‘American Idol’ Top 8 Decided in Twist After Judge’s Song Contest (RECAP)

American Idol - Haven Madison, Megan Danielle, Marybeth Byrd, Tyson Venegas, Warren Peay, Wé Ani, Zachariah Smith, Katy Perry, Oliver Steele, Luke Bryan, Colin Stough, Iam Tongi, Lionel Richie
Spoiler Alert
ABC/Eric McCandless

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

Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie were in the driver’s seat for the Judge’s Song Contest round on American Idol. This trio of hitmakers suggested tunes each of the Top 10 should sing in order to secure the nationwide vote.

The talented hopefuls chose between three tunes before taking the stage to perform. All in hopes of hearing host Ryan Seacrest call their names into the Top 7 lineup. There was also a friendly game among the judges over whose songs were selected the most. Bragging rights went to Katy with four chosen picks. In a twist, she was able to save a contestant as a result to make it a Top 8.

In between the competition, Monday’s live show also saw the return of 2021 Idol winner Chayce Beckham, who debuted his new single “Till The Day I Die.” Luke presented Chayce with a plaque to mark the milestone that “23” was certified gold.

The lucky number 8 will perform on May 7 before Luke and guest judges/performers Alanis Morissette and Ed Sheeran. Katy and Lionel are on coronation concert duty that night but will be checking in from Windsor Castle.

Who is making it to next week?  You Oughta Know by finding out below…

Zachariah Smith

The 20-year-old knew he “Wanted Dead Or Alive” by Bon Jovi without any deliberation. It got him reminiscing about wearing cowboy hats and boots as a kid. Lionel chose the song for the showman. The Hall of Famer loved the attitude and edge in his voice. Katy liked that he “kept the nasty.” Luke thought the performance was amazing.

Haven Madison

The 17-year-old chose “Only Exception” by Paramore, relating to the story. She teased that there was potentially an exception in her own life. Katy picked the song for her thinking it was delicate and beautiful with room to soar. Luke called her the girl next door and thought she did a great job. Lionel said she has graduated and has the “It” thing going for her.

 Wé Ani

The 24-year-old New Yorker immediately went to Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” which she took on as a challenge. Luke chose the song and called the performance breathtaking. Lionel felt Wé Ani owned the song and slayed it. Katy admitted that she picked the right song and exceeded expectations.

Oliver Steele

The 25-year-old chose between two John Mayer songs and Radiohead’s “High and Dry.” He thought not picking the latter would be playing it safe. As for who chose Radiohead, Oliver hypothesized it was Katy, given her past tumultuous relationship with Mr. Mayer. He was right. Katy made the song his own. Luke called him a vibe and mood. He encouraged the musician to play more guitar. Lionel said he owned that song.

Warren Peay

The 24-year-old was connected with “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown Band vocally. He saw it as a chance to show his range. Lionel picked the song and complimented his transformation into an artist-storyteller. Katy loved how he played with dynamics and wanted to see more of it. Luke thought it was a great song choice, encouraging him to lean on his trademark grit.

Iam Tongi

The 18-year-old’s initial reaction was to go with “More Than Words” because it was one of the first songs he learned on guitar. However, the Hawaiin ultimately gravitated toward “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Luke prayed he would pick that song and knocked it out of the park. Lionel called him a phenomenon. Katy was taken to another place adding, “It is a wonderful world because you’re in it.”

Marybeth Byrd


ABC/Eric McCandless

The 22-year-old didn’t know any of the three song choices before but went with her gut. She chose  “Wasted on You” by Morgan Wallen because of the story told. She also saw it as an opportunity to open up a bit more, even tearing up at the end of the performance. Lionel picked the song, hoping to see Marybeth venture out of her comfort zone. He said she delivered. Katy felt like she grew into a butterfly. Luke called it her standout and best performance so far.

Tyson Venegas


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The 17-year-old decided between three ballads. He chose Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved,” looking to show another side of himself. The Canadian tapped into his emotions of feeling homesick and missing family. Katy, who chose the song, said it was exactly what she wanted to see from him. Luke complimented his growth and ability to channel emotion. Lionel felt he stepped into his own style.

Megan Danielle

The 21-year-old chose “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill because she sang it at her grandfather’s funeral and wanted to honor him. Megan knew it would be a challenge, having not sung it since then. Luke, who picked the song, thought the performance was unbelievable. Lionel remarked on her vocal ability to touch others. Katy called the performance and song choice Heaven sent.

Colin Stough

The 18-year-old country crooner picked “It’s Been Awhile” by Staind to go in a different direction. For him, the song conjured up memories of home. Katy, who chose the song, was happy to see him break out of the box. Luke said the proud mam’s boy knocked it out of the park. Lionel liked watching him let himself go at the end.

Ryan revealed that based on 23 million making up America’s coast-to-coast vote, it was Oliver Steele, Marybeth Byrd, and Tyson Venegas in the bottom three. Katy cashed in her save by winning the Judge’s Song Contest and chose Oliver to live to sing another day.

Did America get it right? Let us know in the comments section below.

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