It’s the final night of Hollywood Week on the March 23 episode of American Idol, and the singers are giving solo performances in hopes of making the top 40. However, they won’t find out their fate until after everyone sings. First up is Kimmy Gabriela, who makes a big song choice by performing “I’m Here” from The Color Purple. It brings Katy Perry to her feet. Genavieve Linkowski, who was on season 16 of the show and got cut at this point in the competition, is up next. She belts out a stunning rendition of “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes, and thoroughly impresses the judges.
The next singer is Jovin Webb, and he brings the crowd to their feet with an upbeat rendition of Chris Stapleton’s “Parachute.” It’s totally out of his wheelhouse, but he makes it his own, and proves he’s totally in his element onstage. Next, Perrin York sings “Good As Hell” by Lizzo, and even gets Katy to sing along, although she’s a bit overpowered by the band onstage. Faith Becnel belts out “Cry For Me Baby,” and Jeb Vonderbruegge performs Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” bringing the judges to their feet to applaud.
Arthur Gunn performs the same song he sang at his auditions, “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” However, he completely changes up the key, and it sounds very different and experimental. Unfortunately, the band can’t learn the song the way Arthur wants it in time, so he performs with just his guitar once again. The struggles pay off, as Arthur gets a standing ovation.
After the duets round, the judges warned the singers that singing originals are a big risk, but several of them still choose to do so during their solos. Robert Taylor, Amelia, Jimmy Levy and Julia Gargano all disappoint the judges with their original song choices. However, for Lauren Mascitti, the risk pays off, and the judges give her a standing ovation for her original song, “God Made A Woman,” which she dedicates to her grandmother.
Real-life roommates, Sophia Wackerman and Sarah Isen are both contestants on this season of American Idol, and although they made solo rounds, the judges were vocally disappointed in their duet on the March 22 episode. For her solo, Sophia sings “Somewhere” from West Side Story, and the judges are much happier with the performance. Meanwhile, Sarah sings “Light On” by Maggie Rogers, and it’s also a vast improvement.
Next, Kat Luna takes the stage. Her boyfriend, Alex Garrido, was eliminated during the duet round, so she’s emotional during this solo round performance. However, she delivers a stunning rendition of “Always Remember Us This Way” by Lady Gaga for the judges. Franklin Boone is next, and he sings “River” by Leon Bridges. The judges are definitely intrigued and impressed with his voice.
The next artist is Just Sam, who has a sore throat going into her solo performance. Still, she gives it her all while singing “I’m Here,” and the judges rise to their feet to applaud her. Marcus Tinsley doesn’t have such good luck, though. He has to start his performance over after forgetting the words, and then struggles through the next go, too. Other contestants, including Talin Everett, Nick Merico, and Ari Saage also don’t have their best performances, leaving the judges disappointed and frustrated.
Soon, they’re left extremely worried, though. Makayla Brownlee takes the stage, and immediately has to run off and be tended to by medics. Makayla has a heart condition that affects the way she reacts to stress, and it’s taken its toll. She has to be taken to be looked by doctors, so she cannot go through with her performance for now.
The show must go on, though, and Camryn Leigh Smith is up next. She wants to prove that she can do more than sing soft-spoken songs, so she belts out “Always Remember Us This Way,” and the judges love it. Devon Alexander also impresses Katy, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan with his performance, as does Lauren Spencer-Smith, who sings Brandi Carlile’s “The Joke.” Finally, Makayla Brownlee returns, and it’s quite a comeback, as she slays her rendition of “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves, bringing Katy to tears.
Dillon James, who was formerly homeless and addicted to drugs, is up next. He takes a risk by performing an original song, but the judges (and crowd) love it. While Dillon is thriving, Louis Knight finds himself struggling with the recent death of his best friend. However, he channels that emotion in his performance, and completely moves the judges.
Next, Cyniah Elise sings a stripped down version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” but she’s not the only one to choose this powerful song. Geena and Olivia Ximines also belt out the track, and while they’re all impressive, it definitely leaves the judges making some comparisons. Meanwhile, Makayla Phillips makes an unexpected song choice to highlight her versatility. She sings Lizzo’s “Cause I Love You,” but the judges agree that it was the “worst song” she’s picked so far.
Real-life couple, Johnny West and Margie Mays, are both in the solo round, but they have a lot to prove after their duet. Johnny sings an original song, while Margie performs “Lost Without You.” Margie feels a bit underwhelmed after her performance, and is worried about her fate.
Now, the judges must deliberate and make their final selections. The singers are divided into three groups. Some of the contestants in room one include Johnny West, Arthur Gunn, Sophia Wackerman, Franklin Boone, Makayla Phillips, Kimmy Gabriela, Cyniah Elise and Lauren Mascitti. Room two holds Margie Mays, Jimmy Levy, Kat Luna, Sarah Isen and Madison Paige, among others, while room three includes Louis Knight, Jovin Webb, Nick Morico and Just Sam.
Katy, Luke and Lionel visit room one first, and confirm that they’re all heading to Hawaii as part of the top 40. Unfortunately, the news isn’t as good for room two, as everyone in that group is eliminated. That means that room three is also moving on, and the top 40 is complete! The show continues with another new episode on March 29!