American idols top 24

In what I can only describe as American Idol‘s belated tribute to Easter, Sunday’s episode featured a wonderfully bewildering conversation about baby chickens, led by noted animal biologist Lionel Richie.

While discussing the growth of contestant Alyssa Raghu, Richie noted, “Have you ever in your life thought for a moment: You start out with a chicken — a little chicken — on Monday, and by the end of the week, it’s a full-grown chicken?”

“Was it the chicken or the egg first?” asked Katy Perry. (A logical follow-up!)

“Well, the egg comes first,” Richie replied too quickly. “No, the chicken! … Forget about that. What I’m trying to say is that when you showed up, little bird, you were absolutely so fragile.”

“So fuzzy!” Luke Bryan interjected, because things weren’t already weird enough.

All that madness aside, Sunday’s episode invited the second group of Top 24 singers to take the stage and vie for the final seven spots in the Top 14 of Season 16. (Sorry for all this math, I don’t like it either.) And who better to pick these young singer’s flaws apart than country music something-or-other Bobby Bones!

Read on for a breakdown of Sunday’s best and worst performances, including the bones that Bones picked with the contestants, as well as the bones of yours truly:

Bobby’s Bones: “You have a great style and a great look, but you have to show your personality. It needs to match that.” (Question: Why is everyone pretending like this is a unique piece of criticism? Nearly every single contestant has been told that at one point or another.)
Andy’s Bones: If Harris’ goal was to show off her personality, I’m not sure Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” was the right song for the job. Sure, I was impressed by her ability to keep up with some of the faster lyrics, but the overall performance was inconsistent — dare I say pitchy at times. And Perry basically echoed Bones’ earlier critique, once again telling Harris that she’s looking forward to seeing more from her.
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: “Everybody believes you can dance if you don’t show them you can’t.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Andy’s Bones: I’ll cut Jacobs a little slack, as his voice sounded pretty strained, but no amount of eyebrow-ography could have saved that performance of Shawn Mendes’ “Treat You Better.” As for Jacobs’ moves, Lionel Richie criticized him for focusing too much on his image and not enough on the song itself — and I agree.
Overall Hotness:

(Side note: If that clip of Ryan Seacrest asking Jacobs to tackle him doesn’t end up on next week’s episode of The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale, somebody’s sleeping at their post.)

Bobby’s Bones: “You have to realize that a lot of people are scared, and that’s OK. But you need to be a little more bold. You need to be a little more confident.”
Andy’s Bones: I loved everything about Poppe’s fun, refreshing take on Melanie’s iconic ’70s folk jam “Brand New Key.” It may sound like a silly song to the unfamiliar ear — looking you, Luke Bryan — but it’s deceptively difficult, and Poppe made it look effortless. I’d make room for this in my Apple Music library. (The follow-up duet with her dad? Not so much.)
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: The Idol mentor didn’t really have any tips for Ada; he seemed more interested in finding out where Adam ended and Ada began — and how expensive all that makeup is. (Ada’s answer was perfect: “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.”)
Andy’s Bones: Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” may be one of the most overdone songs in all of reality music television, but when it’s done this good, can you really complain? From that chilling opening riff to that spine-tingling final screech, Ms. Ada had me in the palm of her hand for the duration of her performance. Simply put, she sang for her damn life up there — so much so that Perry forgot all about that has-been Noah Davis and told Ada, “You’ve heard the expression ‘wig snatched’? Well, wig… flew.”
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Scotty’s Bones: Rather than offering his own words of wisdom to the show’s sole remaining “country guy,” Bones set up a meeting with Hutchinson’s all-time favorite Idol winner Scotty McCreery. “It’s all about the song,” the Season 10 winner told him. “You can think about that when you’re making your song choices each week. What’s going to relate to the people at home?”
Andy’s Bones: No one cay say that Hutchinson didn’t take his Idol idol’s advice to heart, singing Thomas Rhett’s crowd-pleasing “Die a Happy Man,” which rested perfectly in his low-swinging range. Despite being technically strong, however, I struggled to find anything exciting about the performance. Richie summed him up perfectly when he described Hutchinson as being “simple and solid,” though I question whether that’s enough to succeed in this competition. (Kudos on that 70-pound weight loss, though!)
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: After hearing about Passero’s difficult relationship with her mom, Bones noted, “The hardest thing to be is vulnerable. … Vulnerable doesn’t mean just sad. You have a talent. Use that as a strength. Don’t be sorry. Use that as a weapon, because it’s the hardest weapon to get, and you have it.”
Andy’s Bones: Following Bones’ emotional advice, I was expecting Passero to serve us a ballad — but I’m so glad she didn’t. Passero owned every inch of that stage with her performance of Heart’s “Barracuda,” effortlessly screeching out notes ne’er documented in the natural world.
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: “Sometimes, you’re not memorable on stage. … More than just dance moves, even your minor movements matter. That’s going to give you more presence.”
Andy’s Bones: I have not a negative word to say about Raghu’s rich, beautiful take on Rihanna’s “Stay.” But if we’re talking about her “minor movements,” which Perry chose to call her “fluidity,” I thought she brought a decent mix of shrugging and pointing. (“Minor movemnts” aren’t really my area of expertise.)
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: I don’t always read too deeply into Bones’ criticisms, but I absolutely take issue with his superficial assessment of Donaldson. I understand that maintaining an active social media presence is required if you want to succeed in the music industry, but I lost it when Bones made Donaldson repeat, “I, Marcio, will do a better job of letting people into my life.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t this blessed angel of a human already take in his sister’s son and raise him as his own? One’s capacity to let people into their lives has nothing to do with how many Instagram followers they can accrue, and to suggest otherwise is kind of gross. (But also par for the course with a radio-minded mentor like Bones.)
Andy’s Bones: I would argue that Donaldson’s aversion to social media is part of what makes him such a great performer. There’s a timeless, unaffected quality to his voice, which fit like a glove into Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable.” He comes across so even-keeled in his interviews, but when he steps under that spotlight — with all those expressive looks, goosebump-inducing notes and tears(!) — he shows the world exactly who he is.
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: “I do love the confidence, but I think you have to limit your hair pops. If you control the passion and put it out there at specific times, it means more than if you do it the entire time.”
Andy’s Bones: I feel like I need to apologize to Justine for not making a bigger deal about her up until this point. (For the record, I blame the avalanche of Season 16 contestants with attention-grabbing backstories.) She absolutely slayed Whitney Houston’s “Run to You,” maintaining her confidence while reeling in her movements. Richie put it best — she let the crowd come to her.
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: As anticipated, Bones had no pointers for this one-of-a-kind contestant. “You’re inspiring for someone like me,” he told her. “Continue that path. There are a lot of people looking to be inspired.”
Andy’s Bones: Taking that advice as far as she could without going too far, Jurnee approached the stage with a powerful cover of Jessie J’s “Flashlight.” Following Perry’s lead, the judges criticized Jurnee’s lack of stage presence, a point I have to disagree with. Prior to Perry literally telling her that she needs to connect her head and heart, I was ready to commend Jurnee on her natural ability to feel every word of her songs.
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: “If you put too much pressure on yourself, you’re not going to perform at your peak. Separate yourself from what’s happening at home.”
Andy’s Bones: I can’t say whether O’Hara enjoyed herself more or less than in previous performances, but I can say that she sang the hell out of Adele’s “All I Ask.” There was a powerful desperation in her voice, one that can only come from knowing personal struggles like the ones she’s currently experiencing. (So I’m sorry to rain on Bones’ parade once again, but I think O’Hara knows exactly what she’s doing.)
Overall Hotness:

Bobby’s Bones: “You need to smile a little more. And be sad. And be angry! … A lot of people wear braces. You’ve got to let America love you a little bit.”
Andy’s Bones: Something about Bultongez’s charming interview got me very excited about this performance — and I was not disappointed. There’s some pain behind those braces, and Bultongez expressed the hell out of it. It wasn’t perfect, and I’m still not sure exactly who he is as an artist, but I’m having a lot of fun figuring it out.
Overall Hotness:

Time to weigh in: Which seven singers deserve the remaining spots in the Top 14? Vote for your favorite performance from Sunday’s episode below (you can pick up to five), then drop a comment with more of your thoughts.

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‘American Idol’ Top 24: Meet This Week’s 12 Finalists

The second half of the season 15 American Idol top 24 compete Wednesday night (Feb. 17) and Thursday night, following the pattern set last week by the first half of the top 24, with the contestants performing solo and then duetting with former Idol contestants.

