‘American Idol’ Auditions Finish Strong With These Must-See Performances (VIDEO)

Althea Grace
ABC/John Fleenor

The final auditions on American Idol did not disappoint. Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan have their work cut out for them.

We saw some truly awe-inspiring performances from solid covers to original songs that struck a chord, heart-warming stories of overcoming the odds, strong moms, and different displays of love. There were even a few familiar faces thrown into the mix.

Here’s a look at the final group to look out for as we head into “Hollywood Week.”

Madison Watkins Lights Up the Audition Room

This 25-year-old ray of sunshine won the judges over with an original song dedicated to dad called “Your Little Girl.” The hair model from Arkansas, nicknamed “Moo Moo,” proved more than just a smile and curls the minute she hit the first key on the piano. Luke called her the whole package and checked every box in the book. She was definitely giving those Tori Kelly vibes.

Dueling California Girls Shine

Ava August, 15, and Liv Grace Blue, 17, had a lot in common, like being massive Katy Perry fans. Ava even went to her concert at age 9 dressed in a banana costume. Liv put an acoustic spin on Perry’s first big hit “I Kissed A Girl.” Ava performed an original song “Neighbor Boy” at the piano. Each received a golden ticket, so let’s see who goes farthest.

Deshawn Goncalves Sings Like an Angel

The 19-year-old has faced his share of adversity. The Jackson State University tuba player’s mother had him at age 13 with his dad spending time in jail growing up. Music was Deshawn’s saving grace. Dad turned his life around after getting out of prison, inspiring Deshawn to better himself. Katy called his rendition of “Change” by Nina Simone magic.

Nobody Is Stopping Tryzden Grubbs

With his other siblings choosing sports, the 15-year-old form Columbus, Ohio took to music. The teen was met with bullying at school, and even told to kill himself. The judges saw his lack of confidence singing “Before You Go” by Lewis Capaldi, but then saw him come to life with the rendition of “Nobody” by James Arthur. So much in fact, it got them to their feet. Grubbs was sent to Hollywood with advice to believe in himself.

Andrea Valles Fights for Opportunity

Katy wasn’t feeling the 23-year-old’s performance of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” Luke saw an unpolished diamond and star in the making. Andrea made it so the judges couldn’t say no after going a capella with “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I.

The Zach Attack Is Back

Earlier in the show, 2020 Idol finalist Francisco Martin provided support for his brother Kiko Martin’s audition, but he didn’t make it through. Things worked out a little differently for Zachary D’Onofrio, who fans might remember from 2018. Katy referred to him as “Sinatra Boy.” The judges weren’t sure about the don’t judge a book by its cover 19-year-old after his performance of “Golden Slumbers” by The Beatles. In a fun surprise his girlfriend and fellow alum Catie Turner came into the audition room for a duet on “Falling” by Harry Styles. The performance was enough to get Zach the golden ticket. For Katy, Zach is a turtle who needs to come out of his shell. But you know what they say about turtles.

A Walking Miracle

Brianna Collichio made a deal with her sister that if a TikTok of her performance went viral, she would audition. It did, but on the night before 15-year-old collapsed and ended up in surgery. Battling cystic fibrosis, she initially auditioned from her hospital bed. Recounting the story, the judges were inspired by a standout performance of “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara.

A Mother with Strength

Vahhley is a 23-year-old mom who has been living in a homeless shelter for the past eight months. The New Yorker looks to the audition as an opportunity to provide a better life for her son. She struck a chord with the judges singing “One Moment in Time” by Whitney Houston.

Park City James Taylor

Wyatt Pike started performing at age 13 while people were in line at the resort ski lift in Utah. Struggling with anxiety in high school, the 19-year-old also helped his sister battle through her own struggles. Wyatt performed “Best for You” with their bond in mind. Luke liked his style.

Althea Grace Sings ‘Saturday Morning’

The 21-year-old didn’t know she was having a baby until seven months into her pregnancy. Althea’s daughter suffered liver failure just before her first birthday, but has since recovered. Althea performed an original song, “Saturday Morning,” which was written while she was in the hospital. Luke compared her to Stevie Nicks. Katy empathized with all she has endured,, but encouraged her to take everything she has been through and make it into fire. The three yays made Althea the last to get the golden ticket in this phase of the competition.

To Hollywood we go…

American Idol, Sundays, 8/7c, ABC