‘American Idol’: Clay Aiken, David Archuleta & Justin Guarini Mentor During ‘Hollywood Week’ (RECAP)

Spoiler Alert
ABC/Eric McCandless

[Warning: The below contains spoilers for American Idol.]

The music boot camp known as the grueling “Hollywood Week” kicked off on American Idol on Sunday (April 2)Those gold ticket holders had to impress judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie in the Performance Round.

This year the talent was tasked with choosing an area they wanted to improve upon. Categories included confidence, songwriting, and stage presence. They were then paired with mentors Jordin Sparks, Catie Turner, Phillip Phillips, Clay Aiken, David Archuleta, and a real OG in Justin Guarini.

For the first time in Idol history, a fourth platinum ticket was presented based on a fan vote. Host Ryan Seacrest revealed Elijah McCormick would join Tyson Venegas, Kaylin Hedges, and Cam Amen. They were able to take in the competition from the balcony.

In a twist, everyone left had to choose their own partner for the Duets Round. Did your favorites make it in? Let’s unpack much of what went down.

Songwriting with Phillip Phillips and Catie Turner

Hannah Nicolaisen

The volleyball player worked with Catie on mentally preparing for having her work out there for public consumption. The 2018 finalist loved the 24-year-old’s tone and encouraged her to sing those originals, and if anything else, “go out on her terms.”  She didn’t have to worry as the judges sent her on.

Haven Madison

The teen met with Phillip to talk about what inspired her. She explained the inspiration for her original “Still Need You” came from her brother’s battle with depression. Phillip told the 17-year-old that he considered writing a form of therapy. The 2012 winner was impressed and so were the judges. Luke called her a “massive star.” Needless to say, she moved through the competition.

Oliver Steele

Oliver chose to work on songwriting because he felt there was room for improvement. Phillip ended up giving him a tip to include a moment in the performance without the guitar. The 25-year-old Tenesseean sang “Broken Halos” by Chris Stapleton. He joined daycare worker Matt Wilson, who was also in his line, in the second round.

Confidence with Clay Aiken and David Archuleta

Sara Beth

The mother of three was given a boost from Clay, who found her infectiously lovely. The Idol runner-up helped the 25-year-old manage those nerves. Sarah Beth sang “Roxanne” by The Police. After a strong showing, she shocked the judges by telling them it was her last performance as she wanted to head home to her babies. Katy refused to hear that and brought her onstage for a pep talk. “Self-love is just as big as motherly love,” Katy said. She told her not to give up. Despite being sent through, she stuck with her decision to leave.

Zachariah Smith

The 19-year-old burger flipper chose “Cold as Ice” by Foreigner. Clay was not feeling his performance during their mentoring session. He wanted him to make it more his own. The Amory, Mississippi hopeful took the advice to heart. The hard work paid off. Katy thought it felt natural, and he got the green light to continue on.

Paige Anne

Paige got to meet David in person after the two connected virtually during her audition. The season 7 runner-up could relate to the 16-year-old as he was in high school when he was on the show. He wanted the Idaho student to focus on the hard work it took to get there and connect with that feeling. Judges loved her. Luke said, “The kids are showing up.” She was sent through.

Dawson Wayne 

The 21-year-old decided to play an original called “Sour Skies.” It was a smooth performance, accompanied nicely by guitar. Katy gave the San Antonio college student a standing ovation.  The judges appreciated his musicality and sent him through along with others in his line including Kya and Iam.


Clay noticed there was a lot of looking at the ground from Fire, who explained it came from insecurities. He reminded her how far she had come. Initially, Luke could see she wasn’t comfortable up on stage. The 22-year-old mom still blossomed on “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. Fire’s Idol dream remained alive. Speaking of Daigle, 20-year-old Megan Danielle was uplifted by the alum in her audition. Much like Fire, she wanted to work on confidence and shined. So much Luke wished he had a fifth platinum ticket for her.

Kya Monee’

The 21-year-old daycare worker returned to Idol stronger than ever. Despite that, the friend of the late Willie Spence felt she needed more confidence. The Texan didn’t lack any of that as she sang Jennifer Hudson’s “And I’m Telling You I Am Not Going.” This powerhouse singer made it through.

Iam Tongi

The viral sensation Iam met up with Clay. He reminded him about the importance of eye contact. Iam mentioned he closed his eyes during performances thinking of his dad, who passed away not long ago. The 18-year-old Hawaiin teared up while he performed  “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. Luke saw a Top 10. He sailed past the first week easily.

Stage Presence with Jordin Sparks and Justin Guarini


The “J.Lo of Georgia” sat down with Justin, who gave her tips on how to harness her energy. She performed big on Celine Dion’s song  “I Surrender.” The 25-year-old blew the judges away. Luke said he had chills. She was sent through.

Marybeth Byrd

The 21-year-old radio host was looking to tug at the judges’ heartstrings. She wanted to show them an emotionally vulnerable side. She looked to accomplish with Zach Bryan’s “Something in the Orange.” “Marybeth Byrd for the win,” Katy said after she finished. So it was no surprise we have another still in the game.

Wé Ani

The 23-year-old chose stage presence because she thought it’s that “it factor” people look for. She wanted her performance to have judges and audience participation. The Harlem performer was electrified and received a standing ovation for her original song. She broke down in tears hearing the audience singing the song back to her after she had already walked backstage.

Lyric Medeiros

The judges wanted to hear more grit from the 21-year-old Hawaiian, whose dad is hitmaker Glenn Medeiros. Helping her get there was Jordin, who explained there is a difference between a song that can be sung and felt. The college student looked to surprise the judges with “They Just Keep Moving The Line” from Smash. The judges weren’t pleased and ended her Idol journey.

McKayla Stacey

Fun fact: Jordin babysat the second-generation Idol contestant, which made mentoring her all the more special. McKayla opened up about feeling the pressure of being as good as her dad Phil, who was a Top 6 finalist in the sixth season of Idol. The 16-year-old took her advice of feeling the music into Demi Lovato’s “Warrior.” The judges could see improvement, but not enough to keep her in the competition.

Lucy Love

The 25-year-old mom opened up to Jordan about the ending of her marriage and other struggles. She channeled that and tore the house down on “Make You Feel My Love.” The judges were beside themselves with how good it was. Not a shocker to find mama made it through.

Mariah Faith

You may remember Mariah from opening for Noah Thompson and HunterGirl. The hair stylist was able to tell Thompson in person how much that night meant to her as a confidence boost. She chose stage presence after watching HunterGirl rock it. The 21-year-old channeled Carly Pearce on “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” The judges liked her style and gave her the green light forward.

Trey Louis

The mattress salesman and school shooting survivor was paired with Justin. The mentor got him thinking about the little things like what to do with his hands. The 21-year-old Texan chose to show what he learned on “Vienna” by Billy Joel. Lionel felt a comfort listening to him. Maybe Trey has sold his last bed, making it to the next round.

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