‘American Idol’: All Our Coverage

Coming back this week to pair up with the current crop are David Cook, Chris Daughtry, Constantine Maroulis, Kellie Pickler, Haley Reinhart and Jordin Sparks.

Billboard returned to Vibiana, a downtown Los Angeles venue, to spend time with the contestants and talk to them about their earliest music memories, major influences and their decisions to audition for Idol.

Like last week, five will go home on Thursday night, leaving a top 14 to face the music on the first live show of the season on Feb. 25. By the end of that episode, the final top 10 in Idol history will be revealed.

‘American Idol’ Top 24: Meet the First 12 Finalists

And now, the remaining members of the top 24:

Jenn Blosil, 23
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Favorite Alums: Kimberley Locke, David Archuleta, Brooke White

Formative Listening: Destiny’s Child, TLC, 3LW, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Brandy, Macy Gray, Des’ree

First Idol Experience: Watched season 2 for two weeks until her mother got annoyed with the TV and threw it away

Blosil’s siblings warned her she wasn’t going to enjoy taking piano lessons. She told them, “Yeah, right! Piano’s the best. I really want to take piano.” Her mother enrolled her in classes when she was four. “I hated piano. I was the worst. I would see kids playing outside on the reflective piano surface. So for a couple of years, it was my least favorite thing. But now I take a lot of joy in playing piano.”

Both of Blosil’s parents are musicians. “My mom is classically trained on the clarinet and my dad’s a drummer into the rock and roll side of things. I had an eclectic mix of influences in my home. My dad had friends in the industry, including a guy who worked at Columbia Records, and he’d send us CDs. I gravitated toward R&B music and got really heavy into R&B artists and black history.”

Blosil’s dream was to sing but she kept it to herself. “I’d sing around the house all the time. I’d sing in the bathroom but I wouldn’t sing for people. It was just for me. I’ve been writing songs ever since I can remember and I had a band with my friends in sixth grade. It wasn’t until junior high that I realized you could take my hatred for piano and my love for singing and put them together and create a really beautiful thing and that changed my life. And then I started writing songs with more dedication. When I was in high school, my sister invited me to play at an open mic night and that was the first time I sang outside of my house. It was one of my own songs and that was the start of my own little musical adventure and career.”

Amelia Eisenhauer, 16
Nashville, Tenn.

Favorite Alums: Phillip Phillips, David Cook, Joey Cook

Formative Listening: Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek

First Idol Experience: Watching season 11 while visiting her grandmother

“I remember riding in the car with my mom and asking her over and over again to get me a violin. Finally, when I was six, they got me one. I don’t know what exactly lured me to the violin, but my mom always played bluegrass around the house, so I heard violin music a lot,” says Eisenhauer.

Classically trained on violin, she took up the fiddle when she was eight. She stopped taking lessons when she was 11 and through some musicians she knew in Mississippi, took up jazz and blues. “I did a lot of talent shows when I was younger and started playing in bands when I was nine. I was home schooled from third grade on, so I didn’t go to slumber parties or hang out with friends. I was always playing shows and now I play with my family band, which is my mom, my brother and a friend of ours. My brother plays banjo. My mother plays guitar. I play fiddle and our friend Bryan Ward plays the upright bass. We all sing. My brother has a very deep baritone voice, so we all fit together like clockwork. I have more of an alto voice, because I have a lower voice for a female, and my mom has a higher voice.”

Being involved with American Idol has already proven to be an education for Eisenhauer. “I’ve learned to talk to people and to come out of my shell a little bit, especially on stage, and to have fun and be normal and natural in front of the camera. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. A big problem for me before this was time management, so it’s kind of helped me with those skills, too.”

Trent Harmon, 25
Amory, Miss.

Favorite Alums: Joshua Ledet, Jordin Sparks, Chris Daughtry

Formative Listening: Elvis Presley, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons

First Idol Experience: “I was in fifth grade and a tornado came through and I remember sitting in school thinking, ‘This is not cool because Justin and Kelly are going to be competing tonight on the finale of American Idol'”

Harmon has a vivid first musical memory. “Amazing Grace” was playing on the car radio and Harmon’s mother asked him to sing along. “So I sang that part and she said, ‘Now sing this part, Trent,’ I sang that part. ‘Now sing the harmony.’ I sang the harmony and she called someone on the phone and said, ‘This 5-year-old sang harmony and switched back to lead. What does that mean?’ I didn’t know what it meant. I was just doing what my mama told me to do, which is what you do in Mississippi.”

Despite his musical talent, Harmon had his heart set on playing baseball. “I tried to push music away and it always came back.” In high school, Harmon’s baseball coach dared him to try out for a part in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. “He said, ‘If you make it, you don’t have to work out this week.’ I got the lead.”

Harmon did consider non-musical jobs. His family owns a farm and operates a restaurant on their property, so farming was a possibility, as was a culinary career. “I went to college to be a history teacher and I almost became one but I started getting more and more gigs and I thought I can always teach .”

Harmon was inspired to audition for Idol after being trapped in a snowstorm during a family vacation. They stayed in that night and watched David Archuleta perform “Imagine” on Idol. Harmon was in ninth grade when he tried out but says, “It was such an anemic audition, I wouldn’t even count it. I was so unprepared. My dad drove me on no sleep from work and we drove through the night to Louisville, Kentucky.”

Harmon didn’t return to Idol until this season. “I have a friend who lives in Belize and I go there every summer and work.” Flying back to the U.S. on a red-eye, Harmon was urged by his friend to change clothes and show up at the Little Rock auditions. He replied, “I’ve been in Belize for a month. I want to go to sleep.” Harmon did take her advice but had no intention of making it through. “I was exhausted. I looked like crap. I had a little bit of a beard and was all disheveled.” He sang Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be” and was asked to sing something else. On the spot, he went with Sam Smith’s “Lay It Down.” “The reason it was the first one that came to my mind is because I sing it so often that I can easily connect it and connect them to it. It worked and I sang it all the way to Hollywood Week.”

Lee Jean, 16
Bluffton, S.C.

Favorite Alums: David Cook, David Archuleta, Chris Daughtry

Formative Listening: Michael Jackson, Bob Marley

First Idol Experience: Watching David Cook and David Archuleta on season 7

Jean will never forget the moment he realized he had musical talent. A self-described introvert whose main interests were Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, he didn’t have a lot of friends when he moved back to the military base in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where he was born and found himself in a new school. He was walking around the campus singing to himself and bumped into the one girl he knew, because she was assigned to show him around. “I saw her jaw drop to the floor. She said, ‘You can sing. I’m going to tell everybody.'” Jean asked her to swear not to do that but she ran over to a large group of students gathered outside. “I remember this because I was so embarrassed, she pointed at me and said, ‘That little black boy over there can sing!'”

Next thing he knew, Jean was forced to vocalize for the other students. “I kept my eyes closed for most of that song, but when I opened them everybody was smiling and the girls were tearing up. That’s when I realized how much I loved performing, and that this what what I really wanted to do.”

Jean knew he wanted to audition for Idol as soon as he started watching the show during the seventh season. “I had the sudden realization that I really wanted to be on the show. While I could imagine being on Idol, I never imagined I would actually be here.”

CJ Johnson, 29
Memphis, Tenn.

Favorite Alums: David Cook, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson

Formative Listening: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, John Mayer

First Idol Experience: Watching season 4

“My pops used to have this tuner and the record player and the speakers that were taller than me. He played old records by Boston, Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. I got a guitar when I was six. I remember trying to play it sitting in the living room. I didn’t even know how. Dad picked a little bit. He played three Beatles songs and some Rolling Stones, like ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ He had a dream but he never followed through because he wanted to provide for us.”

In his teen years, Johnson played soccer and baseball. Then, at 14, he competed in a talent show at the Mid-South Fair. “I placed in the top 20 out of 1,200 people. I had a guitar and the ladies liked it, so I figured I’d be in a band. During high school I’d sit in my room and play along to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Kenny Wayne Shepherd records and try to imitate them.”

Johnson joined his high school choir when he was in 10th grade. “I couldn’t read music. I played by ear. My choir teacher would give me tapes of music we were doing and let me go home and learn my part and come back and fake reading. I’m still trying to learn to read to this day, but it’s tough for me. My right brain just doesn’t want to do it.”

Johnson acknowledges the members of his band, American Fiction, for inspiring his musicianship. “They’re four or five years older than me. They brought me into the game in Memphis, introduced me to some of the best musicians in town and I’m fortunate enough to have a relationship with all these guys. We still play and they’re very supportive of me being out here and I support them. That’s my goal – to have other people get discovered and do what they love.”

