‘American Idol’ Recap: Iam Tongi Wows During His Homecoming & Warren Peay Has A Breakout Moment

The top 26 head to Hawaii for the next phase of the competition. The first 13 performers bring their best to the stage, with some standing out more than others.

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The American Idol top 26 are taking over Hawaii! The contestants will perform in front of a live audience and the judges at Disney’s Aulani resort. The first 13 contestants are performing during the April 16 episode and will compete for America’s vote. They’ll be mentored by Allen Stone.

The first singer is Elise Kristine. She has a lot of fun with her rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” and shows off some amazing notes. “You killed it,” Lionel Richie tells her. Even though Elise says she was nervous beforehand, Katy Perry says that she “didn’t smell one ounce of fear on you.”

Elise Kristine
Elise Kristine during the top 26 performances. (ABC)

Oliver Steele is up next with his performance of Jack Johnson’s “Better Together.” His rendition is very cool and quintessentially Oliver. “It felt like you were your own artist,” Luke Bryan says. “It was just an awesome performance.” Lionel tells Oliver that he set himself apart from everyone else.

Matt Wilson sings to his beloved wife for his top 26 performance. He dazzles with his cover of Dan + Shay’s “Speechless.” His ending note is perfection. Luke calls Matt a “true talent,” and Lionel points out that Matt can really hold a crowd.

Kaeyra really showcases how great of a performer she can be with her rendition of En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go (Love).” She brings her A-game. “You took your voice and owned that song,” Lionel says. Katy thinks Kaeyra is the “whole package” as an artist.

PJAE stuns with a soulful performance of Jill Scott’s “Golden.” Katy says that PJAE “slayed” the performance. She commends him on his song choice and wants to see even more from him. “That was some pro movement right there,” Lionel tells PJAE.

Zachariah Smith since “Lucille” by Little Richard in honor of his grandmother, and he doesn’t hold back. He takes the crowd by storm. “I can’t take my eyes off ya,” Luke raves. Lionel tells Zachariah, “That was what we call show business.” Katy says the singer is “crazy talented.”

Warren Peay
Warren Peay during the top 26 performances. (ABC)

Mariah Faith shines with her rendition of Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave.” Lionel tells Mariah that her “rasp is your signature to your success story.” Katy believes that Mariah’s voice has its “own section” in the competition, and she thinks “that’s how you can win.”

Emma Busse wows with her gorgeous performance of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.” Katy calls her a pro, and Lionel is “so impressed” with her vocals. “You are very special,” he adds.

Warren Peay switches things up with his performance of “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele. He wants American to see a different side to him and puts his own country spin on the hit song. It’s truly a standout moment for Warren. “Your voice is very, very strong,” Lionel says. Katy appreciates Warren taking a risk with his “make it your own” moment.

Nailyah Serenity’s performance of “Loving You” by Minnie Riperton is fantastic. Her voice is out of this world. “It is impossible to improve on that song without going to the next level,” Lionel says. “You went to the next level.” Katy adds that Nailyah has an “Olympic voice.”

Haven Madison takes on “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey. Katy is loving Haven’s youthful vibe. “You’ve got such incredible style and such incredible talent,” Katy tells the young singer. Luke agrees with Katy and wants Haven to “embody” that youthfulness in the competition.

Iam Tongi
Iam Tongi during the top 26 performances. (ABC)

Lucy Love rocks out to “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” by Tina Turner on stage. As she’s done with every performance, Lucy leaves it all out on stage. “Nobody wants it more than you, and that’s how you have to approach success in this business,” Luke says. Katy advises Lucy to keep bringing that “electricity” every time.

The final performance of the night comes from Hawaii native Iam Tongi. The crowd loves his performance of “Don’t Let Go” by Spawnbreezie. “I think I had a spiritual experience,” Lionel says after the performance. Katy praises Iam for being authentic “through and through.” She adds, “You voice is vacation.” You got that right!