‘American Idol’ is back for a live night full of magical music as the Top 7 compete with songs from the legendary Prince and tracks that came out in their birth years. Check out our recap of the exciting episode here!
American Idol is all set to make another night of music memories as the remaining seven contestants compete to try and make their way into the Top 5 by episode’s end. With this episode’s theme being Prince songs and birth year songs (the contestants will sing two songs each), it’s sure to feature an eclectic set of selections from the talented hopefuls. Let’s follow along with host Ryan Seacrest and entertaining judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan as we witness more thrilling performances during our recap here!
Tonight the contestants are coached by none other than Nick Jonas and they’re ready to show us what they’ve learned. The night starts with a look back at Prince’s amazing career as the hopefuls get ready to sing some of his biggest hits. Jurnee kicks things off with the very popular song “Kiss” and she’s definitely working it! Her vocals sound so smooth as she sings and struts her stuff on stage in purple (Prince’s iconic color) thigh-high boots. Drummer Sheila E, who regularly performed with Prince, is helping everyone out with their Prince songs tonight and she’s killing it in the Jurnee performance. After the memorable moment, Katy says she likes how Jurnee moved around during the song and Luke likes the song choice.
Gabby Barrett is next and she’s the first up for a birth year song. She was born in 2000 and sings “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack, which was a big hit that year. She belts out the lyrics with confidence and a lot of emotion. Katy tells her she previously thought she’s seen a few Gabbys but tonight she realizes there’s only one Gabby. Lionel tells her there was nothing wrong with her performance and thinks she’s fantastic.
Michael J. Woodard brings us back to Prince’s music next and sings “I Would Die 4 U” with a lot of enthusiasm and strong vocals. The judges give him a standing ovation. Luke tells him they see him growing and advises him not to be scared to dance and cut loose. Lionel thinks he owned the song and tells him the sky’s the limit if he works on relaxing. Katy thinks the lyrics explained his story and she tells him she’s living for him.
Cade Foehner is the oldest remaining contestant born in 1996 and he sings Jewel‘s “Who Will Save Your Soul” for his birth year song. He puts a totally different spin on the classic tune and makes it all his own with a true rock sound. Lionel tells him he keeps pushing the envelope with every performance and he’s very proud of him for his rendition of the song. Katy jokes that she thinks her mom, who is in the audience, is on her phone voting for him because she’s obsessed with him. Luke lets him know he always finds his zone even if the songs he sings are out of his wheelhouse.
Catie Turner has a serious fan girl moment when she meets Nick for her coaching but she somehow manages to get through the session. She then takes the stage to sing her birth year song: “Oops!… I Did It Again” by Britney Spears from 2000. Her performance is full of spunk and has a jazzy vibe that reflects her huge addicting personality. Katy compares her vocals to Amy Winehouse and Luke tells her to make sure she tells herself that she’s a star. Lionel advises her that although she believes she’s not yet all the way there, she needs to start believing that she has what it takes because she totally made Britney’s song her own.
Caleb Lee Hutchinson, who was born in 1999, is next. After Nick teaches him how to do a natural stage walk, he is ready to perform. He sings “Amazed” by Lonestar and has powerful vocals and a sweet smile Luke commends him for admitting he hasn’t been comfortable on stage while Lionel teases him about the girls screaming while he’s on stage. He tells him to not think about what he’s doing and just be natural. Katy loves the song and admires how he can still perform after initially “flopping around” and being nervous.
Maddie Poppie takes the stage for the Prince theme next. She sings “Nothing Compares to You” by Sinead O’ Connor, which was written by Prince, while playing piano. Her crooning vocals and strong stage presence helps her set a true mesmerizing vibe. Katy tells her that even if she doesn’t win the competition she’s still going to her concert and Luke is speechless but gives his best country encouragement by telling her she did good.
Michael is back with his birth year song this time. He takes on the hugely popular “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion from 1997. His intense vocal range and heartfelt demeanor helps him to stand out and sing from somewhere deep inside. Katy compares his talent to former American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson and thinks he could win an Oscar or Grammy. Luke tells him he has a way of making sure no one can look away when he’s on stage and Lionel agrees while telling him to know how good he really is.
Ryan breaks the news that all seven contestants will be hitting the road on the American Idol tour when the show is done. After enthusiastic celebratory hugs, Cade goes out on stage to sing his Prince song, “Jungle Love” and absolutely kills it. He looks comfortable throughout the performance and sets his mark while playing electric guitar. Luke tells him he made the song his own and they’re there to find people like him. Lionel agrees and Katy can’t help but fan herself as she jokes she doesn’t know what’s come over her since she could be his babysitter.
Gabby takes on Prince next with “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” and totally owns the stage. Her sultry style and strong vocal range helps her completely blow the judges away. Lionel tells her that was complete ownership and Katy thinks she’s the most ready to go on tour. Luke thinks it was a mic drop moment and congratulates her on being a big star.
Jurnee was born in 1999 and she chooses to sing her parents’ wedding song “Back At One” by Brian McKnight. Her rendition of the ballad gives off a dreamlike feel and she stretches her vocals with passion and power. Katy thinks it was really cool and although Jurnee’s version of the song wasn’t her favorite she knows she has the ability to give people a lot of feeling when she sings. Lionel admires how calm she was throughout the song and tells her she already won because she’s going on tour.
Catie is back with the Prince-written song, “Manic Monday” by The Bangles. She has a rough start when she forgets the lyrics but quickly picks back up after a little laugh at herself. With a colorful stage and a lot of energy she looks like she’s having fun and gives it her best. Luke tells her that she has yet to make any kind of mess up in the competition so the little glitch she had tonight is okay. After Catie comments that it’s just not her night, Katy quickly corrects her and says it is her night. Lionel tells her the music industry is not perfect and when that kind of stuff happens, it’s all about recovery which she did a fantastic job at.
Maddie is ready for her birth year song, “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow from 1997. She takes the stage with a smile and gives it her all while playing an electric guitar. There’s a lot of feeling in her voice and a lot of passion. Lionel tells her she can be anybody right now and reminds her no matter what happens in the competition she has a future in the business. Katy tells her she holds her own every time she picks up an instrument and Luke expresses that she’s come a long way.
Caleb gets to sing the last song of the night and it’s Prince’s memorable, “When Doves Cry”. His haunting rendition includes his guitar playing and has a lot of soul along with his recognizable twang. He finishes strong. Katy is so proud of him and thinks it was a great rendition. Luke agrees and Lionel mirrors Katy’s sentiment by also saying he’s proud of him.
It’s time to count the votes and pick the Top 5, who will go onto Nashville and work with American Idol alum and country superstar Carrie Underwood. And, the top 5 are… Caleb, Maddie, Cade, Gabby and Michael J! That means that Catie and Jurnee sadly have to go home. What an incredible night with amazing performers!