(HAWAII) — Sunday night, during a three-hour “Final Judgment” show recorded at Disney’s Aulani Hawaiian resort, ABC’s American Idol revealed its top 20 contestants, one of whom will be crowned the champion in May. Those contestants are:
Madison VanDenburg — Cohoes, NY
Shawn Robinson — Atlanta, GA
Eddie Island — Nashville, TN
Evelyn Cormier — Claremont, NH
Alyssa Raghu — Orlando, FL
Ryan Hammond — Modesto, CA
Raquel Trinidad — Tampa, FL
Logan Johnson — Boise, ID
Dimitrius Graham — Baltimore, MD
Riley Thompson — Mabank, TX
Walker Burroughs — Birmingham, AL
Bumbly — New York, NY
Ashley Hess — Fremont, CA
Alejandro Aranda — Pomona, CA
Laine Hardy — Livingston, LA
Kate Barnette — Kennesaw, GA
Uché — Sugar Land, TX
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon — Catonsville, MD
Laci Kaye Booth — Livingston, TX
Wade Cota — Phoenix, AZ
During Sunday’s show, we saw each contestant do their thing with a full band on a stage set up on the beach, in front of a live audience, as they performed one last time for the judges. Then, we saw them take the dreaded long walk to meet Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, who then pronounced their fate.
Several times, the judges’ attempts to fake the contestants out led to confusion — some honestly didn’t realize that they’d just been told that they were going through. Some simply couldn’t believe it: When Wade Cota got the news, he said, “That’s crazy! Why?”
One contestant, Dimitrius Graham, faked out Ryan and the other contestants by pretending he hadn’t made it through, and then revealed at the last minute that he had.
As usual, the show paired a few contestants who had similar vibes and delivered the news to them together. One such pairing was personality-plus contestants Margie Mays and Eddie Island — with Eddie getting the nod, and Margie, whom we learned has a degree from Stanford University to fall back on, being sent home.
The final pairing of the night was former contestant Laine Hardy, who was cut at the exact same point in the competition last year, and fellow Louisiana singer Tyler Mitchell. Laine blew the judges away with his beach performance by sporting a dapper suit and tie and rocking out on a version of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” “Am I allowed to have a crush on a contestant?” asked Katy, as her eyes popped out of her head.
Needless to say, Laine made it through, while Tyler was sent home. And Laine isn’t the only contestant from last year to get the nod: Alyssa Raghu is also in the top 20.
A few notable contestants who didn’t make it through: Blind singer Shayy; Johanna Jones, whose boyfriend proposed to her during Hollywood Week; Drake McCain, the kid with the red high-top fade and 10 brothers and sisters; Kai the Singer, whose church paid for her to go to Hollywood; Nick Townsend, who lost two brothers to suicide; and Vietnamese vocal powerhouse Myra Tran, who won X Factor Vietnam in 2016.
On Monday night’s show, the Top 20 will sing in front of a live audience at L.A.’s Wiltern Theater. Watch it at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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