Adam Lasher, 28
Danville, Calif.

Favorite Alums: Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams, Clark Beckham

Formative Listening: Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Gypsy Kings, the Temptations, Journey, Queen

First Idol Experience: Watching Kelly Clarkson on season 1

Lasher’s earliest musical memory is running around backstage at one of his uncle’s concerts in the Bay Area and having his mother tell him to sit down. And by the way, his uncle is Carlos Santana. “He’d have us come on stage with the maracas. The first time I was on stage, they gave me the cowbell with the stick and I hit my thumb and started crying.”

Lasher was in junior high when his uncle released Supernatural. “I started to play guitar around then. My grandfather was a mariachi musician and he brought his wife and seven kids up to San Francisco from Mexico and supported them playing the violin. So I’ve always grown up thinking, ‘If my grandpa could support seven people, I should be able to pay my rent singing and playing guitar.'”

Lasher continued to take lessons throughout his high school years and played in two of his campus’ jazz bands. After graduation, he moved to Boston and enrolled in the Berklee College of Music.

The first talent competition show Lasher tried out for was The Voice, in 2011. “I did a song I didn’t really like. It really didn’t fit me, but luckily I never got on a team. It takes a lot of failure to get success.” Lasher auditioned for season 14 of Idol. “I only made it to Hollywood Week. I went in with an original song and Jimmy Fallon dressed up as me and impersonated me. I thought it was awesome. Soon as I was off, I already knew I was going again the next season. I wasn’t discouraged. So I cut my hair and cleaned up my look and here I am.”

Tristan McIntosh, 15
Nashville, Tenn.

Favorite Alums: Kellie Pickler, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood

Formative Listening: Martina McBride, Lonestar, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks

First Idol Experience: “The furthest back I can remember is Scotty McCreery, so season 10, the year I started singing”

When McIntosh was 9, she took to singing around the house and her mother thought she sounded pretty good. “She took me to a singing studio and told the people there, ‘Tell me whether or not my daughter has talent. If not, don’t waste my time or my money.’ If they had said no, I wouldn’t be here today.” McIntosh ended up studying at a more performance-edged studio. “But it wasn’t for me. Now we have a vocal coach, Jessica Ford. I’ve been with her since I was 10.”

Tristan’s mother Amy was winding up a 24-year career in the military, serving in Kuwait, when she telephoned her daughter to tell her Ford had arranged an audition for American Idol. Although Tristan lived closer to the Nashville auditions, she was told by the show to try out in Little Rock. She had no idea a conspiracy was happening behind the scenes.

Idol producers were secretly arranging for Amy to surprise her daughter in the judges’ room. “I flew back on a Wednesday, turned in all my gear and my weapon in Texas,” Amy recalls. “I hid out at my mom’s house. It was very difficult. Imagine being in Kuwait all that time and then you’re home and you can’t go anywhere. I drove from my house to Little Rock, which took about six hours, after my 20-hour flight. I stayed in a different hotel then they did.” Amy kept worrying how her daughter was going to react when they were reunited in front of the cameras but her fears were for naught. “It was an emotional experience. They couldn’t have planned it any better.”

Tristan wasn’t the only one who didn’t know Amy was in Little Rock. Tristan’s father and brother weren’t in on the secret. “My son is a male teenager and he didn’t want to cry on national television. That’s why he had that stoic look. Before I hugged Tristan, my husband thought I was a hologram, beamed in from Kuwait. That was hilarious.”

Dalton Rapattoni, 20
Dallas, Texas

Favorite Alums: Chris Daughtry, Jacob Lusk, Adam Lambert

Formative Listening: Green Day, Weezer

First Idol Experience: Watching season 1

When Rapattoni was 12 years old and in seventh grade, he had to take medication for a bipolar disorder. “The medicine didn’t react with me well, so I started having seizures. I missed so many days of school while at the hospital that they had to pull me out. And when I was doing home schooling, my buddy who I used to play hockey with told me he was going to this program called the School of Rock. He said I should check it out. It’s an awesome program where you get to play music. I started as a guitarist but I was singing along to one of the songs in one of my lessons and my teacher said, “Put down the guitar. You’re a singer. You’re not a guitarist.”

Eight years later, Rapattoni has taken some sporadic lessons and now plays guitar and bass, as well as piano, tambourine, kazoo and he “dabbles” on the drums. “I’m self-taught at everything except vocals. I have a teacher for vocals in Dallas.”

Rapattoni started taking music seriously when he was 15. “I had been in multiple bands at that point.” He watched Idol during this period and kept telling himself, “I’ll do it next year if I’m not doing anything with my music.” When he realized this was the final season and there would be no “next year,” he decided to audition. “I’ve loved the show for my entire life, so I would love to be a part of it. And I am.”

Billboard asked Dalton how he developed his unique look and he candidly replied, “My mom puts together most of my outfits. I want people to believe that I’m naturally this cool but that’s not true.” And the eyeliner? It’s not just for Idol. “When I was 14, I was at music camp. I was doing a punk song and these girls held me down and smudged eyeliner on me. I said, ‘Stop! Stop!’ And then I stood up, looked in the mirror and said, ‘This is pretty good.’ Since then, I’ve worn it pretty much every day.”

Olivia Rox, 17
Agoura Hills, Calif.

Favorite Alums: Kelly Clarkson, Katharine McPhee, Carrie Underwood

Formative Listening: Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Minnie Riperton, Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry

First Idol Experience: “I just turned 17, so I’ve been watching since I was 2.”

Rox (more about that last name in a minute) grew up in a very musical household. “My dad, Warren Hill, is a saxophone player and he’s released 13 CDs. My mom, Tamara Van Cleef, used to sing alternative rock. They met in the studio while my dad was playing on her record. I’ve been on tour with my dad since I was a baby. I’ve been homeschooled my entire life because my parents didn’t want to change their way of life, which was amazing. I absolutely loved it. I’ve gotten to see the world with them.”

When Olivia was a child, her mother traveled to South Africa to work with children who had AIDS. When she returned, she discovered her daughter had written a song, “My Mommy Went to South Africa.” Her next song was “Butterfly,” and then the family was in Los Angeles when Rox was seven. “My dad was making a record and I saw a homeless person with a shopping cart and everything they owned. I had never seen anything like that because we lived in Boulder, Colorado and it’s like a bubble there.” So I was really taken aback by that and I said to my mom, ‘Can we take her home?'” The youngster went back to the hotel room and wrote a song, “Love in Our Hearts.”

A year later, Van Cleef wrote a pilot for a TV series called Olivia Rox. It eventually became a film, produced in Boulder with local talent. Her daughter played the lead, Olivia Roxamillion. “The entire city came to the premiere,” says Olivia. “We hired one limo and all the actors lined up and the limo kept going around the block and dropping them off and the driver kept changing his hat, so it seemed like we had limos. After the premiere, everyone kept calling me Olivia Rox, because that was my character’s name and that’s who I was in their eyes. I really loved the name so I kept it.”

Manny Torres, 21
Flushing, Mich.

Favorite Alums: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Joshua Ledet, DeAndre Brackensick, Jessica Sanchez, Clark Beckham

Formative Listening: Chris Tomlin, Hillsong United, Gavin DeGraw, John Mayer, Maroon 5, John Legend

First Idol Experience: “I’ve always watched the show, but I got more into it in season 6 with Jordin, Blake and Melinda.”

Torres’ father made an album of Christian music in Puerto Rico and had guitars all over the house when Manny was growing up in Michigan. “When I was four he bought me a drum set. I look at the little home videos we made and I had rhythm! I was making beats as a young kid.” Torres also sang at church as a child but it wasn’t until his last two years of high school that he realized what he wanted to do with his life. “Everyone was going off to college to play sports but what did I want to do?” The answer was music.

He learned guitar from his father, piano from YouTube videos and taught himself to play bass. After high school, he moved to Chicago. “I went to the city to get my foot in the door of the music scene. Playing wherever they would let me play. Coffee shops, restaurants, bars, corporate events, holiday parties, et cetera. When I heard it was the farewell season, I thought you should jump at every opportunity you can. I’m a very go-with-the-flow kind of guy. So I decided to audition in Chicago. I’ve auditioned for other shows in the past and not much came from it. Before I knew it, I was at Hollywood Week. Then I was in the top 24. It’s definitely crazy, but it’s been an awesome journey.”

Kory Wheeler, 27
Nashville, Tenn.

