‘American Idol’ Oscars Night Brings Eliminations And Tears

Jill O'Rourke
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ABC/Eric McCandless

American Idol Season 19 returned on Sunday night, as the Top 12 performed Oscar-nominated songs. They were narrowed down to the Top 9 by the end of the night.

Judge Lionel Richie opened the show with a performance of his song “Say You, Say Me,” for the film White Nights. It won an Oscar for Best Original Song, tying in with the night’s theme.

Which ‘American Idol’ Singers Made It To The Top 9?

Voting was open during the show, and closed during the night’s final commercial break. Three contestants were eliminated at the end of the show. On Monday night, contestants from last season will have a chance to take the final spot in the Top 10.

Below, check out the performances from the artists who were voted through to the Top 9.

Grace Kinstler

Grace sang “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, from Despicable Me 2, during tonight’s show. She said she was singing it in celebration of her time on the show.

Katy Perry told Grace that she “could sing the telephone book,” but wondered who she is as an artist. Luke Bryan praised her confidence, and Lionel Richie said she was “in control.”

Caleb Kennedy

Caleb sang “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson, from the movie Honeysuckle Rose. He shared that he’s been missing his home and family during the competition.


Lionel said he’ll “be on the road for a very long time” if he keeps this up. Katy told Caleb he had “authentic grit.” Luke said it was his best performance so far.

Hunter Metts

Hunter performed “Falling Slowly” from the film Once. Bobby Bones tried to help Hunter gain more confidence by having him perform in front of a wall of mirrors.

Hunter had a slip-up during the performance, and broke down in tears. However, Katy still said it was his best performance yet. “Perfection is an illusion,” she said. Luke added that he “could do no wrong,” praising his falsetto.

Chayce Beckham

Chayce chose to sing “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams, from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Before his performance, the singer reflected on his difficult past.

Lionel said he wanted Chayce to give all of himself going forward. Katy said there would be a lot of girls “with hearts in their eyes” voting for him tonight.

Alyssa Wray

For her Oscar-themed performance, Alyssa performed the song “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. The lights around her reflected on her dress as she belted it out.

Lionel called Alyssa a “subtle force.” Alyssa revealed that she wants to win an Oscar as well as winning the show, prompting Ryan Seacrest to mention Jennifer Hudson.

Deshawn Goncalves

Deshawn chose to sing “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand, from the movie of the same name. He said he wants to show his personality more going forward.

Luke said Deshawn’s performance was “classy,” adding that he felt like he was in a “time capsule.” He said he was “caught up in the moment.” Deshawn was brought to tears after the performance.

Casey Bishop

Casey shook things up this week by singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland, from The Wizard of Oz. She shared that it was the first movie she ever saw.

“You can do anything you want,” Katy said, suggesting that Casey is the frontrunner. Luke said she “turned a page that we have not seen from you.” Lionel couldn’t believe she’s only 16.

Cassandra Coleman

Cassandra performed “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith, from the James Bond film Spectre. She also responded to people’s negative reactions to last week’s performance.


Luke said her “cry” was one of the best things he’s heard on the show. He admitted that last week’s performance wasn’t perfect, but said her fans would have her back.

Willie Spence

Willie performed “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo, from the movie Harriet. Before his performance, Cynthia Erivo herself sent him a message of support.

Lionel responded to the performance by saying, “Amen.” He called it a “religious experience.” Katy said she stands with him, calling his performance “powerful.”

Which ‘American Idol’ Singers Were Eliminated?

Viewers were allowed to vote live during the show. At the end of the night, the Top 9 was revealed, as three singers were eliminated. Check out the performances from the three eliminated contestants below.

Madison Watkins

After being saved by the judges last week, Madison performed “Run to You” by Whitney Houston, from the film The Bodyguard. Madison said she grew up singing that song.

Luke told Madison that she gave viewers “something to think about this week” after being saved. Lionel agreed that she “stepped up to the plate,” and Katy called it an “A-level performance.” Unfortunately, Madison didn’t make it into the Top 9.

Ava August

Ava chose to sing “City of Stars” from La La Land. Before she took the stage, mentor Bobby Bones gave her a driving lesson inspired by her performance of “Driver’s License.”

Luke said her maturity and elegance were amazing for someone her age. Lionel told Ava that she appeared as if she’s been doing this for decades. Katy wanted to see more movement during the performance. Unfortunately, Ava was eliminated at the end of the night.


After being saved by the judges last week, Beane performed “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing. He shared that he’s determined to be himself during the competition, and talked about being deaf in one ear.

Katy praised the performance, saying Beane is ready to hit the stage and go on tour as an artist, adding that he kept the performance “cool” without making it “cheesy.” Unfortunately, Beane didn’t make it into the Top 9.

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