American Idol recap: Two contestants are eliminated during 'Disney Night'
Ah, Disney Night on ABC’s American Idol, bless the synergy. Do they only do this so that Katy Perry can dress up as Disney characters (tonight she’s Ursula)? I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer is yes. Though maybe it’s to have special guests sing Disney classics like Lea Michele doing “Part of Your World” and Idol alums (and sweethearts, don’t forget!) Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson performing “A Whole New World.” To be honest, I’m glad they waited nearly zero weeks into this competition to force Disney Night upon the contestants because there are so many of our Top 10 that I seriously cannot imagine tackling the Disney songbook. What will they do and will it be enough to avoid the double elimination tonight? Let’s find out!
Uché // “I 2 I” from A Goofy Movie
Within minutes of meeting Uché, this week’s celebrity coach Rebel Wilson can see that his confidence is one of his superpowers. He’s doing a very obscure song tonight, but he is selling it. Honestly, I’m barely listening to his vocals because I am just ogling his cropped pleather jacket. Disneyland isn’t where dreams are made, that jacket is. The performance is fine, but if America didn’t like what Uché was doing before, will this change their minds?
Laci Kaye Booth // “I See the Light” from Tangled
BURY ME WITH THIS SONG. It’s one of my favorite Disney tunes, so to have Laci tackle it is a true treat. Rebel wants her to push a little harder and I feel like Rebel Wilson is being a pretty decent celebrity coach? Lots of them phone it in, so, get it girl. I miss Laci up there with her guitar and her twang, but Luke calls out how her “subtle delivery” makes everything she does feel so authentic. Lionel tells her she’s on a roll. Is she a lock for Top 3? Please discuss.
Alejandro Aranda // “Remember Me” from Coco
Alejandro is taking a risk and doing a complete overhaul of this song’s arrangement (an Academy Award-winning song, no big deal). Um, I don’t hate it? The original is emotional (you guys, Miguel sings it to Coco to make her remember her dad I AM CRYING ABOUT IT), but this is a much more haunting, ethereal take on it. It’s very Alejandro and the judges are into it. Lionel praises his artistry once again, Katy loves how heartfelt his performances are, and Luke is happy to see him pushed out of his comfort zone and flourishing. They’re fans.
Alyssa Raghu // “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas
Even Rebel Wilson doesn’t understand why Alyssa didn’t make it through on America’s vote. Well, Katy Perry’s save is here to prove she deserved that place in the Top 10. To do so, she gives us a classic Idol pop ballad moment. I’ve said it before, but pop ballads are my um, favorite flavor of this sauce. Much like Uché, though, if America wasn’t into Alyssa before, aside from some new notes, this doesn’t show off anything new from her. We shall see what America does!
Wade Cota // “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story
I had no idea what Wade was going to pick here, but a Randy Newman classic feels right. It’s a little more upbeat than we’re used to and I miss some of the intensity, but guys, like, I really believe I have a friend in him. It’s not a standout performance, but he does have “Andy” written on the bottom of his shoe and he gets several points for that detail. Katy thought the entire performance makes Wade very approachable, which is a good thing at this point in the competition. So yeah, this mostly works for the judges, too.
Dimitrius Graham // “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan
Wait, Dimitrius is a huge Rebel Wilson fan and it is so sweet. I could’ve never imagined Dimitrius fangirling, but here we are. And then Dimitrius takes his mother on a carousel in Disneyland for the first time and it’s really all I need from this show. Thanks, bye! Just kidding, once again Dimitrius takes us on a true vocal journey. Still can’t believe he didn’t get through on America’s votes. What are you even doing, America? Thank goodness Luke Bryan is around to set everyone straight.
Walker Burroughs // “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2
Rebel Wilson is a Walker Burroughs fan. She starts tearing up as he begins rehearsing this gorgeous, underrated song from Toy Story 2. She also tells him to connect to his “inner toy woman” which is great advice for life in general. It’s a quiet performance (and Walker does end up playing on the piano), but a lovely one. Luke hopes people can understand how difficult it was to pull off what Walker just did. You guys, I think I just became a big Walker fan with this performance. Toy Story will do that to ya, I guess.
Madison VanDenburg // “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
Okay, so this song choice I could have called. This ballad is a stunner, there was no way someone with Madison’s powerful vocals would pass it up when it is right there for the taking! I mean, they try to thwart Madison with background video of an ocean that was pulled from the last karaoke bar I was at, but they cannot. As Rebel Wilson points out, Madison just doesn’t hit wrong notes. The pacing feels a little off at times, but overall this is a good moment for our teen powerhouse.
Laine Hardy // “Oo-De-Lally” from Robin Hood
Before you ask why Laine is taking on this song, his dad loves it. It’s very nice! Laine makes it as “bayou” as possible, but it doesn’t provide any huge standout moments for him. Still, the judges are on their feet by the end. Lionel can see that Laine has “found his wheelhouse” and that is serving him well in this competition. Laine knows exactly who he is as an artist. Luke reminds Laine that he once told the young singer “you better be careful or you could win American Idol.” I mean, yeah, Laine could win this, but not because of this song.
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon // “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon
Don’t mind me, just tearing up over here because Jeremiah is surprised by his sister, the first of his family to participate in the show. And then the dude walks on stage and hits SOME NOTES. Luke praises how much control Jeremiah oozes—they always know he’s going to deliver. Lionel is constantly amazed at how much Jeremiah just owns his talent. I’m still unsure if Idol is right for Jeremiah and really just want him to release an album already.
Well, that was cute guys but we all know the greatest Disney song performance ever done on Idol is Jennifer Hudson’s “The Circle of Life” from season 3. You can try to top it, but you never will.
Anyway, we have some business to attend to before the evening is up: We’re eliminating two contestants. It’s no surprise that it comes down to the three Judges’ Wild Card picks from last week (honestly, why don’t they just do a Top 10 based on America’s vote and maybe one wild card? It never ends well for the wild cards!), and in the end Uché and Dimitrius Graham are eliminated.
The judges elect not to use their one “save” of the season, fearing that one of the front-runners will get the ax ahead of his or her time. The only positive about this situation is that now we get to see how the rest of the Top 8 is faring in viewer votes. How do you think it’ll shake out?