Formative Listening: John Prine, Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Eagles

First Idol Experience: “I remember Kelly Clarkson winning. And I remember Adam Lambert doing ‘Ring of Fire.’ The first season I remember watching all the way through was Haley Reinhart’s year.”

Wheeler first took an interest in music when he was five and spent time watching MTV and VH-1, back in the day when they played music videos. At eight, he wrote his first song, “Why,” but he didn’t play any instruments yet. That changed when he was 12. “I wanted to play drums. I ran out of drumsticks so I just hit them with different things I’d find around the house and destroyed them. Then my mom bought me a guitar.” Soon, he learned to play keyboard, bass, banjo and mandolin — “Any stringed instruments.” He competed in talent shows when he was younger and when he grew up, became a worship leader in church.

His audition story is different from most. “They were auditions across the street from where I worked as a barista.” He thought it would be fun to try out for season 14 and convinced his supervisors to give him time off. “I saw somebody with an American Idol lanyard and said, ‘You should let me audition for the show,’ just joking with him, but then it ended up happening the next day. When I auditioned for the producers, I literally clocked out and went on my break. Came back, finished my shift and went back to audition for the judges.” Wheeler sang his favorite song, Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” but it wouldn’t clear, so he had an hour to find another song and chose Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

Wheeler didn’t make it into the finals, and when Idol announced its final season, he decided to try one more time. What do his employers think of that? “They’re championing me pretty hard. We’re inside a hotel, so there are all these different outlets that are in there that know about me and what I’m doing and they’ve been really supportive.”

Shelbie Z, 23
Sumiton, Ala.

Favorite Alums: Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Constantine Maroulis

Formative Listening: Led Zeppelin, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Martina McBride, Alabama, Lady Gaga

First Idol Experience: “The first episode I watched was the finale of season 1.”

Shelbie’s first musical memory is being in her mother’s silver Camaro with her dad. “We were riding to get something to eat and I was so tiny, my feet didn’t even hang off the side of the front seat of the car. And dad played ‘Do You Feel Like I Do’ by Peter Frampton, and said, ‘Listen right here, baby girl. This man is so good, he can make his guitar talk.’ I was so captivated by it, thinking, ‘Really? This is awesome!'”

In her formative years, Shelbie listened to all genres of music. Her grandmother loved ’90s country and her grandfather enjoyed the classics, like Conway Twitty. Shelbie’s dad loved rock ‘n’ roll and her mother listened to everything.

“I was always singing through the house. I’d sing on the porch to the trees like they were my audience. But as far as wanting to make a career out of this, that happened when I was 15. I entered a singing competition (performing Sugarland’s “Stay”) and after I got offstage, I realized this is something that I really want to do. I enjoyed it and I thought it could really lead to something.”

Instead of joining choir or performing in musicals, Shelbie spent her high school years cheerleading. “I had a scholarship for fashion design at Savannah College of Art and Design and got injured my senior year of high school. I tore all the ligaments in my foot and lost my scholarship. But everything happens for a reason because I would not be here doing music. I’m very blessed that all that happened.”

American Idol 2019 hasn’t even premiered yet, but thanks to the ever-reliable American Idol spoilers site The Idol Pad, we already know what 14 contestants will be competing on the live shows when they begin. So if you don’t want any spoilers, you should exit now!

Of course there’s always the slightest of possibilities that one or two of these are wrong or switched up, but that’s never happened with that source, so you can pretty much bank on these contestants being your Top 14. If you watched last season, then two of these will look very familiar as they were cut before the Top 14 but have made it this year. Let’s take a look! Note: Not all names have photos and the photos go with the names directly below each photo. Will will update information as more becomes available.

American Idol 2019 Top 14

Alejandro Aranda, 24, Pomona, CA

Laci Booth, Huntsvillle, Texas.

Walker Burroughs, Birmingham, Alabama.

Evelyn Cormier, previously on “90 Day Fiancé” on TLC

Wade Cota, Phoenix, Arizona.

Dimitrius Graham

Laine Hardy, Livingston, Louisiana (American Idol 2018 Top 50).

Jeremiah Harmon, Baltimore, Maryland.

Ashley Hess, Nashville, Tennessee.

Eddie Island, Nashville, Tennessee.

Uché Ndubizu, 24, Sugarland, Texas

Alyssa Raghu, Orlando, Florida (American Idol 2018 Top 24).

Riley Thompson, Competed on Real Country Season 1.

Madison VanDenburg, 17, New York.

So there you have it, your unofficial American Idol 2019 Top 14, including a few familiar faces. I expected both Laine Hardy and Alyssa Raghu do do well last season, but was proven wrong. Maybe they can pull through this season since they both already made it farther this time around. What do you think of the Top 14? Anyone you’re already excited for?

American Idol Season 17 (or Season 2 on ABC if that’s how you look at it) premiers Sunday March 3. Be sure to check back here for all of your American Idol 2019 recaps, results, spoilers and rankings!

SOURCE: The Idol Pad

Shield your eyes ASAP if you don’t want to be potentially spoiled for season 2 of American Idol. Because we’re pretty sure we know exactly who the top 20 contestants are.

How? For starters, a popular American Idol-loving blog called The Idol Pad claims to have obtained a “leaked” photo of the top 20 contestants from this season and posted it on Twitter:

#idolspoilers 1st Group Photo Of American Idol Season 17 Top 20

— TIP | Idol Spoilers (@idolspoilers) February 1, 2019

But is it legit? It just might be. While the American Idol team filmed in Hawaii, it appears an onlooker grabbed a rather revealing video from behind the scenes and shared it on YouTube. In it, host Ryan Seacrest clearly states “20 is official. One of these faces is the next American Idol,” before all the “contestants” went running into the water.

If you ask us, the clip below looks very similar to the leaked photo.

On top of all that, one of the photos American Idol used to promo their season happened to have the top 20 running into the ocean.

This Top 20 is about to make a SPLASH! 🌊⁣⁣
We can’t wait for you to meet them! 🤙⁣⁣
⁣⁣#AmericanIdol premieres Sunday, March 3 on @ABCNetwork! 💙⁣ #TheNextIdol #DisneyAulani

— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) January 30, 2019

Okay, so now that you’re convinced, here’s the list of folks in the photo, according to The Idol Pad:
Alyssa Raghunandan
Ashley Hess
Cristina Contreras
Evelyn Cormier
Kate Barnette
Laci Booth
Madison VanDenburg
Raquel Trinidad
Riley Thompson
Alejandro Aranda
Dimitrius Graham
Eddie Island
Jeremiah Harmon
Laine Hardy
Logan Johnson
Ryan Hammond
Shawn Robinson
Uché Ndubizu
Wade Cota
Walker Burroughs

Of course, this isn’t confirmed by ABC or the show itself, so this could, in fact, be proven wrong. But if this is correct, it looks like 90 Day Fiancé star Evelyn Cormier is making it pretty far in the competition. Another notable name is former American Idol contestant Alyssa Raghunandan, who went home last April after making it to the top 24.

As for the other contestants, if they did end up making it to the top 20, we’ll get a sense of their journey in the episodes to come. Gold Derby reports that fans will find out who is in the top 20 on Monday, April 1. In the meantime, we have Hollywood Week to keep us entertained.

Related Stories Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.

The fifth season of American Idol began on January 17, 2006 and concluded on May 24, 2006. Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell returned to judge, and Ryan Seacrest returned to host. It is the most successful season to date ratings-wise and also with 17 contestants (including all of the top 9) getting record deals – nine of them with major labels. It became the first season with a male winner (Taylor Hicks) and a female runner-up (Katharine McPhee).


Auditions were held in seven cities in the summer and early fall of 2005 in the following order:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • San Francisco, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Austin, Texas (later stages of auditions were held in San Francisco because of Hurricane Katrina and the number of evacuees in Texas)
  • Foxborough, Massachusetts (Greater Boston)

Unlike Season 4, no guest judges were involved during the auditions.


The Hollywood semi-final rounds were held at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, California consisting of 175 contestants. The first round of semi-finals consisted of solo a cappella performance with each contestant choosing one song out of twelve that were given to each contestant two weeks in advance. Those who did not impress the judges were sent home the following day. After the singles round, the contestants were separated into four groups, with three groups going through (with 44 contestants chosen). In the Pasadena Civic Center, each were individually taken via elevator walking the infamous “mile” to the judges station where the verdict if they would be chosen or not was announced. Twenty were cut and the final twenty-four (12 men and 12 woman) were selected.


