‘American Idol’ Recap: Gabby Barrett Returns as Mentor Before Top 11 Reveal
American Idol Season 20 returned Sunday night, as the Top 14 took the stage with a little help from mentor Gabby Barrett. Live voting was open during the show, and the Top 11 were revealed at the end of the night.
We had to say goodbye to three singers — Dan Marshall, Allegra Miles, and Ava Maybee. However, three of the four contestants saved by the judges last week made it through thanks to America’s vote.
‘American Idol’ Singers Redeem Themselves in Top 14
Last week, the judges saved Jay, Tristen Gressett, Mike Parker, and Allegra Miles from elimination after America failed to vote them into the Top 10. This week, out of the four of them, only Allegra was eliminated after the live vote.
Platinum Ticket winner Jay returned to the stage to sing “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars as a tribute to his mom. Lionel Richie said he thought the song choice represented him as an artist. The audience apparently agreed, since they voted him into the Top 11.
Tristen also had a great comeback this week, singing “What Do You Want from Me” by Idol alum Adam Lambert. He actually received a video message from Lambert himself, which caused him to tear up. Katy Perry said Tristen brings the drama every week, and the audience clearly wants to see more.
Country artist Mike Parker also turned things around by singing “Hurricane” by Luke Combs. Perry told him he wasn’t just singing, he was “sangin’.” Luke Bryan said he’s “here to play.” The audience chose to send him through to the Top 11.
Contestants Switch Up Their Song Choices
One of this week’s standout performances came from Leah Marlene, although she wasn’t sure what song to sing at first. Leah was torn between “Mad World” and “Happy Together.” Mentor Gabby Barrett preferred “Happy Together,” and that’s the one she ultimately chose.
Leah still managed to put her own edgy spin on the song while playing guitar and showing off some colorful style. After her performance, Perry said, “The show has officially started.” She added that it felt like Leah was performing at Coachella.
Later in the show, Noah Thompson changed his song after heeding Gabby’s advice. He was originally going to sing a Chris Stapleton track, but Gabby didn’t feel like he was connecting with it. He decided to sing “Stand By Me” instead, and it worked out, as Richie told him his “voice fit that song perfectly.”
Other strong performances this week included Emyrson Flora’s cover of “drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo, Nicolina’s rendition of “Hallelujah,” and Lady K’s take on Idol winner Fantasia’s song “I Believe.” We’ll see them all perform again in Monday night’s Top 11 show.