Sixty-four singers remained atop American Idol‘s Showtopper round on Sunday, but only 10 were fortunate enough to be sent through to the Top 24 by the end of the night.
So let’s break down which singers are still in the game, and which have reached the end of their Idol journeys. (Spoiler alert: We did not agree with all of the judges’ decisions this week.)
* Alyssa Wray, 18, sailed through with a glorious performance of “I’m Here” from Broadway’s Color Purple musical. Smooth low notes built to a dramatic climax, never once sacrificing an ounce of emotion behind the lyrics. She gave us a full story with this one. As someone who has consumed every conceivable performance of this song on YouTube, I was especially excited for that final “And! I’m! HeeeeEeEeEere!” Did she deliver? Yes! She! DiiiiIiiIiIiid!
* Jason Warrior, 25, vowed, “I’m not going to stop until I have no more breath in my body.” And he lived up to that promise with his performance of Imagine Dragons’ “Believer,” which ended with him on the floor of the stage. I was worried that the Colorado native put a little too much power into his song, but the judges seemed to love his over-the-top approach.
* Andrea Valles, 23, definitely chose the wrong song in The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” but the judges saw enough potential in Valles to keep her around. That said, Lionel Richie couldn’t resits faking her out, saying, “We don’t think you’re ready… to go home!”
* Chayce Beckham, 24, just wanted to make his mom and stepdad proud with his take on Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave,” and I think it’s safe to say that he did. He’s got a sound and a vibe that you just can’t fake, even if he could stand to mix things up by stepping out of his comfort zone.
* Caleb Kennedy, 16, “barely” made it beyond the Duets round, so he was determined to kick things up a notch this time. The judges enjoyed his original song, “When You Leave Tonight,” but I’m not sure it was a “showstopping” performance.
* Wyatt Pike, 19, had Richie bouncing around in his seat from the moment he began delivering his take on George Ezra’s “Blame it on Me.” He clearly loves to perform, and his excitement is contagious. “He needs a little luck right now to take him over the edge,” Katy Perry said. Whatever that means.
* Hannah Everhart, 17, had never performed with a band before, so her entire delivery of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” felt like an out-of-body experience for her. She started off pitchy, but she pulled herself together with the chorus.
* Cassandra Coleman, 24, described Hollywood Week as “terrifying but inspirational,” and I was very worried about her when she admitted to feeling shaky during rehearsals. Fortunately, Coleman — whose voice Perry likened to Florence Welch — nailed Aurora’s “Running With the Wolves.” She was definitely nervous at times, but whenever she let go and loosened up, it was just terrific.
* Beane, 23, was told to sing with diamonds in his eyes, so he did the next best thing: he added more highlights under his eyes! He also crushed Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” which he delivered with soul, power and maybe just the right amount of lounge-singer cheesiness.
* Graham DeFranco, 27, had an early fan in Luke Bryan, who especially loved his voice on Kings of Leon’s “Beautiful War.” Bryan then delivered one of Idol’s worst fake-outs: “I do have to unfortunately tell you… you’re in our top 24,” he said before explaining, “The ‘unfortunately’ was designed to freak you out.”
The episode ended on a dramatic cliffhanger, with Alanis Sophia, 19, and Casey Bishop, 15, awaiting their results. Sophia had just performed Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited,” while Bishop served up The Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels.” My assumption is that both singers will make it through to the next round, but we’ll have to wait until Monday to know for sure.
Sunday’s episode also marked the end of the road for a few fan favorites, including Alex Miller, 17, who thought that his fresh take on Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings” would be modern enough to satisfy the judges (it wasn’t), and Amanda Mena, 18, who didn’t quite nail the high note on Celine Dion’s “All By Myself.”
That said, I didn’t agree with all of the judges’ calls on Sunday. I thought they were crazy for eliminating Anthony Guzman, 27, whose jazzy take on Maroon 5’s “This Love” was better than several of the nights’ “good” performances; and Murphy, 27, who simply deserves the world. From the moment he opened his mouth to sing “Am I Still Mine,” an original song about he wrote self-love, his talent was undeniable. There’s a magic to his voice, and I can’t believe the judges let him go this week.
Do you think Sophia and Bishop will end up making it to the Top 24? And how do you feel about some of those controversial cuts, like Guzman and Murphy? Drop a comment with your thoughts on Sunday’s Idol below.