” than Hannah.
Megan Danielle is celebrating her 21st birthday while in Hawaii. She commands the stage with her performance of “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. Katy points out that everything “comes out so effortlessly” with Megan and says her voice “stood out from a lot of the other contestants tonight.”
Malik Heard switches things up with his performance of “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore. Luke declares that the performance was “by far” Malik’s best performance yet. Lionel raves that Malik is “on fire!” Katy admits that Malik is “coming in a little bit like a dark horse” and “could” win the competition.
Olivia Soli shows off her incredible vocals once again with her performance of “Motions” by Mariah Carey. Lionel tells Olivia that she definitely has a “career’ in music. Luke says that Olivia is a “couple steps above a lot of people in this competition.
Colin Stough is looking like a full-fledged heartthrob without his hat on! During his time with Noah, she says that he reminds her of her dad Billy Ray Cyrus. Colin rocks out to “Midnight Train To Memphis” by The Steeldrivers. Katy admits that she felt like Colin was “going in and out just a touch” and urges Colin to just bring in all his confidence next time. “I think you’re in the middle of figuring out what you’re confidence is too. You really deserve to be here,” Luke says.
Tyson Venegas performs “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars. Katy tells him that he was “playing too much” to the audience. However, she does think he’s a “tremendous talent and can sing circles around all of us.”
The final top 26 performance comes from Nutsa. She stuns with her rendition of “Paris (Ooh La La)” by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals. Lionel tells Nutsa that she is “so wonderful to watch.” Katy advises Nutsa to “flip the script” next time with her performance.
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