American Idol

Song by song grades for the American Idol Top 20

Kaibrienne (KB) Richins delivers an emotional performance on American Idol's Top 20 show Sunday. (ABC Photo)

Kaibrienne (KB) Richins delivers an emotional performance of an original song on American Idol’s Top 20 show Sunday. (ABC Photo)


American Idol eliminated its first four contestants via fan voting Sunday night.

As for the remaining contestants — The Top 20 — they each took the stage and delivered a memorable night of music during a special three-hour episode of Idol.

Fans can vote for their favorites via the Idol app, via the website or by texting their contestants number as assigned during the show.

The limit is 10 votes per method, or 30 per contestant if a fan uses all three methords. Voting runs from the end of the show until 9 a.m. eastern time.

And voting will be crucial this round because the 10 highest vote-getters will advance to the Top 14 Monday night.

Everyone will perform again Monday and, at the end of the show, the judges will pick four wild cards to complete the Top 14.

Here are Idol Chatter’s song by song grades for Sunday’s outstanding night of performances.

Jack Blocker, 25, Dallas, Texas, “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” by Jim Croce — Nice fit of songer and song choice. And is it my imagination, or is Jack showing more control over the facial contortions tonight. Okay, they were back as he delivered a rousing ending to that song. Really solid way to start the show. Lionel loved the way his personality came out. Katy calls him the “real deal.” Grade: B

Mia Matthews, 18, Centre, Ala., “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” by Lainey Wilson — Tell you what, Mia looked unlikely to last long when her audition aired. But she has come on strong. She looks completely at home on stage now. Did you see that little wink. Now I’m predicting she goes deep into the competition. Another really nice performance from Mia. Katy says she has found her roar. Luke called it a great performance and a great song choice. Grade: A–

Mackenzie Sol, 23, Las Vegas, Nevada, “I’ll Never Love Again” by Lady Gaga — Mackenzie is slowing things down tonight. His vocals are a little shaky at the opening of this. He’s showing off nice range. And he’s delivering passion, but this really isn’t working for me. At least not as well as the first two songs of the night. Lionel liked his passion and called it a great job. Grade: C+

Roman Collins, 24, Long Beach, Calif., “Never Would Have Made It” by Marvin Sapp — Really thrilled to see Roman make the Top 20. Wasn’t sure he would when I checked YouTube views for night two of the Top 24 and he was among the lowest. He took us to church again. But not in as fun a performance as last week. That said, it certainly wasn’t lacking for passion. That was a flat-out gospel revival. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an Idol performance quite like it. Luke called it “spiritually beautiful.” Grade: B

Kennedy Reid, 23, New Albany, Indiana, “Love Can Build a Bridge” by The Judds — Kennedy experienced on-line bullying after her audition aired. This song choice is her response. She’s delivering an important message America needs to hear right now. And maybe ask themselves who’s helped normalize online bullying. Unfortunately, she went for a glory note in the middle of the song and missed. She does come through with a very nice ending. Lionel tells Kennedy to ignore the idiots. Luke and Katy praise her courage. Grade: B–

Ajii, 27, Brooklyn, N.Y., “Like a Stone” by Audioslave — Okay, I barely understood a single word of the first three lines of that performance. Ennuciate, Ajii. Please. That said, he has a big voice and he’s another singer who’s delivering plenty of passion in this performance. Luke warns him not to get too yell-y. Good point. All three judges loved the way he cut loose on stage. That wasn’t my favorite Ajii performance. Grade: C+

Jennifer Jeffries, 17, Starkville, Mississippi, “Grave Digger” by Matt Maeson — Here’s another contestant who appears to be growing in confidence. And this is a performance that likely going to resonate with Idol fans. She has such a unique sound. Hmm, the judges didn’t seem to think she came across as very confident. I think I’m going to have to watch this performance back again. Because I thought she did very well. Grade: B

Emmy Russell, 24, Nashville, Tenn., “Want You” (an original) — Love that Emmy’s risking her Idol fate on another original on a night that includes such a big cut. She has a neat little break in her voice. It’s a nice original. And it’s likely to be an Idol fan pleaser. Katy liked the song but wants more power and longer notes from Emmy. Luke loved the emotion in the performance. He called it his favorite performance from Emmy. Lionel called it a hit record. Grade: B+

Triston Harper, 15, McIntosh, Alabama, “Hope” (an original) — Oh, my, from the opening note, this is fantastic. This is as good as I’ve heard Triston sound. That was a brilliant opening. This is a great song. My hunch is we’re watching a Season 22 finalist right now. That was the best performance of the night. Luke predicts he’ll be doing music forever. Katy called it a stellar performance. Grade: A+

Odell Bunton Jr., 28, Dallas, Texas, “The Door” by Teddy Swims: Odell is showing off a really nice tone on this. This is going to be one of my favorite of his performances. Much better than his Hawaii performance in my mind. Like that way he delivered the song straight until the end, when he went a bit crazy vocally. Then he delivered a wonderful ending. That was a great way to end the first half of the show. Teddy Swims called it “crazy.” Lionel said he killed it. Grade: A

And from group one, that means the elimination of Elleigh Marie Francom and K-Blocks. Neither is a major surprise. K-Blocks was the only member of the Top 24 not featured during the audition episodes. Elleigh didn’t have a single performance air during Hollywood Week.

