Hi, ho(es)! American Idol‘s Top 10 borrowed from the Disney song book on Sunday for a (mostly) magical night that sent a pair of singers home.
First things first: Can Rebel Wilson guest mentor every week? The contestants may not have taken all of her suggestions to heart, but she made the episode 10 times more entertaining than it would have been otherwise. I also loved Lea Michele’s performance of “Part of Your World,” though I will never — for as long as I live! — understand why Idol decided to turn it into a group number.
Sunday’s episode also treated us to the world’s first (and hopefully last) country version of Aladdin‘s “A Whole New World,” courtesy of last year’s winner and her boyfriend.
But before we get to the results, let’s break down each of this week’s performances:
UCHE (“I2I” from A Goofy Movie) | I was super excited when I saw that Uche chose to sing this underrated jam, but it didn’t occur to me until tonight that most people — including the befuddled judges — aren’t very familiar with it, which came up multiple times throughout the critique. “I thought you had a little more voice,” Perry told him, desperate to remain in character as Ursula, even at the risk of making absolutely no sense. The judges weren’t crazy about this one, but I thought it was just Uche at his most Uche. Grade: B-
LACI KAYE BOOTH (“I See the Light” from Tangled) | First things first: The superimposed flying lanterns? Awful. Way too many. Never again. As for the performance itself, maybe it’s because I’ve come to expect a lot from Booth, but this was a huge disappointment, from its shaky start to its just-fine finish. I’m also not sure what Lionel Richie was smoking when he told her, “If ever there was a perfect song for you, that was it.” Grade: B- (Click here to watch!)
ALEJANDRO ARANDA (“Remember Me” from Coco) | This had the potential to be stunning, but he had to try and get all fancy with the arrangement — a risk I’m sad to say did not pay off. I still love Aranda, but I need to go back and rewatch some of his previous performances just to erase this one from my memory. Perry saying “No matter what happens, I will remember you” certainly didn’t make me feel any better. Grade: C
ALYSSA RAGHU (“Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas) | I know one thing for sure: the bobcat is grinning after of this performance. Raghu was smart to keep it simple, and while I didn’t love some of her changes (“blue corn moon” was a mess), I feel like this was a decent performance overall. Grade: B+ (Click here to watch!)
WADE COTA (“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story) | Was there any universe in which this wasn’t going to be a slam dunk? It may not have been the most exciting performance of the night, but Cota’s signature growl fit perfectly with this Randy Newman classic, and it allowed his personality to shine. Extra points for having “Andy” on the bottom of his shoe! Grade: A-
DIMITRIUS GRAHAM (“You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan) | Backed by what appeared to be graphics from a scrapped Avatar sequel, Graham proved that Luke Bryan saved the right singer last week. Not every note was perfect (despite Bryan’s claim to the contrary), but this was the first genuinely powerful performance of the night. By staying faithful to the song, Graham let it speak for itself, giving us “just enough.” Grade: A- (Click here to watch!)
WALKER BURROUGHS (“When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2) | Remember when Burroughs was like, “I’m not going to play piano,” and then immediately sat down and played piano? I happen to think he’s at his best when he’s tickling the ivories, so I was pleased by his last-minute change of heart. The performance itself was… fine, I guess, but it could have benefitted from even a small amount of energy. Richie saying this was “close to a perfect performance” once again begs the question: What was he smoking tonight? Grade: B (Click here to watch!)
MADISON VANDENBURG (“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana) | This ballad may not have served Myra Tran well earlier this season, but it fit VanDenburg’s voice like a glove. Notes on notes on notes! And what a big, brilliant way to end it. It was so good, I’m almost willing to forgive her for encouraging the swaybots. (…Almost.) Grade: A
LAINE HARDY (from Robin Hood) | My biggest complaint about Hardy has been his lack of excitement, and despite Wilson practically begging him to emote, he gave us the same exact thing he’s been giving us all season. And last season. “You have found your wheelhouse,” Richie told Hardy after this performance — as if this was news — to which Perry added, “Remember when I said you could win this time? Don’t not believe that.” That’s $25 million worth of criticism right there, folks. Grade: B- (Click here to watch!)
JEREMIAH LLOYD HARMON (“Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon) | Of all the songs performed tonight, I was least familiar with this delightful ballad. It didn’t leave my jaw on the floor, as several of Harmon’s performance have so far, but I enjoyed it. Frankly, I’m just glad that they didn’t make Harmon’s entire segment about his sad family backstory for once. Grade: B
OK, results time! After the nationwide vote, Laine Hardy, Madison VanDenburg, Alejandro Aranda, Walker Burroughs, Laci Kaye Booth, Wade Cota, Alyssa Raghu and Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon were declared safe. This left Uche and Dimitrius Graham on the chopping block, and with seconds left in the broadcast, the judges opted not to save either of them.
And unlike the old Idol days, neither Uche nor Graham got a chance to sing goodbye to the audience after watching a recap of their respective journey. In fact, we barely had time to process their eliminations before the screen cut to black.
Vote for your favorites below, then drop a comment with your thoughts on tonight’s eliminations. Should Uche and Dimitrius Graham have gone home?