The judges are tasked with narrowing down 40 contestants to 20 on the March 31 episode of American Idol! The cuts — otherwise known as the ‘final judgment’ — come after the Top 40 hits the stage in Hawaii for the Showcase Round, where they perform solos in front of a live audience, with hopes of impressing Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie enough to move on. Alyssa Raghu sings ‘Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor, and is first to approach the judges for her final judgment. The trio are impressed by her new dance moves and how far she’s come since auditioning for season 16. Her hard work to improve proves to pay off, and Alyssa is the first confirmed to move onto the Top 20!
Madison Vandenburg and Myra Tran, who have similar, powerful voices, are next to learn their fate. Madison performs “Who’s Lovin’ You” by The Jackson 5 and gets a standing ovation from the judges. Meanwhile, Myra belts out “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, and Katy admits it’s a bit “all over the place,” even though the audience goes wild. Madison nabs a spot in the Top 20, but Myra is brought to tears after learning she will not be moving on.
Next up is Logan Johnson, who wows the crowd with a unique performance of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” half of which he sings in Spanish. The judges are equally as impressed as the audience, and give Logan a spot in the Top 20. Nate Walker has a lot to prove in Hawaii after losing his voice during Hollywood Week, and he takes a huge risk by singing one of Lionel’s own songs, “Still,” for his Showcase Round performance. He gets a standing ovation, but with SO much talent in the competition, it’s just not enough to earn Nate a spot in the Top 20.
Dimitrius Graham gives an incredible performance of Sam Smith’s “Latch” for his Showcase Round, and the judges go absolutely wild. It’s no surprise when he’s revealed to be moving onto the Top 20! Next, Ashley Hess sings “Gone Away” by H.E.R., and admits to the judges that she doesn’t feel super comfortable on a big stage. Still, her talent is enough to land her a spot in the next round of the competition. Up next is Drake McCain, who sings “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5. The judges are impressed by his interaction with the audience, but find that he struggled to hit some of his notes. Unfortunately, the performance just isn’t enough to help him move onto the Top 20.
The next performer is Kai The Singer. She sings “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara, and the judges are admittedly concerned about parts of the performance. They find she just needs a bit more experience, and don’t offer her a spot in the Top 20. Up next is Laci Kaye Booth, who gives a gorgeous performance of “Georgia On My Mind.” The judge find Laci to be an absolute star, and she’s selected to move onto the Top 20.
Nick Townsend is next to learn his fate. He performs “Hold Back The River” by James Bay, and the judges let him know that it wasn’t his “biggest and best “performance of the competition. With so few spots left, Nick simply didn’t impress Katy, Lionel and Luke enough to move on. Some other fan favorites also get the boot during final judgment — Clay Page, Kason Lester and Johanna Jones are all eliminated, as well.
Next, Walker Burroughs performs “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds Of Summer. He admits that it’s not his best performance, and the judges let him know he has some work to do on his live show. However, they’re still beyond impressed by his talent, and give him a spot in the Top 20. Ryan Hammond approaches his final judgment next. He sings “A Song For You” by Donny Hathaway, and earns his place in the Top 20.
The next two singers are Kate Barnette and Evelyn Cormier, who sing “Royals” and “No Roots,” respectively. Both ladies impress the judges with their performances, and they each get the exciting news that they’re in the Top 20. Emma Kleinberg performs “Is This Love” by Bob Marley next. The judges are excited by her voice, but admit she doesn’t have enough stage presence to move her onto the next round.
Up next is Uche, who sings “Play That Funky Music” and brings the judges to their feet with his high-energy performance. They love it so much, and unsurprisingly, they choose Uche for the Top 20. The next performer is Alejandro Aranda, with a rendition of “Yellow” by Coldplay, and just as he’s done all season long, he totally wows the judges to earn his spot in the Top 20.
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon is next to learn his fate after a performance of “Landslide.” The judges praise his “bold” choice to perform without an instrument for the first time, and they give him a place in the Top 20 for his impressive performance. Next, Shayy sings “All I Ask” by Adele, and although the performance is beyond inspirational, the judges admit the timing just isn’t right for her to make the Top 20 right now. Mica Giaconi, Payton Taylor and Idalis also all get the news that they will not be moving on.
The show’s youngest competitor, Riley Thompson, is up next with a rendition of “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert. Her powerful performance earns her a place in the Top 20. Next, Raquel Trinidad performs “Rich Girl,” while Shawn Robinson sings “Rock With You” and Bumbly sings “Baby.” All three are in the Top 20! Three spots are left, and hoping to earn one of them is Wade Cota. He sings “Work Song,” and the judges are blown away by his unique voice, which is just what he needs to get him into the Top 20. Wade is moving on.
With just four people left, and only two spots, Margie Mays and Eddie Island are asked to see the judges together. Margie sings “All About That Bass” for her Showcase performance, and knows it wasn’t the best she could do vocally. Meanwhile, Eddie performs “Don’t You Worry Child.” The judges tell both singers that, while they had high-energy performances, they didn’t showcase their ‘serious’ vocals enough. For Eddie, it was still enough to move on to the Top 20, but Margie is heading home.
Vying for the final spot are Laine Hardy and Tyler Mitchell, who are asked to see the judges together. Laine got cut at this point in the competition last season, so a lot is riding on this for him. Tyler performs “Suitcase by Steve Moakler, while Laine shows off a major style makeover to sing “Come Together” by The Beatles. Of course, only one can move on, and the judges choose Laine!