American Idol

American Idol: Song by song grades for the Top 11

The American Idol Top 11 will perform songs chosen by the judges tonight on ABC. (ABC Photo)

The American Idol Top 11 will perform songs chosen by the judges tonight on ABC. (ABC Photo)



The Top 11 on American Idol are right back at it in a new twist to the competition — the Judges Song Contest.

Each judge has recommended a song for each member of the Top 11 to sing tonight.

Each contestant will select one of the three suggested songs to perform, not knowing which coach the song suggestion came from.

No word yet on how many — if any — singers will be eliminated. But Ryan Seacest did say Monday’s show will include more voting.

Voting last night eliminated Allega Miles, Ava Maybee and Dan Marshall from the competition.

The remaining 11 are Nicolina Bozzo, Leah Marlene, HunterGirl, Jay Copeland, Tristen Gressett, Christian Guardino, Noah Thompson, Mike Parker, Emyrson Flora, Lady K and Fritz Hager.

I’ll be doling out song by song grades as usual, but not until well after tonight’s show ends.

See also
Song by song grades for the Top 14
Ranking the Top 14
Song by song grades from the Top 14 reveal show
Song by song grades for the Top 20 show

1. Nicolina Bozzo, 18, Toronto, “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson — Lionel picked the song. Okay, Nicolina was bound to stumble sooner or later, and this was her stumble. She showed nice stage presence, but this vocal got shouty. Oh, well, Nicolina’s still a solid front-runner and should survive to sign on Sunday’s Disney show. Grade: B–

2. Mike Parker, 27, Warrenton, Va., “Chasin’ You” by Morgan Wallen — Luke picked the song. Mike delivered a really nice ending to this. Otherwise, there were pitch problems galore. And I mean galore. Note to Idol contestants: If you can’t nail the catchy chorus, don’t pick the song. Grade: C

3, Fritz Hager, 22, Tyler, Texas, “Wonderwall” by Oasis — Luke picked the song. Ryan minted him a heartthrob on Sunday’s show. My guess is he’s one of the male singers growing in popularity with fans, heartthrob of not. This was another heartfelt performance, complete with an impressive vocal. Grade: A–

4. Christian Guardino, 21, Patchogue, N.Y., “I’m Not the Early One” by Sam Smith — Katy picked the song. Well, Gabby’s suggestion that he limit the frills took for one minute. They were back on this one. Fortunately for Christian, he was convincing on that chorus, even throwing in a bit of a growl here and there. No doubt dude ahs a big voice. Grade: B

5. Noah Thompson, 19, Louisa, Ky., “Heartbreak Warfare by” John Mayer — Luke picked the song. The judges love the cry in Noah’s voice and this song allowed him to show it off, repeatedly. Nice emotional connection and another earnest performance from Noah. Grade: B

6. Lady K, 25, Tuskegee, Ala., “traitor” by Olivia Rodriguez — Lionel picked the song. Really loved Lady K’s opening and ending on this. And if the vocal wasn’t perfect when the music swelled, Lady K made up for it with her emotional connection to the song. One of my favorite Lady K performances, in spite of what seemed like some sort of confusion the first time she was supposed to singer the word “traitor.” Grade: B

7. HunterGirl, 23, Winchester, Tenn., “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton — Luke picked the song. And HunterGirl provided a pretty much paint-by-the-numbers cover. I would have liked to have seen her go a bit more crazy on that performance. Nothing happened on stage that further convinced me Katy Perry’s wish for HunterGirl should come true. Grade: B–.

8. Leah Marlene, 20, Normal, Ill., “To Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan — Katy picked the song. Damn. If Leah isn’t careful, she’s going to run away with American Idol Season 20. I mean, her arrangement of this oft-heard tune made it sound like her own. And it sounded fabulous. Leah just keeps getting stronger and stronger. That, folks, will be the performance of the night. Grade: A

9. Tristen Gressett, 17, Pell City, Ala., “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones — Lionel picked the song. With this song as one of the options … well, is anyone surprised it’s the one Tristen selected. Wearing a cape, he goes predictably crazy on stage, taking some time to dance around the band members while delivering a decent, fun version of the Stones’ classic hit. Grade: B

10. Emyrson Flora, 16, Cleveland, Ohio, “Lovely” by Billie Eilish — Katy chose the song. Emyrson was dialed in on this, showing stage presence well beyond her age. Vocally, it was one of her better performances to date. Wise song choice, Emyrson. Grade: B+

11. Jay Copeland, 23, Salisbury, Md., “Lilac Wine” by Jeff Buckley — Katy chose the song. Think the judges aren’t trying to showcase their platinum ticket recipient. He got to open Sunday’s show and gets to close tonight. That said, this was a very solid vocal and Jay did a nice job of staying in character. In other words, no dazzling smiles that contradict the words coming out of his mouth. Grade: A–

Lady K and Tristen were the bottom two vote-getters, but the judges decided to save Lady K.

That means Idol will enter next week with a Top 10.

Meanwhile, Luke and Katy tied as winners of the Judges Song Contest. Each had four contestants sing their songs.

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