The live show portion of the semifinals began on February 21, 2006, with the names announced on February 15, 2006. There were three live shows each week for the three weeks of the semifinals. There were no format changes from season four which featured 18 male singers and 18 female singers with two of each being eliminated each week. The semifinalists were announced February 15, 2006. The following are semifinalists who did not reach the finals.


Mandisa Kellie Pickler Becky O’Donohue Ayla Brown Paris Bennett Stevie Scott
Jessica Santos Stephanie White Megan Bobo Brooke Barrettsmith Crystal Stark Shawna White
Brenna Gethers Heather Cox Melissa McGhee Lisa Tucker Kinnik Sky Katharine McPhee


Patrick Hall David Radford Bucky Covington Will Makar José “Sway” Penala Chris Daughtry
Garet Johnson Matthew Buckstein Dave Hoover Syd Harcourt Derrell Brittenum Terrell Brittenum
Kevin Covais Gedeon McKinney Elliott Yamin Bobby Bennet Ace Young Taylor Hicks

Top 12Edit

The following contestants were Season 5’s Top 12


  • Katharine McPhee
  • Paris Bennett
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Mandisa
  • Lisa Tucker
  • Melissa McGhee

The Finalists; Back Row: Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, Kellie Pickler, Katharine McPhee, Kevin Covais & Mandisa; Front Row: Bucky Covington, Melissa McGhee, Lisa Tucker, Paris Bennett, Ace Young & Elliott Yamin


  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Ace Young
  • Bucky Covington
  • Kevin Covais


Top 12 performEdit

During the first round of the finals, the Top 12 performed a song from Stevie Wonder for a spot in the Top 11.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Melissa McGhee was the first contestant to be eliminated on March 15, 2006 bringing the total down to 11 remaining contestants.

Top 11Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 11.

  • Paris Bennett
  • Lisa Tucker (bottom 3)
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Mandisa
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Kevin Covais
  • Bucky Covington
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin
  • Ace Young (bottom 3)


The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 11 performEdit

During the first round of the finals, the Top 10 performed a song from the year 1950 for a spot in the Top 10.

Kevin Covais was the second contestant to be eliminated on March 22, 2006 bringing the total down to 10 remaining contestants.

Top 10Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 10.

  • Paris Bennett
  • Lisa Tucker (bottom 3)
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Mandisa
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Bucky Covington (bottom 3)
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin
  • Ace Young

The contestants performed in the following order:

  • Mandisa – “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” by Hank Snow
  • Bucky Covington – “Oh, Boy!” by Buddy Holly
  • Paris Bennett – “Fever” by Little Willie John
  • Chris Daughtry – “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash
  • Katharine McPhee – “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Sy Oliver
  • Taylor Hicks – “Not Fade Away” by The Crickets featuring Buddy Holly
  • Lisa Tucker – “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
  • Kevin Covais – “When I Fall in Love” by Doris Day
  • Elliott Yamin – “Teach Me Tonight” by The DeCastro Sisters
  • Kellie Pickler – “Walkin’ After Midnight” by Patsy Cline
  • Ace Young – “In the Still of the Night” by The Five Satins

Top 10 performEdit

During this round of the finals, the Top 10 performed a song from the year 2000 for a spot in the Top 9.

Lisa Tucker was the eliminated contestant on March 29, 2006, bringing the total down to 9 remaining contestants.

Top 9Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 9.

  • Paris Bennett
  • Katharine McPhee (bottom 3)
  • Mandisa
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Bucky Covington
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin
  • Ace Young (bottom 3)

The contestants performed in the following order:

  • Lisa Tucker – “Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson
  • Kellie Pickler – “Suds in the Bucket” by Sara Evans
  • Ace Young – “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” by Train
  • Taylor Hicks – “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne
  • Mandisa – “Shackles (Praise You)” by Mary Mary
  • Chris Daughtry – “What If” by Creed
  • Katharine McPhee – “The Voice Within” by Christina Aguilera
  • Bucky Covington – “Real Good Man” by Tim McGraw
  • Paris Bennett – “Work It Out” by Beyoncé
  • Elliott Yamin – “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw

Top 9 performEdit

During this round of the finals, the Top 9 performed a song from Country music for a spot in the Top 8.

Mandisa was the eliminated contestant on April 5, 2006, bringing the total down to 8 remaining contestants.

Top 8Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 8.

  • Paris Bennett (bottom 3)
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Bucky Covington
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin (bottom 3)
  • Ace Young

The contestants performed in the following order:

  • Taylor Hicks – “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
  • Mandisa – “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain
  • Elliott Yamin – “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks
  • Paris Bennett – “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes
  • Ace Young – “Tonight I Wanna Cry” by Keith Urban
  • Kellie Pickler – “Fancy” by Bobbie Gentry
  • Chris Daughtry – “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban
  • Katharine McPhee – “Bringing Out the Elvis in Me” by Faith Hill
  • Bucky Covington – “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” by Vertical Horizon

Top 8 performEdit

During this round of the finals, the Top 8 performed a song from Queen for a spot in the Top 7.

Bucky Covington was the eliminated contestant on April 12, 2006, bringing the total down to 7 remaining contestants.

Top 7Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 7.

  • Paris Bennett
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin (bottom 3)
  • Ace Young (bottom 3)

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 7 performEdit

During this round of the finals, the Top 7 performed a song from the Great American Songbook for a spot in the Top 6.

Ace Young was the eliminated contestant on April 19, 2006, bringing the total down to 6 remaining contestants.

Top 6Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 6.

  • Paris Bennett (bottom 3)
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Chris Daughtry (bottom 3)
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin

The contestants performed in the following order:

  • Chris Daughtry – “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
  • Paris Bennett – “These Foolish Things” by Billie Holiday
  • Taylor Hicks – “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke
  • Elliott Yamin – “It Had To Be You” by Sam Lanin and his Orchestra
  • Kellie Pickler – “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” by Vivienne Segal
  • Ace Young – “That’s All” by Nat King Cole
  • Katharine McPhee – “Someone to Watch Over Me” by Gertrude Lawrence

Top 6 performEdit

During this round of the finals, the Top 6 performed a love song for a spot in the Top 5.

Kellie Pickler was the eliminated contestant on April 26, 2006, bringing the total down to 5 remaining contestants.

Top 5Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 5.

  • Paris Bennett (bottom 2)
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin

The contestants performed in the following order:

  • Katharine McPhee – “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston
  • Elliott Yamin – “A Song for You” by Leon Russell
  • Kellie Pickler – “Unchained Melody” by Todd Duncan
  • Paris Bennett – “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand
  • Taylor Hicks – “Just Once” by James Ingram
  • Chris Daughtry – “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” by Bryan Adams

Top 5 performEdit

During this round of the Finals, the Top 5 contestants performed a song from the year they were born in and a song from the current Billboard Top 10 for a spot in the Top 4.

Paris Bennett was the eliminated contestant on May 3, 2006, bringing the total down to 4 remaining contestants.

Top 4Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 4.

  • Katharine McPhee
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin (bottom 2)

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 4 performEdit

During this round of the Finals, each contestant will perform two songs from Elvis Presley for a spot in the Top 3.

Chris Daughtry was the eliminated contestant on May 10, 2006, bringing the total down to 3 remaining contestants.

Top 3Edit

  • Katharine McPhee (bottom 2)
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Elliott Yamin

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 3 performEdit

During this round of the finals, the Top 3 performed a song picked by Clive Davis, a song picked by the judges and a song of their choice for a spot in the Top 2.

Elliott Yamin was the eliminated contestant on May 17, 2006, bringing the total down to 2 remaining contestants.

Top 2Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 2.

  • Katharine McPhee
  • Taylor Hicks

(The first round of performances was chosen by Clive Davis, the second round were chosen by the judges and the final round was the contestant’s choice). The contestants performed in the following order:

  • Elliott Yamin – “Open Arms” by Journey
  • Katharine McPhee – “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly
  • Taylor Hicks – “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen
  • Elliott Yamin – “What You Won’t Do for Love” by Bobby Caldwell (chosen by Paula Abdul)
  • Katharine McPhee – “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland (chosen by Simon Cowell)
  • Taylor Hicks – “You Are So Beautiful” by Billy Preston and Dennis Wilson (chosen by Randy Jackson)
  • Elliott Yamin – “I Believe to My Soul” by Ray Charles
  • Katharine McPhee – “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues” by Duke Ellington
  • Taylor Hicks – “Try a Little Tenderness” by Val Rosing and The Ray Noble Orchestra

Top 2 performEdit

During the final round of the finals, the Top 2 performed two of their previous song from the past round and their first winning single for a spot as Season 5’s American Idol.


