Saturday, April 13

‘American Idol’: Judges Make Biggest Cut Yet During Hollywood Week (RECAP) | Entertainment

[Warning: The below contains spoilers for American Idol.]

Tensions and stakes ran high as the grueling “Hollywood Week” got underway on American Idol Sunday.

This time around finalists had to enter the “Idol Arena,” or as judge Lionel Richie calls it, the gladiator’s pit. The intimate setup had the 143 hopefuls sitting surrounding the stage where they could fully see, hear, and experience their competition. Judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel called each singer on the spot not knowing the order. They’d have one round and one shot to impress the judges. Host Ryan Seacrest pushed throughout the evening that this would be the biggest cut in Idol history with only 56 ultimately going through to the “Showstopper” round.

If this wasn’t enough, the hopefuls also had witnessed Platinum Ticket holders Julia Gagnon, Odell Bunton Jr., and Abi Carter perform and show why they got to skip to the first round. Talk about a mind you know what. They also had to wait until the very end to know their fate.  Who shined? Who got swallowed up and let the pressure get the best of them? Find out if some of your favorites survived another day.

Triston Harper

Disney/Eric McCandless

The McIntosh, Alabama 15-year-old was the first called upon. He exuded confidence as he performed “Wrapped Up In Jesus.” It was an original song inspired by a love story and someone from his church named Willie Mae, who is 86. Luke thought he did a great job. Verdict: Safe.


The 21-year-old from Franklin, Tennessee was no stranger to singing competitions as an America’s Got Talent alum. This worship leader and vocal coach sang “Help Me” by Cortt Chavis. Luke thought the passionate performance was even better than his audition. Verdict: Safe.

Hailey Mia


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 16-year-old from Clifton, New Jersey was considered Top 10 material during her Santa Barbara audition. She showed off her talents with “Love In The Dark” by Adele. Lionel felt she came out swinging. Verdict: Safe.

Emmy Russell


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 24-year-old from Nashville spoke about the pressures of being Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter and battling through an eating disorder at a young age. She decided once again on an original song, this time called  “Like That.” Katy complimented her songwriting ability but thought she left some of her range on the table. Verdict: Safe.

Jack Blocker 


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 25-year-old from Dallas said he would not take the judges’ advice to stop his over-the-top facial expressions. It was a risky move for the graphic designer, who performed “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams. The three judges gave him a standing ovation, though Katy had to close her eyes to listen. Luke told him to stay true to himself. Verdict: Safe.



Disney/Eric McCandless

The 23-year-old from Fort Lauderdale didn’t plan on auditioning for Idol as he accompanied hopeful Abby Blake. He impressed the judges and was sent to Hollywood. This had the songwriter and producer questioning if he even belonged. He turned those feelings of imposter syndrome into an original song called “What If?” The judges were wowed. Katy declared, “You’re not the accident. You’re the opportunity.” Verdict: Safe

Abby Blake


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 25-year-old bar singer from Nashville was intimidated by all the talent and now had to follow her friend. She sang “Vienna” by Billy Joel. Katy thought the nerves got the best of her vibrato but it was a step up from the audition. Verdict: Cut.

Jennifer Jeffries 


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 17-year-old from Starkville, Mississippi spoke about how music helped her through tough times and hoped to inspire others. She chose an original “You Were A Child” about her and her siblings’ struggle with mental health. “That’s the real stuff right there, boy,” Lionel said. Katy followed, “I don’t know if you’re going to win this thing, but you’re going to be a star.” Verdict: Safe.



Disney/Eric McCandless

The 28-year-old from Manhattan tore down the house with another big song “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. Luke called it pure tonal gold and laid in there like butter, Krispy Kreme donuts. Someone was hungry. Verdict: Safe.

Jacy & Mia Matthews 


Disney/Eric McCandless

The sisters from Centre, Alabama entered the lion’s den together. First was 17-year-old Jacy, who sang “Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)” by Patty Griffin. Luke thought it was much better than he remembered. Then 19-year-old Mia followed up with “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert. Lionel said she came in swinging. Verdict for Mia: Safe. Verdict for Jacy: Cut.


The 27-year-old from Montgomery, Alabama opened up about losing her dad and the impact it had. Music took her out of the dark place. She then gave a theatrical and fun rendition of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse. Katy could see a star. Verdict: Safe.

McKenna Faith Breinholt 


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 25-year-old from Gilbert, Arizona updated everyone since meeting her birth family after the initial audition. Their bond has only grown stronger. She performed “When We Were Young” by Adele. Luke called it one of his favorites he has seen all year. Verdict: Safe.


The 27-year-old Brooklyn, New Yorker was considered Top 10 material during his audition. He dedicated “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd to his mom. Lionel said he was the motivator. Verdict: Safe.

Madai Chakell


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 22-year-old content creator from Springfield, Massachusetts was looking to impress Luke today. She started on “Tattooed Heart” by Ariana Grande before stopping the music and requesting the musician take it from the top. After doing so, she had a diva moment, shut him down, and decided to perform a capella. Luke thought it was shaky in spots. Madai felt the pianist flipped the script, and it was not like they rehearsed. Madai was given another shot. This time she asked for a chair and sang with the pianist. “Maybe we’ll do ‘American Humble’ at some point,” Luke breathed. Verdict: Cut.

Camila Galavis 


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 14-year-old from Miami kept the train moving with “No Air” by Idol champ Jordin Sparks. Lionel noticed the daughter of The Bachelor star Juan Pablo Galavis carried weight on her shoulders and struggled a bit. Verdict: Cut.

Kaibrienne “KB” Richins 

The 20-year-old from Henefer, Utah decided to venture out of her comfort zone and performed “How Could You” by Jessie Murph. She said the song brought up different emotions, hinting at past childhood trauma in her life. The tears flowed not only from the KB but also from fellow hopefuls and judges. “I know where you were singing from. I’m very proud of what you’re doing,” Lionel said. Verdict: Safe.

Will Moseley 


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 23-year-old from Hazelhurst, Georgia was happy to play for Lionel this time when he didn’t have a flight to catch. He played “Whiskey and You” by Chris Stapleton. Katy was impressed and called him authentic country. She said, “I’m scared of you, and I like it.” Safe.

Kennedy Reid


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 23-year-old mortician from New Albany, Indiana could have woken the dead with her powerhouse performance of the traditional hymn “How Great Thou Art” Katy dubbed her a Cinderella story. “Did you know that was inside of you this whole time,?” Katy asked. Lionel added a Hallelujah. Verdict: Safe.



Disney/Eric McCandless

The colorful 23-year-old from the Netherlands almost didn’t make “Hollywood Week” due to visa issues. However, the Dutch Idol alum made a fashionably late entrance. He paid tribute to his dad on “All I Want” by Kodaline. Katy remarked how he started to break down others’ judgments and how they would relate to what he did. Verdict: Safe.

American Idol, Sundays and Mondays, 8/7c, ABC

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