Kayko, 23, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., “Over You” (an original) — Kayko is delivering another of his originals. And a very good one. He’s also delivering a much better vocal tonight than in the Hollywood round. Thank you, American Idol, for letting these singers do originals on this show! Katy says he’s going to be a megastar. I think that was Kayko’s best performance on Idol so far. Grade: A–

Jordan Anthony, 18, Perth Australia, “when the party’s over” — Yikes, I think those first couple of lines got away from him. In fact, that first verse didn’t go very well. He finds his footing on the chorus, then knocks down the mic. Fotunately, he gets it repositioned in time for a good glory note. And comes through with an emotional ending. Luke liked his range. Lionel called it a very good performance. Katy called it one of her favorite performances of the night. Grade: B–

Quintavious, 21, Franklin, Tenn., “Hollow” by Tori Kelly: He’s be a worship leader since age 17. He’s making this his own. And goes a cappella for several lines. Okay, I wasn’t crazy about that performance. It was a bit too frill filled. A bit too frantic. Clearly, the judges loved it. Lionel calls him “electric” and loved the way he exploded on stage. He called the performance “amazing.” Luke called it his favorite performance from Quintavious. Grade: B–

KB (Kaibrienne) Richins, 20, Henefer, Utah, “Girl I Am Now” (original): I love this song. Not sure what that intro was about. Because there’s lots of pain in the lyrics. Kabrienne seems to be letting the emotion of the moment get the best of her. Can’t tell whether that missed line was intentional or not. Okay, it wasn’t. She just broke down again. But she recovers nicely as the song comes to a close. And gets a standing ovation from the judges. Folks, do yourself a favor and check out this song on your favorite streaming site. That’s right, this song is already out. Grade: A–

Nya, 27, Manhattan, N.Y., “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles — Thrilled to see Nya make the Top 20. I think she’s this season’s best female R&B singer. Just wish she’d start trying more current song choices. This started out very sleepy. But about midway through, Nya poured on the flavor and the power. Big time. Lionel called it an “undeniable” performance. Katy says Nya reminds him of Jennifer Hudson. Luke calls her one of his favorite voices on the show. Grade: B+

Jayna Elise, 22, Washington, D.C., “My All” by Mariah Carey — Really nice opening by Jayna, who is proving she’s a force to deal with too. This is turning into a fierce performance. I could do with a few fewer runs. But I love the way she built the dramatics in this performance. Luke called it an amazing job. Lionel and Katy praised the performance as well. Grade: B+

Abi Carter, 21, Indio, Calif., “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance — Damn, Idol has pulled together a mega talented cast for Season 22. And a cast that isn’t afraid to pour out emotion on the stage. Abi just did that beautifully. And delivered a beautiful vocal in the process. Really, really, really well done. Luke said she found the magic with that performance. Luke and Katy echoed that sentiment. Grade: A+

Will Moseley, 23, of Hazelhurst, Ga., “”Makin’ Me Look Good Again” — Will takes the stage, and it’s like we’re listening to a guy who’s already a pro. I mean, that voice. It’s got to translate into country hits. And as solid as the performance was, he delivers a better ending. Luke calls it perfect. And predicts he’ll be in the finale. Wow. Grade: A

McKenna Breinholt, 25, of Gilbert, Ariz., “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell — Nice song choice by McKenna to show off her unique vocals. Wow, talk about another pro performance. That was simply superb. Especially the way her vocals swelled near the end. No idea how this show is going to send six singers home tomorrow night. McKenna’s another who needs to be in the Top 14. Lionel said it’s a version Joni Mitchelle needs to hear. Luke thinks she could be a finalist too. Grade: A

Julia Gagnon, 21, Cumberland, Maine, “I Believe” by Fantasia: Nice opening by Julia and she gave us a couple of special moments. But as the song swelled, sorry folks, I think she started over singing and going just a bit too big. She breaks down on the final “I believe,” which winds up making the performance more powerful. She gets rave reviews from all three judges. Grade: B

And that means the elimination of Blake Proehl and Hailey Mia. Hailey is a former Voice finalist who never seemed to make as big an impression on Idol. I would have loved to see a couple more performances from her. Blake struggled on Top 24 week.

But, wow, what a night of music. Those three hours breezed by thanks to amazing performances by an incredibly talented cast. That was one of my favorite Idol episodes in a while. Packed with incredible performances.

Mia Matthews listens to feedback following her performance on American Idol's Top 20 show Sunday night. (ABC Photo)

Mia Matthews listens to feedback following her performance on American Idol’s Top 20 show Sunday night. (ABC Photo)

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1 Comment

  1. Marsha Merinar April 18, 2024 at 6:10 am -  Reply

    The winner

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