Katharine McPhee was the runner-up of Season 5. Taylor Hicks being the winner.

(The first and second performance were two songs from their favorite performances, the last was their winner single). The contestants performed in the following order:

  • Katharine McPhee – “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall
  • Taylor Hicks – “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder
  • Katharine McPhee – “Over The Rainbow” by Judy Garland
  • Taylor Hicks – “Levon” by Elton John
  • Katharine McPhee – “My Destiny”
  • Taylor Hicks – “Do I Make You Proud”


Taylor Hicks was the winner of American Idol Season 5 on May 24, 2006. He is the eldest contestant to win the competition at the age of 29.

Results PerformancesEdit

The biggest controversy to come out of this season was the May 10, 2006 elimination of fan favorite Chris Daughtry. Some voters claimed that phone calls dialed for Daughtry during the first few minutes of voting were misrouted to contestant Katherine McPhee’s lines, resulting in the voter hearing McPhee’s recorded message thanking them for voting instead of his. An unsuccessful petition drive to bring Daughtry back to the show was started by his fans and garnered attention by the media. It also brought the show’s voting system back into question with some fans and several critics claiming that the show’s voting is rigged. Rigged voting would gain even more attention in Season 10 when contestant Pia Toscano was eliminated, and in Season 12 when contestant Angie Miller was eliminated.

Season 5


Taylor Hicks · Katharine McPhee · Elliott Yamin · Chris Daughtry · Paris Bennett · Kellie Pickler · Ace Young · Bucky Covington · Mandisa · Lisa Tucker · Kevin Covais · Melissa McGhee

American Idol


1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10 · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15 · 16 · 17


Simon Cowell (Seasons 1-9) · Paula Abdul (Seasons 1-8) · Randy Jackson (Seasons 1-12) · Kara DioGuardi (Seasons 8-9) · Ellen DeGeneres (Season 9) · Steven Tyler (Seasons 10-11) · Nicki Minaj (Season 12) · Mariah Carey (Season 12) · Jennifer Lopez (Seasons 10-11,13-15) · Keith Urban (Seasons 12-15) · Harry Connick, Jr. (Seasons 13-15) · Katy Perry (Seasons 16-) · Luke Bryan (Seasons 16-) · Lionel Richie (Seasons 16-)


Ryan Seacrest (Seasons 1-16) · Brian Dunkleman (Season 1)


Kelly Clarkson · Ruben Studdard · Fantasia Barrino · Carrie Underwood · Taylor Hicks · Jordin Sparks · David Cook · Kris Allen · Lee DeWyze · Scotty McCreery · Phillip Phillips · Candice Glover · Caleb Johnson · Nick Fradiani · Trent Harmon · Maddie Poppe


Justin Guarini · Clay Aiken · Diana DeGarmo · Bo Bice · Katharine McPhee · Blake Lewis · David Archuleta · Adam Lambert · Crystal Bowersox · Lauren Alaina · Jessica Sanchez · Kree Harrison · Jena Irene · Clark Beckham · La’Porsha Renae · Caleb Lee Hutchinson

Coronation Songs

“A Moment Like This” · “Flying Without Wings” · “I Believe” · “Inside Your Heaven” · “Do I Make You Proud” · “This Is My Now” · “The Time of My Life” · “No Boundaries” · “Beautiful Day” · “I Love You This Big” · “Home” · “I Am Beautiful” · “As Long As You Love Me” · “Beautiful Life” · “Falling” · “Going Going Gone”


From Justin to Kelly · Juniors · Christmas

“American Idol” has reached the Top 14 stage of the competition for season 17. These artists are still in the hunt to win this reality competition series hosted by Ryan Seacrest. They will sing for America’s votes for the first time on Sunday, April 14. Take a closer look at each of the 14 artists in the photos above and then vote for the winner of this ABC revival of “American Idol” at the bottom of this post and be sure to sound off on your favorites in the comments section.

This pool of talent was selected by judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie in a series of auditions. First, they caught the eye of the panel at one of the regional auditions. That won them a trip to Hollywood, where they numbered among the 150 plus would-be winners. They then made the cut down to the Top 40.

At that point, they had to sing solo for the judges, who then sent more than half of the hopefuls packing. As part of the Top 20 each had to perform twice more for the judges. First they sung a solo and then they partnered with a professional, often singing one of their trademark songs. The judges then eliminated three more artists apiece from Group 1 and Group 2, leaving just 14 to compete in the live shows.

The photo gallery above inclues a recap of this roster of talent, including the songs they performed at both the Top 40 and Top 20 stages of the competition and their celebrity duet partners at the latter.

DISCUSS All things “American Idol” with TV insiders in our notorious forums

American Idol Names Top 20 at Aulani Resort in Hawaii, Sunday, March 31

Don’t miss American Idol SUNDAY, MARCH 31 8|7c on ABC! For the first time ever, American Idol’s iconic showcase round hits the road, heading to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, where the show’s Top 40 contestants take to the beach for incredible solo performances in front of a live audience and the superstar judge panel. Following the performances, it’s an emotional roller coaster in paradise as the judges sit down with each contestant to reveal their fate, culminating with the show’s Top 20 finalists. Missed an episode? No problem! Watch all full episodes (auditions and Hollywood Week) or check out the weekly recaps at or the ABC app.

American Idol team and Minnie Mouse at Aulani: From left: In-house mentor Bobby Bones, host Ryan Seacrest, Minnie Mouse, and judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie.

Shave ice with ears!

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii

Don’t miss American Idol, SUNDAY, MARCH 31 8|7c on ABC, streaming and on demand.

American Idol heads to Hawaii: Contestants bring ‘IT’ factor, judges squeeze in play time

HONOLULU – Sunday night’s episode is three hours, 7-10 pm, and was filmed at Disney Aulani Resort, with contestants facing a live audience for the first time in their audition process.
In an exclusive sit-down with judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, as well as host Ryan Seacrest, they tell KITV4 if contestants don’t bring their “A” game, auditioning in Hawaii could be a distraction.
“You know, we always say ‘Go out and be relaxed.’ Well, this could take you off your game. This could really take you off your game,” joked Richie on being in Hawaii.
“It really depends on how focused of an artist they are. You could certainly be out there at the beach and think that you don’t have much work to do, but you stand on that stage in front of people, in front of the judges, and it’s real work,” explained Seacrest.
The judges say for those who missed their chance this season, their advice for next year is to bring the “IT” factor.
“You can’t take your eyes off them,” explained Bryan, “They just have something about them that’s truly, truly special and authentic to watch.”
And while they weren’t on the job, the judges said they squeezed in a little time of their own to take in the sites.
“My boyfriend and I, we rented a Harley and we went to the North Shore yesterday to Pipeline, doing the super local thing,” said Perry.

‘American Idol’: Top 20 Revealed

In a three-hour special episode of ABC’s American Idol on Sunday night, the top 20 contestants were selected by judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. Artists sang showcase performances in front of live audiences in Hawaii, and the judges then made their deliberations one-on-one.

First up was Alyssa Raghu, singing “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor. Raghu competed last season and was back to prove herself. Perry was impressed by her growth, praising her natural vibe onstage. She made the top 20.

Next up was Madison Vandenberg, singing “Who’s Loving You” by the Jackson 5. She delivered a smooth, soulful performance and commanded the stage. She also made it into the top 20.

Then came Myra Tran, singing “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. She wasn’t pitch-perfect, and she had some breath control issues, too. As Richie put it, it just wasn’t 100 percent. She was cut from the competition.

Logan Johnson performed “Sorry” by Justin Bieber. He sang part of the song in Spanish in order to set himself apart, and the judges were very into it. He advanced to the top 20.

Nate Walker, who struggled during Hollywood Week because of a cold, sang Richie’s own song “Still.” The song choice was a risk, and it didn’t pay off. Walker oversang it, and he was eliminated from the competition.

Singing “Latch” by Disclosure, Dimitrius sailed through to the top 20 with his impressive range and falsetto.

Ashley Hess sang “Feel a Way” by H.E.R., stepping out from behind the piano for the first time. She showcased impressive technical skills and stage presence. Bryan encouraged her to stick to the piano in the future. She made the top 20.

Drake McCain was eliminated from the competition after his performance of “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5. He just didn’t stand out, and the performance was forgettable. Perry said he was straining to hit all the notes.

Singing “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara, Kai the Singer didn’t hit all the notes she was going for and seemed to be affected by nerves. Bryan said she didn’t 100 percent nail every note. She was sent home.

