American Idol

Song by song grades for American Idol’s Top 24, Part 1


The first 12 of American Idol’s Season 20 Top 24 take the stage tonight.

Jimmie Allen will be the guest mentor for this round of pre-taped performances.

Bebe Rexha will be the mentor on tomorrow night’s show, when the remaining members of the Top 24 compete.

Two of the platinum ticket recipients — Jay Copeland and HunterGirl — are scheduled for tonight’s show.

Meanwhile, there’s increasing evidence that the third, Kenedi Anderson, won’t be continuing her Idol journey though she did perform with the rest of the Top 24. reported earlier this week that she dropped out of the competition.

And Kenedi hasn’t taken to social media to celebrate her selection to the Top 24 or to promote tonight’s or tomorrow night’s

I’ll be live blogging both nights with song-by-song grades, so feel free to check back to see how your favorites are doing.

1. Jay Copeland, “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 — From the opening line, Jay reminds us that he’s one of this year’s top singers. Then he goes into performance mood, showing off nice stage presence. The ending reminded us of his range. But that wasn’t Jay’s best vocal. Grade: B

2. Elli Rowe, “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac — Elli gives the Fleetwood Mac hit a country vibe. Kudos to her for changing up the song so much. She has a nice lilt to her voice. But she’s one of the artists who hasn’t gotten as much screen time, and I’m not sure that performance is going to do a lot to raise her profile. Grade: C+

3. Tristen Gressett, “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles — Tristen is still in high school, and he’s one of the best performers on the show. He’s also showing off his vocals tonight. This is without doubt his best vocal of the competition so far. And he gets a standing ovation from the judges. Grade: A–

4. Scarlet Ayliz, “Levitating” by Dua Lipa — This young lady has a certain spark. And a killer voice, which certainly helps. On a show filled with female singer-songwriters, she brings a fresh pop vibe to the show. And shows no fear on stage. I’m hoping she advances. Grade: B+

5. Sage, “Jolene” by Dolly Parton: Mentor Jimmie Allen loved Sage’s unique take on the song. And she got my attention with that opening. The rest of the performance didn’t quite live up to that standard. But it was a solid and interesting rendition of the song. Katy called it hypnotic. Grade: B

6. Danielle Finn, “Your Song” by Elton John: Danielle’s another of the very young contestants on the show. She’s displayed a unique tone in the past and did at times during that performance, especially the ending. But it Katy wrote down that was “rough” again, I’d understand. Because that vocal was a little all over the place. Grade: C–

7. Mike Parker, “Best Shot” by Jimmie Allen — So it’s sounds as though Mike’s now committed to country music. Idol didn’t show his Showstopper performance. I’m hoping the vocal was better than this. Because this vocal is a real struggle. Mike, a former Voice contestant, has sounded a lot better. Not sure what the judges heard. Grade: C–

8. Emyrson Flora, “Angles Like You” by Miley Cyrus: At 16, she’s the youngest contestant on the show. Nice distinctive tone from Emyrson. But the most impressive part of that performance was her emotional connection to the song. The judges rewarded her with a standing ovation. Luke Bryan called it one of his favorite performances. Katy says Emyrson has a shot at winning the show. Grade: B

9. Dan Marshall, “Heaven” by Bryan Adams: Dan has a strong country voice, but he sounded awfully nervous on those opening lines. With all the great country songs to choose from, I’m not in love with this song pick either. An okay performance, but not one that’s going to be very memorable. Grade: C+

10. Jacob Moran, “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes: Great opening by Jacob, who gets that show back on track vocally. This is the guy who’s struggled with his confidence, but he’s not showing it in this performance. He didn’t quite nail those big notes, but he delivered that performance with lots of passion and provided a really nice ending. He, too, brought the judges to their feet. Grade: B+

11. HunterGirl, “Banjo” by Rascal Flatts: Nice upbeat performance from HunterGirl. As one of the show’s frontrunners, she has no fears of going home this round (only 2 singers will go home from this group). Not her best vocal, but a fun performance. Grade: B

12. Nicolina Bozzo, “Elastic Heart” by Sia — Nicolina has been one of the most consistently impressive singers on the show so far. And she’s bringing it again tonight — a great mix of vocals of emotion. She needs to open her eyes more to connect with the crowd, but you had to love how that performance built. And the judges nearly leaped to their feet at the end of the song. My favorite of the night along with Tristen’s. Grade: A–

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