American Idol judges, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan are thrilled about how things went during the show’s virtual episode on April 26. During the episode, the top 20 contestants performed from their homes amidst the coronavirus pandemic, and the judges gave their critiques from their humble abodes. “All things considered, I would say, with the circumstances, I think we’re really proud of it,” Katy told HollywoodLife and other media outlets after the show. Lionel added, “I think they just did so well and staged their own show and pulled it off. Everybody was just on point tonight.”
Of course, there were aspects of the show the judges and viewers were missing with the at-home version. “I like to see the shaky hands, the sweaty palms, how you handle yourself, your stage presence,” Lionel admitted. “That’s one thing you can’t teach. You either have it or you don’t.” Of course, having a live audience is a big part of what gets these singers pumped up for their performances. “They don’t get the opportunity to play off an audience [this way],” Katy said. “They have to look into the lens of the camera as if it’s an excited audience. They don’t get to flex that muscle.”
The lack of an audience actually put more pressure on the singers in some aspects. “We’re really able to hear their vocal qualities [even more] this way,” Luke explained. “There’s not ambient room noise, fans screaming. [During live shows], if a kid walks out there, and really plays to the crowd and gets the girls screaming…we miss a lot of the nuances of their voice. If you’re not a strong of a singer, it allows me, Lionel and Katy to pick you apart more. You can really hear what they’re doing more than ever.”
Meanwhile, after the live performances, the judges agreed that Franklin Boone and Jonny West really stood out, both for their vocals and song choice (Franklin sang “Everybody Wants to Rule The World” and Jonny performed “What A Wonderful World.” Lionel also praised Louis Knight and Arthur Gunn for their performances. Now, America will have a chance to vote, and the top 10 contestants will be revealed during the show’s next episode on May 3.