American Idol

Song by song grades for the Top 5 on American Idol

The Top 5 on American Idol (from left) Colin Stough, We Ani, Iam Tongi, Megan Danielle and Zachariah Smith. (ABC Photo)

The Top 5 on American Idol (from left) Colin Stough, We Ani, Iam Tongi, Megan Danielle and Zachariah Smith. (ABC Photo)


The American Idol Top 5 take the stage tonight, singing a pair of Disney songs.

The stakes couldn’t be higher: A spot in the Season 21 finales, the chance to release a finalists’ single and a chance to enjoy a hometown celebration.

Three singers advance to next week’s finale, and I think it’s already clear one of those spots is going to Iam Tongi.

That leaves former Voice contestants Megan Danielle and Wé Ani to vie for two spots with Zachariah Smith and Colin Stough.

Technology permitting, I’ll be live blogging through tonight’s show. The Disney song choices appear below.

See also …
Ranking the Top 5
Song by song grades for the Top 8
YouTube popularity for the Top 5
Song by song grades for the Top 10

Wé Ani, 24, Harlem, NY, “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II — So much for starting small and building big. We belts wonderfully on the opening notes. She looks and sings like a star and delivers a big ending. Lionel calls her stage presence “amazing” and says she did a “fantasic job.” She belongs in the finale, but I think there’s still some question whether she’ll make it. Grade: B+

Zachariah Smith, 20, Amory, Mississippi, “Just Can’t Wait to be King” from The Lion King — Zachariah’s voice was overshadowed a bit by the band on the opening. He serving up a good time on stage with some nifty dance moves. There’s that big rock and roll ending we heard a bit about in the mentoring session. Up til then, the vocal was just so-so. Katy called it “incredible.” Grade: B–

Colin Stough, 18, Amory, Mississippi, “Real Gone” by Sheryl Crow from Cars — Not sure I’m buying Colin dressed in all-black like a bad boy after the segment about how much he loves his mom. But I am buying this performance. Colin’s showing a lot more confidence. And if the vocal isn’t his best, this is the night’s first real crowd-pleaser. Luke said it might have been his favorite performance from Colin. Grade: B+

Megan Danielle, 21, Douglasville, Ga., “You Can’t Stop the Girl” by Bebe Rexha from Maleficent: Mistress of Evil — Damn, that voice. When I saw this song choice, I wasn’t so sure. But Megan’s opening was brilliant. And before the song ended, she proved she can belt as well as anyone on the show. She’s another contestant whose confidence has soared over the course of the show. Best of the night so far. Easily. Grade: A

Iam Tongi, 18, Kahuku, Hawaii, “Lava” from Lava — If there was a sliver of doubt about whether Iam would make the finals, I think this erased it. His voice is just so warm and welcoming. This is a perfect song choice for him. Heck, the song ends and the crowd starts chanting his name. Yep, Iam can count on a hometown visit. Grade: A–

Wé Ani, 24, Harlem, NY, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus (YUK!!!!) — The “yuk” is there because I hate, hate, hate this song. If you’re going to sing it though, I like the way Wé has slowed it down. I’m less thrilled about the way the song exploded halfway through. I mean, we know Wé can belt, but it robbed the song of the intimate feeling We was creating. I really think she needed to pull on heartstrings tonight, and I’m not sure she pulled them hard enough. That said, Katy called it “superb.” Grade B+

Zachariah Smith, 20, Amory, Mississippi, “Life is a Highway” from Cars — Give the guy this, he knows his strength. And that’s bringing an upbeat party to the Idol stage. There were some vocal stumbles early in the song, but Zachariah made fans forget those with his big delivery once he made his way to the middle of the Idol stage. Lionel says he loves when Zachariah brings the fire to the stage. Grade: B–

Colin Stough, 18, Amory, Mississippi, “Nobody Knows” by The Lumineers, from Pete’s Dragon — Just Colin and his guitar on this one. Okay, this guy is going to make the finals. His song choices tonight have been spot on. And this type of intimate country-flavored performance is going to be a magnet for votes. That wasn’t quite as good as his performance of “Dancing on My Own,” but it was very, very good. Grade: A–

Megan Danielle, 21, Douglasville, Ga., “Carried Me With You” from Onward — I’m going to be very disappointed if Megan doesn’t make the finals. Her voice is my favorite among the remaining contestants. Here I would have preferred it the entire song had been slowed down as a ballad. But Megan always delivers the big notes with so much control. Luke says she had “magic” in her voice. Lionel loves the “cry” in that voice. Grade: B+

Iam Tongi, 18, Kahuku, Hawaii, “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — Not my favorite Iam performance and not as good as his first one tonight. But the crowd still loved it. And Iam delivered a nice tender ending. Katy says she sees his first name and thinks it fits perfectly with “I am the next American Idol.” She’s likely correct. Grade: B

And the Top 3 on American Idol Season 21 are Colin Stough, Megan Danielle and Iam Tongi.

That means Wé Ani and Zachariah Smith are eliminated.

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  1. Patty May 15, 2023 at 4:14 pm -  Reply

    I do not like I am, what type of music is he going to put out?

  2. Hope May 17, 2023 at 6:17 pm -  Reply

    Your so negative

  3. susan May 18, 2023 at 5:01 pm -  Reply

    i like iam hes music is good very good, im glad he made top 3 ! it would be nice if someone gave him a music contract! cause he may not make to nu one! its sad! i would like to see iam make it all the though!

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