‘American Idol’ All-Star Duets and Solos Night 2: America, Good Luck — These Singers Slay (RECAP)
On the April 5 episode of American Idol, which closes out the “All-Stars Duets and Solos” round, judge Lionel Richie declares there’s an “abundance” of talent in the Top 24 field this season — and it’s hard to disagree.
The second dozen in the group (12 were chosen to move on in the April 4 episode) were given their chance to impress in the musical one-two punch, opening with solo performances and then singing with an established star each for their second songs.
Here’s a look at how night two shakes out.
Old School Meets New School
Jason Warrior gets the evening started nicely, putting it all out there for “Call Out My Name” by The Weeknd. Judges stand for the 25-year-old music teacher in appreciation. Grammy winning singer-songwriter PJ Morton joins Jason to put their spin on “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees. Katy feels it was the best solo and duet she’s heard so far, but wants more from his artistic presentation. Luke loves his effort. Lionel says, “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Madison Watkins decides on “Holy” by Justin Bieber featuring Chance the Rapper. The 26-year-old then meets up with Idol alum Tori Kelly, citing her as a big inspiration for leaving Arkansas in search of a musical dream. These songstresses in curls keep the party going with their rendition of “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder. Luke feels Madison is a natural entertainer. Lionel likes how she engages with Tori. Katy says she’s experiencing vocal Olympics.
Loving Angels Instead
Beane brings his smooth vocals to “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa. Josh Groban steps in with the popular contestant for Robbie Williams’ “Angels,” Only Beane changes the “she” to “he” in the lyrics in honor of his boyfriend. Lionel basically says he has arrived. Katy sees a thoughtful artistic vision, and says she would sign him. Luke feels Beane slays with Josh.
Nothing but Country
Hannah Everhart hits the socially distanced audience with her signature country soul, choosing “I Was Wrong” by Chris Stapleton. The Mississippi girl then joins forces with Jason Aldean for his rager “She’s Country.” And of course they share a plate of ribs beforehand. Katy appreciates the risk in the first song but says she didn’t hit bullseye, while the second song is a better representation of her talent. Luke feels her evolution is fun to watch. Lionel says she has the goods.
On Her Way
Mary Jo Young brings youthful exuberance to “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran. The 19-year-old next takes us back to the ’90s by playing “Foolish Games” alongside its creator, Jewel. Luke says she’s putting together her star style. Lionel describes her as young, fresh and representing her generation. Katy feels she’s becoming an artist before their very eyes.
Chayce Beckham brings out his guitar for “Afterglow” by Ed Sheeran. The rock vibe keeps going in the collaboration with Brandon Boyd of Incubus for the band’s radio staple, “Drive.” The judges are feeling the forklift operator. Lionel calls his voice magical, but says to engage the audience more. Katy says he reminds her of Alejandro [Aranda] with his authenticity and musicianship. Luke is impressed by his cool factor.
Filling Up the Talent Cup
Colin Jamieson starts his two-song set with “Locked Out of Heaven” from Bruno Mars. Then he links up with Tori Kelly, who reminisces about her 2010 Idol audition. She wants Colin to have fun and get out of his head for their duet on her song “Hollow.” Katy says he looks like he plays 300 shows a year. Luke sees him having fun in his moment. Lionel feels he treats the stage like his living room, but says not to get tangled up in a mic stand.
Liahona Olayan shows some of her dance moves and showmanship on “Just Friends” by Audrey Mika. The 17-year-old then ventures out of her comfort zone with PJ Morton for his emotional Jojo collaboration “Say So.” Luke says she’s radio ready. Lionel feels she’s on her way to something huge. Katy likes her leaning in to all her abilities.
Showing a Different Side
Fifteen-year-old Ava August hits the ground running and wows the judges with her cover of Olivia Rodrigo’s Spotify record-breaking “driver’s license.” Fun fact: She hasn’t gotten one yet. The youngest in the competition, she sings with Josh Groban for the song he did with Sara Bareilles called “Both Sides Now.” Lionel feels she’s singing far beyond her age. Katy calls her an old soul and tells ther to buckle up because she’s becoming “that queen.” Luke compares her to Judy Garland and says that the solo was the perfect song choice.
Country to the Core
Caleb Kennedy wasn’t around when “Midnight Rider” came out in the ’70s, but he sure knows how to channel The Allman Brothers Band. The 16-year-old makes his duet partner Jason Aldean feel old saying he first listened to his “Fly Over States” song in kindergarten. Caleb decides to let Jason play the guitar for their performance. Katy and Luke appreciate his authenticity. Lionel sees a seasoned country man in the making.
Soul-Saving and/or Idol Saving?
Software developer turned Idol hopeful Hunter Metts opens eyes with a cool acoustic rendition of “Chandelier” by Sia. Mentor Jewel has some fun with Hunter by saying, “Hey, is that Ryan Phillippe?” Jewel challenges him to show more vocal range for their cover of “Who Will Save Your Souls,” the song she wrote at age 16. Luke says he has a voice undeniably his own. Lionel calls him a stylist, but says he needs to have the confidence to lean into it. Katy can see a little fear in his eyes. Jewel, from backstage, disagrees with the critiques.
‘Make the Stage Your B****’
Casey Bishop ends the show with a rocking rendition of Paramore’s “Decode.” Brandon Boyd tells the 16-year-old to find her superhero pose before performing. The Incubus lead singer joins her on his band’s “Wish You Were Here.” Lionel feels she’s among the special ones in the group. Katy tells Casey she needs to make the stage her ‘b****.’ Luke encourages her to bring rock back and to find that persona within her.
American Idol Top 16 Reveal, April 11, 8/7c, ABC