American Idol recap: Pat Benatar, Jason Mraz and more join our Idols on stage
Idol friends! Apologies for the tardiness of this recap, but since Sunday’s episode I’ve been reeling over just how insanely good Pat Benatar still sounds. The lady can rock. Sure, there are Idol contestants to talk about, but we’re really here for Pat.
Ten of our Top 20 will be taking the stage with an All-Star duet partner to see if they can hack it up there next to a professional. Then, at the end of the evening, our judges will be cutting three hopefuls from the group ahead of the live shows. Exciting, no? To the stage!
Walker Burroughs with Jason Mraz
“Have It All” by Jason Mraz
I mean, these two are just adorable huh? That handshake. The side-stepping. It’s all, as Luke calls it, “endearing.” Is this Walker’s most captivating performance? No, definitely not. But it does prove that he can hold his own against a professional. Also, his vocals sound great. Not the most memorable duet, but a duet well-done nonetheless.
Kate Barnette with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo
“Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar
Pat Freaking Benatar, people. It’s a huge ask to put someone up on stage with such a force, especially when Kate’s vibe is much more laid back coffeehouse than rocker badass. You pretty much know everything you need to by the fact that the judges’ critiques are more about how incredible Ms. Benatar is than anything having to do with Kate.
Riley Thompson with Brett Young
“Like I Loved You” by Brett Young
Riley is our youngest competitor this season, she’s only been singing for two years, has never done a duet, and these are the first harmonies she’s ever done. Despite all of that against her, Riley comes out and nails this. This duet is the first time I’ve ever really felt an emotional connection from Riley and it is an excellent development. She clearly earns her spot in the Top 14 with that one.
Uché with Shaggy
“I Need Your Love” by Shaggy
I’m very into the fact that the duet partners this year are offering such useful advice — they really seem invested in their contestants! Take Shaggy here, who sees Uché using his falsetto a bit too much as they rehearse this banger and suggests he use his full voice instead. The song calls for some power behind his voice. It’s a great note that makes a huge difference. I mean, it’s no fur-coat-singing-Wild-Cherry, but it is quintessential Uché.
Madison VanDenburg with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo
“We Belong” by Pat Benatar
Okay, now this is a much better pairing for Pat Benatar. Madison has true power behind her voice, so she can hang with the likes of this all-star. The judges continue to be impressed by Madison: “You don’t know how to hit a wrong note,” Luke tells her. But perhaps Katy’s critique is the one we all should take to heart: “Your voice is a Ferrari and you should never be scared to show off your Ferrari.” Remember that always, kids. We’re learning so much!
Shawn Robinson with Elle King
“Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Shawn has some issues from the start. He’s not thrilled with the song choice for his duet, since “Proud Mary” is a little more uptempo than his normal vibe. Then, during rehearsal, Elle King sees the arrangement isn’t working for Shawn, so they make the switch from the Tina Turner version to CCR’s slowed-down take on the song. All the changes and nerves get to Shawn and he comes in a bit too early during one section and throws it all off. Thankfully, his insane run at the end makes you almost forget the mishap. Almost!
Ashley Hess with Jason Mraz
“I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
Yes. Yes. I am into this pairing. Ashley makes a few adjustments to the song so that it works better with her on piano and Jason Mraz approves. As Katy points out, the changes make the song feel very fresh. Luke loved how comfortable the whole thing made him feel—as if Ashley and Jason have been singing together forever. Let’s be honest here: Has Ashley ever sounded bad?
Bumbly with Shaggy
“Angel” by Shaggy
Another nice match-up, Idol. Bumbly and Shaggy have great onstage chemistry, maybe more than any other duet this evening. That chemistry leads to a fun, infectious performance — and the judges want to see more performances just like that from Bumbly. Truly though, the standout moment of this whole experience is the not once but twice cutting to Lionel Richie going “She’s a Bumbly. She’s a Bumbly.” What a gift!
Laci Kaye Booth with Brett Young
“Mercy” by Brett Young
So, like, can these two record this song and release it as a duet? People would buy it. Laci is a little nervous to go out on stage without her guitar, but you wouldn’t know it from this performance. There’s so much connection to both the song and between Laci and Brett. Lionel tells her this one is “going to be big” for her. Katy lets her know she’s her favorite. Luke is blown away by the emotion. So, yeah, Laci’s safe from this cut.
Laine Hardy with Elle King
“The Weight” by The Band
Has there ever been so much grit coming from two voices on one stage in the history of the world? That’s not rhetorical—the answer is no. Laine’s extra-nervous because now that he’s here, he doesn’t want to leave. Like Katy says, he “had a taste” and he’s “not letting go.” Even Elle King is surprised by how much swagger he brings to the stage when the moment comes. Laine Hardy is a rockstar, you guys.
Okay, kids. Now comes the hard part. The judges must select three people from this group of ten to send packing. One has to wonder how much the specific group of ten has to do with who gets cut and who stays—but alas, some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved. From this group, the judges decide to crush the dreams of Shawn Robinson, Kate Barnette, and Bumbly. Bumbly hurts the most. But there’s no time to grieve, we have another group of ten All-Star duets to get through. See you there!