American Idol‘s Final Five is now set.
On Sunday night’s show, the remaining six contestants performed two songs each: one that was performed at the 1969 music festival Woodstock, which is marking its 50th anniversary this year, and one “showstopper.” At the end of the night, America voted four contestants through: Laine Hardy, Madison VanDenburg, Wade Cota and Alejandro Aranda.
Of those four, both Madison and Alejandro were singled out by Katy with explicit talk of them taking home the crown. Katy told Madison flat-out, “I don’t want you to be second, I want you to win this thing,” and remarked to Alejandro, “How wonderfully interesting will it be when you change American Idol by winning American Idol?”
After the four were announced, Laci Kaye Booth and Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon were set to go home, until Ryan Seacrest asked judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan if they wanted to use their one save of the season. Since Sunday was the last night they were allowed to use it, it was no surprise they chose to do so.
It was a bit surprising, though, that the judges chose to save Laci over Jeremiah, whose performances have been consistently excellent. Even Laci looked utterly shocked at their decision. However, adding Laci gives America a second female in the top five, as well as the only contestant who could conceivably have a country career.
Speaking of contestants with country careers, last season’s third-place finisher, Gabby Barrett, returned to the show to perform her single, “I Hope,” and talk about her new record deal with Warner Bros. Nashville.
After Gabby sang, Katy ran onstage and pointed to Gabby’s engagement ring, and they both screamed and jumped up and down over their impending marriages. As you may know, Gabby is engaged to Cade Foehner, the long-haired, guitar-playing contestant from last year.
This week’s mentor for the “Showstoppers” portion of the evening was Grammy-winning “You Say” singer Lauren Daigle, who tried out for American Idol in both 2011 and 2012. She made it as far as the Hollywood Round on her second try but was cut in the first Las Vegas round. She gave precise, actionable and, at times, extremely technical advice to all the contestants.
Here’s who sang what Sunday night:
Madison VanDenburg — “Piece of My Heart,” as performed by Janis Joplin at Woodstock
Laine Hardy — “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Ray Charles, as performed by Joe Cocker at Woodstock
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon — “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” as performed by Joan Baez at Woodstock
Laci Kaye Booth — “To Love Somebody” by the Bee Gees, as performed by Janis Joplin at Woodstock
Alejandro Aranda — “White Rabbit,” as performed by Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock
Wade Cota — “With a Little Help from My Friends” by the Beatles, as performed by Joe Cocker at Woodstock
Madison VanDenburg — “I Surrender,” by Celine Dion
Alejandro Aranda — “Poison” (original song)
Laci Kaye Booth — “Open Arms,” by Journey
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon — “Somewhere,” from West Side Story
Wade Cota — “Through the Valley,” by Shawn James
Laine Hardy — “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry
American Idol returns live Sunday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.
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