‘American Idol’ Recap: Katy Perry, Luke Bryan Tie in First Ever Judge’s Song Contest

Jill O'Rourke
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american idol judgesABC/Eric McCandless

American Idol Season 20 returned on Monday night with performances from the Top 11. The episode also featured the Judge’s Song Contest, in which the panel chose songs for each of the artists. At the end of the night, the Top 10 was revealed, with Lady K earning the judges’ save.


‘American Idol’ Judge’s Song Contest Leads to Save

The contestants each picked their favorite song from the titles suggested by the judges, without knowing which judge picked each song. Katy Perry and Luke Bryan tied for the most songs picked by the singers, with four each. Lionel Richie had three of his songs chosen.

What the singers didn’t know was that the winner of the first ever ‘American Idol’ Judge’s Song Contest got to save one of the bottom two artists from elimination. After live voting from America during the show, Lady K and Tristen Gressett were in the bottom.

Perry and Bryan deliberated on which artist they wanted to save. They chose Lady K, who sang “traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo. That meant that Tristen went home after an energetic performance of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones that had Richie worried about his knees.


Noah Thompson Thinks Katy Perry Chose a John Mayer Song

One of the funniest moments of the night came after Noah Thompson performed “Heartbreak Warfare” by John Mayer. It was one of two Mayer songs chosen by the judges, the other being “Bigger Than My Body.”

Noah guessed that his chosen song was suggested by Perry, who famously dated Mayer for several years. The judge told Noah, “I feel like maybe you should Wikipedia me.” She later joked about her fellow judges’ choices, saying, “Who’s gonna pay for my extra hour of therapy?”

The song turned out to have been chosen by Bryan. Perry chose “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver, which Noah had initially considered before changing his mind. Noah seemed unaware of Mayer’s significance to Perry, with host Ryan Seacrest promising to explain it to him later.


Jay Defends His ‘American Idol’ Platinum Ticket with Strong Performance

After failing to make it through on the audience vote last week and having to be saved by the judges, Jay defended his Platinum Ticket status with another strong performance Monday night. He sang “Lilac Wine” by Jeff Buckley, showing quiet emotion while still showcasing his range.

Jay guessed that the song was chosen by Perry, and he was right. Perry said it was Jay’s “best performance yet” because he showed so much control. She added that “you could hear a pin drop.” Her fellow judges agreed, with Richie saying it was “one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Other strong performances from Monday night’s show came from Leah Marlene, who sang “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan; Emyrson Flora, who nailed a cover of “lovely” by Billie Eilish; and Fritz Hager, who put a new spin on “Wonderwall” by Oasis.

The Top 10 is headed to Disneyland next week. The competition is narrowing down quickly, and we can’t wait to find out who makes it to the finale of Season 20.

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