Monday night brought us American Idol’s first live results show of the season, and revealed the show’s top 10 — seven of whom were voted in by America, and three were chosen by the judges. The most dramatic moment of the show came when, in an emotional moment, Lionel Richie unexpectedly revealed his pick: Uché.
Ryan Seacrest called the contestants up one by one and told them whether or not America had voted them into the Victory Zone — the top 10 — or the Danger Zone. Those in the Victory Zone sang “victory songs,” while those in the Danger Zone sang for their lives, hoping to convince the judges to choose them.
The seven contestants America chose were, in the order they were revealed: Madison VanDenburg, Walker Burroughs, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Wade Cota, Laci Kaye Booth, Laine Hardy, and Alejandro Aranda.
That left Uché, Alyssa Raghu, Dimitrius Graham, Ashley Hess, Riley Thompson, Eddie Island and Evelyn Cormier in the Danger Zone, praying that they’d convinced the judges to give them another chance and allow them to join the top 10.
Uché was the last to perform, belting out “Diamonds,” by Rihanna. When Ryan asked Lionel what he thought of the performance, Lionel got up, walked onstage, embraced an emotional Uché and declared, “We are not in the singing business! We are in the entertainment business!…A lot of people can sing but very few can sing and perform. You are an entertainer, and where an entertainer belongs is…follow me, young man!”
Lionel then took Uché by the hand and led him over to the Victory Zone, as the crowd went wild. “He’s taking him to the top 10!” yelled Ryan, as Katy Perry and Luke Bryan looked shocked.
Following that moment, Luke and Katy’s picks were somewhat less dramatic. Luke said he chose Dimitrius — who sang “when the party’s over” by Billie Eilish — purely based on “the emotion” Luke he said he felt hearing him perform.
As for Katy, she chose Alyssa Raghu, who, coincidentally, sang Katy’s own hit “The One that Got Away.”
So why did Luke save Dimitrius instead of 16-year-old country singer Riley Thompson? Backstage, Luke told ABC Radio, “I can’t imagine getting told America didn’t vote you in, and then having to win my spot. And the person I voted for did that very thing. And I just got wrapped up in the emotion of it. I am so happy with my judgment on that.”
As for how many of the judges picks will survive — remember that last season, they were voted right back out by America — Katy Perry doesn’t think that’ll happen again. She told ABC Radio backstage after Monday night’s show she thinks this season, the judges’ votes are in line with America’s. But Katy confess that if that starts to change, “I’m not gonna take my wig off and throw it across the hall until about the fourth contestant. The fifth, fourth contestant is when wigs start flying.”
Here are the songs the top 10 performed:
Alejandro Aranda — Original song, “Cholo Love”
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon — Original song, “Almost Heaven”
Walker Burroughs — “Lovebug,” by Jonas Brothers
Laine Hardy — “Hurricane,” by The Band of Heathens
Uché — “Diamonds,” by Rihanna
Laci Kaye Booth — “As Long as You Follow,” by Fleetwood Mac
Wade Cota — “Simple Man”, by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Dimitrius Graham — “when the party’s over,” by Billie Eilish
Alyssa Raghu — “The One That Got Away,” by Katy Perry
Madison VanDenburg — “You and I,” by Lady Gaga
American Idol continues Sunday night at 8 p.m ET/PT on ABC.
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