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American Idol Sarah Beth
Courtesy of ABC

Despite a strong showing during Hollywood Week, one of this season’s most talked-about contestants chose to end their American Idol journey on Sunday.

American Idol Auditions Best Of Season 21
American Idol Season 21: Watch Best Auditions Ahead of Hollywood Week

Following a solid performance of The Police’s “Roxanne,” complete with confidence pointers courtesy of Clay Aiken, 25-year-old Sarah Beth stunned the auditorium with a shocking announcement.

“This opportunity is really rad, but this is actually going to be my last performance,” the young mother of three said. “My heart’s at home, so I’m going to get home to my babies. Thank you.”

Katy Perry tried her best to keep Beth in the game, insisting that “self-love is just as important as motherly love,” but Beth could not be swayed. “I’m really humbled and grateful, and Katy had some really nice things to say,” she said. “I understand how big an opportunity this is. Still, I kind of want to go home.”

Just like that, Beth brought her own Idol journey to an end — but we’d be lying if we pretended like this was the first sign of friction between her and Perry. Shortly after Beth’s initial audition aired on ABC, she posted an emotional TikTok about feeling like Perry “mom-shamed” her.

During the audition, Perry joked about needing to lie down on the table after hearing that someone as young as Beth already had three children. “If Katy lays on the table, I think I’m gonna pass out,” she said, to which Perry replied, “Honey, you’ve been laying on the table too much.”

This did not sit well with Beth, who said Perry’s joke “wasn’t super kind.” She called the televised ordeal “embarrassing” and “hurtful,” concluding that women should always support one another. “It’s hard enough to be a mom and it’s hard enough to be a woman.”

American Idol Hollywood WeekOK, now let’s talk about the singers we will be seeing next week, many of whom received game-changing pointers from several Idol alumni. There’s Nutsa, who worked with Justin Guarini on focusing her energy into a refined performance of the classic balled “I Surrender”; Colin Stough, whose take on Whiskey Meyers’ “Stone” had all the grit and gravel we expected; and Zachariah Smith, who was dubbed “kooky” (in a good way!) after his performance of Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice.”

Also moving through to the Duets Round are Mary Beth Byrd, who brought big emotions to Zach Bryan’s “Something in the Orange”; Hannah Nicolaisen, who charmed the judges with a beautiful, understated original song; Wé Ani, who had the entire auditorium singing her lyrics by the time she was finished; and Olivia Soli, who simply did the damn thing with Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know.”

American Idol Hollywood WeekOther yeses included Malik Heard, who impressed the judges with his renewed confidence; Kaeyra, who earned a standing ovation with Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”; Paige Anne, whose talents far exceed her 16 years; Oliver Steele, who brought his natural country groove to Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos”; and good ol’ Fire, who gave the judges more than they were expecting via Lauren Daigle’s “You say.”

Mariah Faith is also going through, along with Trey Louis, whose days as a mattress salesman are definitely numbered; Emma Busse, who managed to shake off her theatrical instincts; Megan Danielle, whose emotions nearly kept her from finishing; and Dawson Wayne, a “real, live artist” who hypnotized the judges with a thoughtful original song.

Now for a few exceptional stand-outs, beginning with Haven Madison, who became a frontrunner this week with a powerful original song she wrote when her brother was wrestling with suicidal thoughts. Watch and weep:

Lucy Love also brought the house down, channeling the pain from her dissolving marriage into a “spectacular” performance of “Make You Feel My Love.” Watch:

Then there was Kya Monee‘, who did Willie Spence proud with a bombastic performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the musical Dreamgirls that got everyone on their feet. Video of that will be added when it becomes available.

Lastly, Iam Tongi — dressed to chill in his signature flip-flops and baseball hat — delivered a “perfect” rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Watch:

But it wasn’t good news for everyone this week. During the two-hour Hollywood Week kickoff, we said goodbye to familiar faces like Lyric Medeiros, who deserves kudos for performing a song from SmashMcKayla Stacey, the much-hyped Idol baby; poor Brayden Phillips, who was too nervous to even remember his category; Ophrah Kablan, one of my personal favorites from the auditions; and several others, including Ashley Tankard, Kamron Lawson, Danny Epp, Owen Eckhardt and Keelin.

What did you think of Idol‘s kick off to Hollywood Week? Were you shocked by Sarah Beth’s sudden departure? Were any of your favorites wrongly eliminated? Drop a comment with your full review of the episode below.

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