Laci Kaye Booth’s rendition of the classic “Georgia on My Mind” earned her a spot in the top 20. She showcased a bluesy voice with a lot of character. Perry said the timing was right for her and sent her through to the top 20. “You are really special,” Perry said.

The news for Nick Townsend was not as good. He sang “Hold Back the River” by James Bay, and Bryan said it was a tough one during the judges’ deliberation. “You are tremendously talented,” Bryan added. But Townsend didn’t make the cut. Clay Paige, Kason Lester and Johanna Jones were also eliminated.

Walker Burrows got things turned around with his performance of “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer. He accompanied himself on the keyboard and sang a slowed-down arrangement. It suited his voice and stood out. He made it to the top 20.

Ryan Hammond also made the top 20 with his performance of “A Song for You.” He sang with a lot of emotion, and Perry let him know that he was in the top 20.

Singing “Royals” by Lorde, Kate Barnett also made the top 20. Evelyn Comiere also advanced with her performance of “No Roots” by Alice Merton. However, Emma Kleinberg was eliminated after her performance of “Is This Love?” by Bob Marley.

Uche sang “Play That Funky Music” and came alive onstage, giving one of the most energetic performances of the episode. He had fun ad libs and worked the stage well. He sailed through to the top 20.

Alejandro Aranda gave an emotional performance of “Yellow” by Coldplay, and it earned him a spot in the top 20. “You definitely have a different vibe,” Perry said, adding that he should keep taking risks. “We believe in you,” she said.

Singing “Landslide,” Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon also made the top 20. He sang with emotion and memorable vocals. Perry bonded with him over being the children of pastors. Harmon’s family does not accept that he’s gay. “I accept you, and I’m so proud of you,” Perry said. He advanced to the top 20.

Shayy sang “All I Ask” by Adele, and she sounded strong on the lower parts, but the judges thought there were some vocal issues. She was sent home. “But we love you,” Richie said. Mica Giaconi, Payton Taylor and Idalis Marie were also eliminated.

Riley Thompson sang “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert, delivering a straightforward pop-country performance. She advanced to the top 20. In truncated performances, Raquel Trinidad, Shawn Robinson and Bumbly also advanced.

Wade Cota secured a spot in the top 20 with his performance of Hozier’s “Work Song.” He made the song his own, and Perry noted how unique his voice is.

With four performers left, only two spots in the top 20 remained. Margie Mays didn’t make the cut with her performance of “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. However, Eddie Island made it through, singing “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia and putting a lot of his own spins on it.

Then it was down to Laine Hardy and Tyler Mitchell. They were fighting for the final spot in the top 20, and Hardy sang “Come Together” by The Beatles, while Mitchell sang “Suitcase” by Steve Moakler. Hardy made the top 20, and Mitchell was eliminated.

The top 20 will perform on Monday night.

‘American Idol’: The Top 24 Revealed

The top 50 contestants were announced on ABC’s American Idol on Sunday night, and on Monday that group was whittled down into the top 24 based on their collective performances throughout Hollywood Week. The top 50 sang showcase performances at a club in Los Angeles, and some of those were shown Monday night as judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie made their deliberations with artists one-on-one.

First up was young country singer Layla Spring. She sang “Proud Mary” for her showcase and put on an entertaining show. “I said you have to speed up the vibrate, and you did it!,” Perry said, highlighting her ability to take directions. “We’re really scared to send 16-year-olds through, but you’re a 16-year-old, and you’re going through,” Bryan added.

Michael Woodard followed, and for his showcase, he sang “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, and he seemed a little awkward onstage and was affecting his voice too much, but the judges seemed to be into it. And Woodard undeniably has something special. They didn’t really waste any time with him in the hot seat, telling him he advanced right away.

Trevor Holmes sang “Slow Hands” by Niall Horan for his showcase, and it just wasn’t exciting enough. As badly as Perry wanted him to stay in the competition, he didn’t make the cut.

Despite the fact that she was told not to sing Carrie Underwood in her initial audition, Gabby Barrett ended up singing “Church Bells” in her showcase. Perry said it wasn’t good at first but that it finished strong. “I think you are what the competition needs,” Bryan said before telling her she was in the top 24.

Thaddeus Johnson, who was cut at this stage of the competition during season nine, sang “Hate on Me” for his showcase, and it was a standout, fun performance, but the judges didn’t think it was the right time for him. He didn’t make the top 24 again.

Singer and dancer Michelle Susset advanced to the top 24. Dominique, Trevor McBane, Maddie Poppe, Ron Bultongez and Alyssa Raghu also advanced, although their showcase performances did not air.

Singer-songwriter Catie Turner sang a very original cover of “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. “Yesterday was shaky,” Perry said, adding that she has learned a lot. They ended up advancing her.

Les Greene, Milo Sposato, Britney Holmes and William Casanova were eliminated.

Jurnee sang “Never Enough” from the Greatest Showman soundtrack, and it was an emotional and theatrical performance, though she never over-sang, giving one of the best showcase performances of the night. She made the top 24.

Shannon O’Hara sang Perry’s own “Unconditionally” in a very stripped-down and gorgeous showcase performance. She made it through. Kay Kay, Amelia Hammer Harris and Brandon Diaz also advanced.

Noah Davis played piano and sang “You And I” by Lady Gaga, and he sounded strong when he was at the piano, but once he stepped out, he had some pitch issues. Still, he has been one of the judges’ favorites since the beginning. He went home.

Other early favorites Harper Grace, Carly Moffa, Samothias, Lee Vasi and Victoria McQueen also went home.

Ada Vox did an over-the-top cover of “Creep,” taking big risks, but she nailed it and highlighted her huge range. It was definitely one of the most memorable showcase performances, and it secured her spot in the top 24. “You have one of the biggest voices on the planet,” Bryan said after Richie gave him the good news.

Jonny Brenns sang “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith, and he had some breath control issues, but when he slipped into his falsetto, he sounded strong. It was a major improvement from his other Hollywood Week performances. He advanced to the next round.

Mara Justine, the youngest artist left in the competition, sang an over-the-top cover of “Something’s Got a Hold On Me,” delivering a solid vocal and an entertaining performance. She exuded confidence throughout. She made it to the top 24.

Caleb Lee Hutchinson also advanced, and fellow country boys Garrett Jacobs and Laine Hardy went in to see the judges together. Jacobs advanced, but Hardy did not.

Rocker Cade Foehner sang “No Good” in his showcase, and it was a solid rock performance with lots of personality. He made the top 24.

That left four more contestants waiting to receive their fates. The last two women fighting for one spot in the top 24 were Maddie Zahm and Effie Passero, and they went before the judges together. Zahm sang “What About Us” by Pink for her showcase, and Passero sang “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. Passero made it, but Zahm did not.

The last two contestants to face the judges were Marcio Donaldson and Dennis Lorenzo. Donaldson sang “If You Really Love Me” by Stevie Wonder and hit some killer high notes in his showcase. Lorenzo sang “A Song for You,” and it was another emotional and moving performance. As it turned out, there were two spots left, so the judges gave good news to both singers.

The top 24 will perform solos and celebrity duets next week. What did you think of Monday night’s results?

‘American Idol’ Top 24 Revealed

“American Idol” revealed the remaining 17 of its top 24 season nine contestants on Wednesday night (Feb. 17), following the previous night’s unveiling of the first seven finalists and capping off over a month of audition rounds.
One by one, each auditioner entered the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles to hear their fate directly from “American Idol” judges Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson. Among the male contestants who made it through to the top 24 were Andrew Garcia, who charmed the judges throughout Hollywood week with acoustic covers of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” and Adele’s “Chasing Pavements;” Todrick Hall, who has performed with season three “Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino in “The Color Purple” on Broadway; and Casey James, a 26-year-old Texan who sang Ray Charles’ “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and has been designated as a potential heartthrob of sorts.

