Talent Recap

‘American Idol’ Recap: The Top 24 Perform for America’s Vote in Hawaii

ABC/Karen Neal

Reading Time: 3 minutes

American Idol Season 20 returned on Sunday night as the first half of the Top 24 performed for America’s vote at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii. The remaining 12 singers will take the stage during Monday night’s episode.

The contestants got to choose which songs they performed, and they were mentored by country star and past Idol contestant Jimmie Allen. The singers pulled out some great performances. Next Sunday, two singers from each group will be sent home.

Tristen Gressett Wows Judges in ‘American Idol’ Top 24

One of the standout performances of the night came from Tristen Gressett, who performed “With a Little Help from My Friends” by the Beatles, as sung by Joe Cocker. Tristen brought plenty of energy to the performance, at one point dancing around the stage with the mic stand.

The judges loved the performance, giving him a standing ovation. Lionel Richie told him, “You have a career in this business.” Meanwhile, Katy Perry said Tristen was “possessed” and “a freak,” in a good way. She told him he was “so authentic.”

Other impressive performances from the episode included Scarlet’s powerhouse rendition of Dua Lipa’s “Levitating,” which had Richie commenting on how the crowd brings out her stage presence. Sage’s cover of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton had Perry predicting she’ll be in the Top 5. The judges also loved Jacob Moran’s performance of “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes, with Perry saying she “finally heard the song.”


Jimmie Allen Tears Up as Mike Parker Performs His Song

One of the most powerful moments of the night came when Mike Parker performed mentor Jimmie Allen’s song “Best Shot.” After Luke Bryan told him he sounded like a country star in his audition, Mike says he set out to find his identity as an artist.

Mike watched interviews with Allen and shared how inspired he was by the singer’s journey as a Black country artist. Both of them got choked up as they spoke to each other during rehearsal. Allen told Mike that he reminded him of his purpose as an artist, and they shared a hug.

Amazingly, Mike shared that he didn’t even know Allen would be his mentor for the episode when he chose to sing the song. After his performance, Allen once again became teary-eyed, thanking Mike for sharing what Allen meant to him.


The Judges Have Some Clear Favorites

The judges had plenty of praise for all the artists on Sunday night’s show, but they saved the best comments for a select few. One of those singers was Emyrson Flora, who performed “Angels Like You” by Miley Cyrus.

Bryan marveled at the fact that Emyrson is just 16 years old, saying she’s “truly amazing.” Richie said she exuded stage presence even when she was standing still, telling her, “You have a future in this business.” And best of all, Perry said she has “such a great chance to be the next American Idol.”

Then there was Nicolina, who closed the show with a powerful performance of “Elastic Heart” by Sia. In rehearsal, Allen said he “felt every word” and could tell how much the song meant to her. He added that she “could win this competition.”

The judges had similar praise, after giving Nicolina a standing ovation. Bryan said she’s “one of if not the best singer in the competition,” and Richie called her “one of my favorites.” Perry commented that she looks and sounds like a star.


You can vote online for your favorite contestants on the American Idol website. You’re allowed up to 10 votes for each contestant, and you can change your vote until 6 a.m. ET on Monday, April 11. Be sure to tune in Monday night to hear the second half of the Top 24 perform and vote for your favorites.

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