‘American Idol’ Hopefuls Come Together in ‘Duets Challenge’ (RECAP)

American Idol Season 20
Spoiler Alert

The “Duets Challenge” on American Idol further thins out the pack during a grueling “Hollywood Week.” These twosomes were sleep-deprived and challenged like never before. The song choice, delivery of lyrics, and team dynamic were factored into the final result. Contestants were tasked to fight through all barriers once on stage.

Judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie ultimately chose how the pairs were broken down, aside from the platinum ticket recipients. Jay, HunterGirl, and Kenedi Anderson were able to choose their partners. How did things shake out? Who made it through to the “Showstoppers Round” ahead? Find out below. 

Fritz Hager and Leah Marlene

It’s a match made in quirky heaven. Fritz felt Leah has helped them have more fun on stage. Team Green because they wore green the day before. They killed it on “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. Lionel felt both brought the other one out in the performance. The whole is better than the individual parts. Both were sent through to Showstoppers. 

Kenedi Anderson and Jordan Chase

Kenedi said she picked Jordan Chase because she was obsessed with his voice. Though she felt the pressure of the platinum ticket. Their first rehearsal was very messy as Kenedi strived for perfection while Jordan battled nerves. Lionel told the two to relax.  They chose the aptly titled “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. Team “Hot Mess” was able to pull it together in the end, getting a standing ovation from the judges.  

Alegra Miles and Taylor Fagins

Alegra felt they connected instantly over their love of songwriting. They also chose “Locked Out of Heaven.” Taylor was out of his comfort zone singing with someone. It became a matter of trying to meld their voices together. Team “Satin Soul” got initially good reviews from Lionel but noticed one potentially singing over the other. Alegra was sent to the next round without Taylor. 

HunterGirl and Cole Wesley Ritter

HunterGirl picked Cole because she thought he sounded great and maybe found him a little dreamy. Team Backwood Mc” put a country spin on “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. Luke thought they sounded solid. Katy said they sounded great together. The judges voted unanimously to keep both. 

Sam Moss and Haley Slaton

Sam, who revealed she was pregnant, looked to make the most of her second chance alongside fellow mom-to-be Haley. Team “Watermelon Smugglers” shined on “Dancing on My Own” by Calum Scott. Katy can see Sam finding herself in the competition. She liked Haley’s tone, but she will not move forward. 

Jay Copeland and Morgan Gruber

Jake Copeland selected Morgan, appreciating how she commanded the stage. Morgan believed “Shallow” would be perfect for them. Jake is put trust in her decision despite not knowing much about the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga smash from “A Star Is Born.” Team “M&J” got compliments from the judges. Katy said they are looking for the extra sauce and need more from them. She encouraged them to find that next level…in the next round. 

Olivia Faye and Noah Thompson

They practiced “Lean on Me” for hours only to be asked if they had any other options from the Idol team. The two were encouraged to lean in on their country identities. They decided upon “July” by Noah Cyrus. Team “Kentucky Idol” continued to make those tweaks to their performance right up to audition time.  The judges noticed they messed up a bit. Despite that, Luke said they are still in the fight. 

Cameron Whitcomb and Tristen Gressett

Team “Both Crazy” was hyped at the start, but things went from silly to serious as they got into rehearsing. They tore the house down with different musical sides on “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Lionel gave each kudos as they move forward, probably with some more backflips. 

Kevin Gullage and Yoli Mayor

“The Dysfunctional Duo” definitely lived up to their name. Yoli and Kevin playfully argued on stage before starting on “Anything You Can Do” by Ethel Merman. The judges loved the presentation with both sent through. 

Douglas Mills Jr. and Scarlet

One is tall and the other is short. One is quiet and the other loud. Naturally, they  chose the name “ Mixed Match.” They choose “Rewrite the Stars” from “The Greatest Showman.” based on Douglas’ suggestion.  Scarlet grows frustrated with Douglas and finds difficulty in learning the lyrics. She goes missing, deciding to practice on her own and get it together. This was death by song…almost. The judges had a tough decision to make and chose to remember their past track record. They continue on. 

Cole Hallman and Cadence Baker

Team “C Major” worked on “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” until the wee hours of the morning. The two were bonded by music and closeness with their families. Luke and Katy noticed his voice was gone a bit. He found both a bit underwhelming. The judges kept Cadence, but Cole was sent home. 

Christian Guardino and Nicolina

They chose the team name “Cantante Forte,” which translates to singing loud and strong in Italian. The two had a fumble in rehearsal and worked through it by lifting each other up. Lione’s advice to them was not to overdo it. They went for a powerhouse vocal on “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Céline Dion. Christian and Nicolina straight brought the house down. Lionel said they were mesmerized by all the makings of something special. Both went to the next round. 

Kelsie Dolan and Betty Maxwell

The small-town girl and Miss America came together to form “Mining for Peaches. Betty worked to get Kelsie to come out of her shell a little more, sprinkling in a little choreography. It was a challenging lead-up to their time on stage as they sang Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason.” The judges were floored by the performance. Lionel had tears in his eyes watching Kelsie reach a breakthrough. Katy appreciated Betty for helping bring that out in her. The team got the green light to keep their dreams alive in the competition. 

American Idol, Sundays and Mondays, 8/7c, ABC