“American Idol” contestants left it all on the stage this week — but less than half of them can move on to the next phase of the competition.
Sunday’s episode of “Idol” saw the start of the brand-new showstopper round, in which the remaining 64 contestants gave their final performances to prove to judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie they belong in the top 24 to sing for America’s vote.
Richie watched the performances remotely while quarantining at home after potential exposure to COVID-19.
“It’s really about show-stopping yourself as well,” Everhart said, before taking the stage. “You gotta be the show to make the show.”
Stepping outside of her country wheelhouse, the teen, who hails from the small town of Canton, Mississippi, sang Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” She said it was her first time performing with a band backing her.
After the performance, Bryan confessed to Perry he didn’t know if Everhart was “all the way there.” Before giving Everhart the verdict, Perry told her “sister from another mister” that she saw a lot of herself in the teen.
“You’re only 17,” said the judge. “I was 17 once. And I had a fire in my eyes, which you do. And I have a sass about me, which you do. And at 17, I didn’t do the work. So what I wish for you in the future is for you to do the work.”
And Everhart will have another chance to show her work to Perry, who promised the teen a spot in the top 24 in exchange for some ribs.
The news clearly excited Everhart, who celebrated by leaping into a pool while still in her full-denim outfit.
Murphy, a contestant who stood out for his folksy voice and quirky personality, wasn’t as lucky. During the episode, Murphy revealed that his eyes suffer from a form of degeneration, which makes it difficult for him to look out at the audience under the bright lights of the “Idol” stage. This condition will also cause him lose his vision by his mid-30s, he said.
After the musician’s performance of an original song about self-love, titled “Am I Still Mine?,” the judges were clearly impressed. But they only have so many spots available for the next phase of the competition.
“What you’ve shown us is beautiful, and something you need to explore more of,” Perry told Murphy, whose meeting with them fell on his birthday. “We don’t want to clip your wings. But we know that we have to sometimes deliver unfortunate news. Murphy, we are sorry that we can’t take you forward. I think you have something really special and you should really believe in that.”
Despite the disappointing decision, the musician remained grateful and inspired.
“I feel driven, just as I had when I walked through that door for the first time, because, at the end of the day, I’m going to achieve my goal,” he told the cameras. “And it’s my birthday! I’m happy. I’m here. I’m alive, and I’m well. What ‘no’ can ruin that?”
Other contestants who made the top 24 Sunday night were Alyssa Wray, Jason Warrior, Andrea Valles, Chayce Beckham, Caleb Kennedy, Wyatt Pike, Cassandra Coleman, Beane and Graham Defranco.
Casey Bishop, Alanis Sophia and other early audition standouts learn their fates Monday (8 EST/PST), when the showstopper round continues.
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