Photos: American Idols — Then & Now

The female contestants who were ushered into the top 24 include Crystal Bowersox, a single mother who played both the guitar and harmonica in Hollywood; Lilly Scott, an eclectic 20-year-old who impressed with Ella Fitzgerald’s “Lullaby of Birdland”; and Lacey Brown, who made it all the way up to the same point last season, but ultimately lost her top 24 slot to Megan Joy Corkery, a contestant who would later finish in ninth place.
Not everyone was given good news, though. “Idol” hopeful Angela Martin had auditioned twice before but was ultimately rejected, a controversial decision made even more poignant by the Chicago native’s personal story. Martin left the show’s 2007 auditions rounds when her father was murdered, and her mother has been missing since late December, just weeks before she’d return to Hollywood for her third attempt at making the cut.
Almost immediately after Wednesday night’s episode aired, a rumor surfaced online that one of the original top 24 contestants had been disqualified. Viewers noticed that auditioner Chris Golightly appeared in the final group shot of the top 24 with host Ryan Seacrest, but he was not shown in the dance montage that immediately followed, during which Seacrest listed each top 24 finalist one by one. Golightly appeared to have been replaced by Tim Urban, who was not visible in the top 24 group shot but was named and shown individually during the montage.
Neither Golightly nor Urban’s moment of truth before the judges aired during this week’s episodes. The “American Idol” fansite Idol360 reports that Golightly was disqualified for an unspecified breach of contract and replaced with Urban, but Fox representatives were not available for comment on Wednesday night regarding the apparent switch.
Here is the complete list of ‘American Idol’ Top 24 finalists:
Did Benami
Crystal Bowersox
Lacey Brown
Michelle Delamor
Lee Dewyze
Katelyn Epperly
Andrew Garcia
Tyler Grady
Todrick Hall
Aaron Kelly
Casey James
Alex Lambert
Michael Lynche
Siobhan Magnus
Paige Miles
Joe Munoz
John Park
Ashley Rodriguez
Lilly Scott
Jermaine Sellers
Katie Stevens
Tim Urban
Haeley Vaughn
Janell Wheeler

“American Idol” returns on March 3 for the first of five audition episodes hosted, as always, by Ryan Seacrest. By the end of this stage of the competition, the three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — will have sent upwards of 150 contestants to Hollywood.

Over the course of the two Hollywood week episodes, which will air on March 24 and 25, we will see this number cut down to just 40. Those lucky two score then took to the stage at the Disney Aulani resort in Honolulu, Hawaii where they were showcased in solo turns that determined the top 20.

The episode featuring these make-or-break performances, which took place at the end of January, will air on March 31. If you can’t wait for the results, scroll down to see the roster of men who performed, the songs they sung and their eventual fate as revealed by The Idol Pad.

SEE ‘American Idol’ spoilers: Which women made the Top 40 showcase round on season 17, what songs did they sing and who made it through?

The three judges put just 11 of the men through to the Top 20. And only eight of them number among the 14 artists who will sing for America’s votes on the first live show on April 14. Once the live playoffs of “American Idol” season 17 begin, you will be able to predict the outcome of each episode in our predictions center. You can already make forecasts for the outcomes on such reality TV shows as “Survivor,” plus the winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards and both the daytime and primetime Emmy Awards.

SEE ‘American Idol’ Season 17 schedule: When are the live shows and grand finale?

Alejandro Aranda
Song: “Yellow”
Result: Top 20; Top 14 Live Show

Walker Burroughs
Result: Top 20; Top 14 Live Show

Wade Cota
Song: “Work Song”
Result: Top 20; Top 14 Live Show

Cameron Goode
Song: “Nobody’s Perfect”
Result: Eliminated

Demetrius Graham
Result: Top 20; Top 14 Live Show

Ryan Hammond
Song: “A Song For You”
Result: Top 20

Laine Hardy
Song: “Come Together”
Result: Top 20; Top 14 Live Show

Jeremiah Harmon
Song: “Landslide”
Result: Top 20; Top 14 Live Show

Eddie Island
Result: Top 20; Top 14 Live Show

SEE ‘American Idol’: Everything you need to know about season 17 – start date, judges, format changes

Logan Johnson
Song: “Sorry”
Result: Top 20

Kason Lester
Song: “Wanted Dead Or Alive”
Result: Eliminated

Drake McCain
Song: “Girls Like You”
Result: Eliminated

Clay Page
Song: “Fishin’ In The Dark”
Result: Eliminated

Shawn Robinson
Song: “Rock With You”
Result: Top 20

Shelton Taylor
Song: “Earned It”
Result: Eliminated

Nick Townsend
Song: “Hold Back the River”
Result: Eliminated

Uché Ndubizu
Song: “Play That Funky Music”
Result: Top 20 ; Top 14 Live Show

Nate Walker
Result: Eliminated

SEE ‘American Idol’ Winners: Where Are They Now (Seasons 1 – 16)?

The top 20 on season 17 of “American Idol” will be revealed at the end of a three-hour edition of the reality series on March 31. These contenders will be culled from the 40 contestants who survived Hollywood Week. If you don’t want to sit through the longest show in the history of the franchise, then keep reading as we’ve got all the details as to who made the cut. Spoilers ahead.

The Top 40 auditioned for the three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — at the end of January against the backdrop of Disney’s Aulani Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii. We’ve done some digging and can let you in on the results, including the names of the 9 women and 11 men to make the grade and the titles of the tracks that they sang.

The score of singers still standing at this stage of the competition had to sing twice more (solo, celebrity duet) to secure a place in the T0p 14 who will feature on the live shows that start on April 14.

SEE ‘American Idol’ Season 17 schedule: When are the live shows and grand finale?


Kate Barnette

Laci Booth

Cristina Contreras
Song: “Baby” by Clean Bandit, Marina, & Luis Fonsi

Evelyn Cormier
Song: “No Roots” by Alice Merton

Ashley Hess
Song: “Feel A Way” by H.E.R.

Alyssa Raghunandan
Song: “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor

Riley Thompson
Song: “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert

Raquel Trinidad
Song: “Rich Girl” by Hall And Oates

Madison VanDenburg
Song: “Who’s Lovin’ You” by The Miracles

SEE ‘American Idol’ Winners: Where Are They Now (Seasons 1 – 16)?

TOP 20: 11 MEN

Alejandro Aranda

Walker Burroughs
Song: “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds Of Summer

Wade Cota
Song: “Work Song” by Hozier

Dimitrius Graham

Ryan Hammond
Song: “A Song For You” by Leon Russell

Laine Hardy
Song: “Come Together” by The Beatles

Jeremiah Harmon
Song: “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac

Eddie Island

Logan Johnson

Uché Ndubizu
Song: “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

Shawn Robinson
Song: “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson

DISCUSS All things “American Idol” with TV insiders in our notorious forums

A week ahead of the official reveal, the top 20 of the current season of American Idol has reportedly been uncovered via a leaked photo, reports Good Housekeeping.

Apparently, American Idol blog The Idol Pad posted what they are claiming to be a photo of the top 20 contestants from this season on Twitter.

There is also corroborating evidence from a source that was posted on YouTube. It appeared to be a behind-the-scenes video from Hawaii, where host Ryan Seacrest stated, “20 is official. One of these faces is the next American Idol.” The alleged contestants then ran into the water.

One of American Idol’s promo photos for the season is also of the top 20 running into the ocean. The picture can be found on the show’s official Twitter account.

— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) January 30, 2019

According to The Idol Pad, these are the contestants in the leaked photo:

  • Alyssa Raghunandan
  • Ashley Hess
  • Cristina Contreras
  • Evelyn Cormier
  • Kate Barnette
  • Laci Booth
  • Madison VanDenburg
  • Raquel Trinidad
  • Riley Thompson
  • Alejandro Aranda
  • Dimitrius Graham
  • Eddie Island
  • Jeremiah Harmon
  • Laine Hardy
  • Logan Johnson
  • Ryan Hammond
  • Shawn Robinson
  • Uché Ndubizu
  • Wade Cota
  • Walker Burroughs

If the information is correct, this year’s top 20 includes Alyssa Raghunandan, a contestant from last year who originally made it all the way to the top 24 before being sent home.

Another notable name on the list is 90 Day Fiance’s Evelyn Cormier, whom Katy Perry excitedly dubbed “favorite voice ever” and said was “one of my favorite voices I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Cormier has made headlines for her past involvement in the TLC reality show, where she appeared in the fifth season with her husband David Vázquez Zermeño.

In Touch Weekly reported that the two came under fire from a 2016 Instagram post wherein some believed indicated that the couple had met way before filming of the show. Rumors also spread of proof that the two’s courtship could be traced back to 2014 when Cormier 15-years-old. However, there is currently no evidence of this on either individual’s account.

After her segment on the show aired, Cormier’s husband posted the clip on Instagram and wrote, “So proud of my wife @evelyncormier. She is going to Hollywood!”

None of the contestant information has been confirmed by ABC or those involved with the show. American Idol is currently set to reveal their top 20 on an episode scheduled for April 1.

#idolspoilers 1st Group Photo Of American Idol Season 17 Top 20

— TIP | Idol Spoilers (@idolspoilers) February 1, 2019