American Idol

American Idol: Song by song grades for the Top 12

American Idol's Top 10 pose with judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie at the end of Sunday's show. (ABC Photo)

American Idol’s Top 10 pose with judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie at the end of Sunday’s show. (ABC Photo)


The Top 12 perform tonight on American Idol.

By the end of the night, two singers will be eliminated via live voting.

That means for the first time this season, fans will be voting during the show.

You can cast as many as 10 votes per artist by three methods, the American Idol app, the website and by texting the number provided during the show.

That’s up to 30 votes per contestant you can cast.

Technology permitting, I’ll be live blogging throughout the show with song by song grades.

Adam Lambert will be back to mentor the contestants. And, thank you, American Idol, for not forgetting to showcase past contestants.

See also …
Ranking the Top 12
Photo gallery of the Top 12
Music from last week’s eliminated singers

1. Tyson Venegas, 17, Vancouver, Canada, “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder — Brilliant opening by Tyson and nice little twirl at the end. In between, he delivered a fun performance and an impressive vocal. However, he did not knock my socks off. Lionel, however, proclaimed him “on fire.” Grade: B

2. Warren Peay, 24, Bamberg, SC, “House of the Rising Sun” — I called Warren sneaky good in my ratings blog. And he’s proving it again with his powerful vocals and his rasp. He delivered a great ending too. That’s more like rock ‘n’ roll. Very good, Warren. Luke loves the gritty part of his voice. Grade: B+

3. Haven Madison, 17, Clarkesville, Tenn., “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi — Haven takes the stage looking like a star and I liked her opening on the song. But booming vocals are not her strength, so I’m not sure this was a great song choice for her. For the most part, she avoided last week’s pitch problems. She also did a very nice job of working the stage. Luke called it a “huge pop-out moment.” Grade: C

4. Lucy Love, 28, Holly Grove, Ark., “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie — Lucy might be the contestant most in danger tonight. And she needed a rock and roll number that grabbed viewers by the throat and proclaimed “you must vote for me.” Nice idea to pay tribute to Lionel for saving her Monday night. But that song choice wasn’t what she needed. All that said, there’s no doubting her vocal firepower. Grade: C+

5. Oliver Steele, 25, Mount Juliet, Tenn., “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles — Good thing Oliver pulled off that impressive ending. Because to that point, the performance was what Adam Lambert predicted, a little sleepy. Oliver’s vocal was on point throughout, but this is rock ‘n’ roll night. That’s not a performance I’ll remember by the end of the show. Grade: C+

6. Colin Stough, 18, Amory, Mississippi, — Midnight Rider by The Allman Brothers — Wow, Colin hadn’t even settled on a song when he had his mentoring session with Adam Lambert. He wound up picking pretty well. That wasn’t as good as his performance last week, but Colin looked more confident and sounded more committed than he did for a couple of weeks when voting began. Grade: B–

7. Marybeth Byrd, 21, Armorel, Ark., — Okay, to this point, Marybeth has been one of my favorite voices on the show. That song choice did not work. She never found that sweet spot in her voice. The shoutout to the audience seemed forced. Lionel, however, said he loved it. And Katy said Marybeth landed the song like “a real queen.” Grade: C

8. We Ani, 24, Harlem, NY, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” by Etta James — Finally, someone is going to rock out on rock and roll night. Go, We. She’s changing up the song, and it’s working. It’s all working. Way to go, We. She’s looking the part of a rock and roll goddess too. Look at her interacting with the guitarist. Fabulous. Easily, easily the best we’ve seen tonight. Grade: A

9. Nutsa, 26, Tbilisi, Georgia, “The Show Must Go On” by Queen — Looking very diva like, Nutsa lures us in with a sorta soft opening, then goes full diva as the song swells. Damn, can she belt. Damn, does she bring flair to the stage. I’m hoping she survives tonight because I love to watch this young woman perform. Lionel calls her “a star.” Grade: B+

10. Megan Danielle, 21, Douglasville, Ga. — “Angel from Montgomery” by Bonnie Raitt — Love the rasp in her voice. This song is doing a great job of showcasing the special tone in her voice. Just wondering how great it might have been if she had followed Adam’s suggestion of slowing down the song for a more emotional performance. Still, Megan deserves to advance. Great closing note. Luke called the performance “absolutely incredible.” Grade: B+

11. Zachariah Smith, 20, Amory, Mississippi, “Don’t Bring Me Down” by Electric Light Orchestra — Well, tonight Idol certainly saved the best for last. Since We Ani took the stage, this show has kicked into another gear. That was a really fun performance, definitely my favorite from Zachariah Smith to date. Can’t say the guy doesn’t have fun on stage. Lionel called it “brilliant.” Grade: B

12. Iam Tongi, 18, Kahuku, Hawaii, “Bring It On Home” by Sam Cooke — At this point, Iam could forget all the words and he’d still advance. Instead, he delivers another wonderful vocal with that special tone of his. He does need to learn to keep his eyes open a little more, especially when he’s singing a ballad like this. Otherwise, another performance from Iam that’s destined to become a fan favorite. Grade: A–

Wow, no shocks tonight. The two artists saved last week head home this week.

That means the Idol journey has ended for Nutsa and Lucy Love. Two of the biggest voices on Idol leave the show.

Tomorrow night, the Top 10 become a Top 7. Check back for more song by song grades then.

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1 Comment

  1. TiredofTripe April 30, 2023 at 9:31 pm -  Reply

    Thanks again, Mark for giving contestants grades instead of just summarizing the empty, scripted positive comments by the judges.

    You are the only “Idol” blogger who does that now.

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