With viewers’ votes finally in play, Sunday’s episode of American Idol marked the end of the road for eight singers, leaving us with the Top 16 of Season 19.
Let’s start with the results. The following 16 singers are going through to the next round: Alanis Sophia, Alyssa Wray, Ava August, Beane, Caleb Kennedy, Casey Bishop, Cassandra Coleman, Chayce Beckham, Colin Jamieson, Deshawn Goncalves, Grace Kinstler, Graham DeFranco, Hunter Metts, Madison Watkins, Willie Spence and Wyatt Pike.
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Sadly, that means we have to say goodbye to Alana, Andrea Valles, Anilee List, Cecil Ray, Hannah Everhart, Jason Warrior, Liahona Olayan and Mary Jo Young.
Read on for a breakdown of Sunday’s performances, complete with video:
ALYSSA WRAY, 19 | With a voice beyond her years, Wray kicked things off with a groovy take on Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” sauntering around the stage with all the confidence of a potential Idol winner. The judges thanked her for trying — and crushing — something a little different, impressing them all with a series of powerful runs. Click here to watch.
GRAHAM DEFRANCO, 27 | I’ve definitely never heard Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” done like that before. I wasn’t in love with the sultry, funky arrangement, but it certainly suited DeFranco’s timeless vocals. (Am I crazy for thinking that’s what it would sound like if Sublime arranged a cover for John Mayer?) I can also appreciate the way he’s developing as an artist. Click here to watch.
GRACE KINSTLER, 20 | Judging by the audible shriek I let out when Kinstler’s name was called tonight, I think she might be even more of a personal favorite than I realized. Her cover of Sia’s “Elastic Heart” wasn’t a slam-dunk from the jump — not in the same way some of her previous performances have been undeniable perfection — but once she got comfortable, she absolutely crushed it. Watch:
ALANIS SOPHIA, 19 | As anyone who has attended a lesbian wedding — or has at least seen the musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy — can attest, Brandi Carlile’s emotional ballad “The Story” is an absolute jam. And even though I thought Sophia jumped into the bombastic parts a little early, which I blame on the song being severely cut for time, I thought she handled herself adequately throughout. Dr. Calliope Torres would approve. Click here to watch.
WILLIE SPENCE, 21 | No, you’re crying! Every time Spence opens his mouth to sing, it sounds like an angel is throwing its voice, and I’m never prepared for it. Like several of the songs tonight, I didn’t love the changes made to Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” but that only made Spence’s performance even more impressive. (Holy key changes, Batman!) Watch:
DESHAWN GONCALVES, 19 | Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” is one of the most over-performed songs in reality competition history — like, it needs to be retired yesterday — but Goncalves has a great voice, and this was the perfect vehicle for showing it off. Click here to watch.
WYATT PIKE, 20 | Proving himself to be one of the most polished performers in the competition, Pike chose the perfect song to complement his voice and performance style, with Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” Plenty of changes were made to it, but they all felt authentic to Pike’s artistry. He’s a true musician, and he’s such a joy to watch. Click here to watch.
CASSANDRA COLEMAN, 24 | Given Coleman’s emotional reaction to scoring the final slot from her group, I have no idea how she managed to compose herself in time to perform Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” That alone deserves kudos. Still, I have to admit — that was not great. Even the judges, who aren’t legally allowed to give criticism this season, seemed hesitant to praise this performance. Click here to watch.
CALEB KENNEDY, 16 | It blows my mind to think that Kennedy is one of this season’s youngest competitors, as he consistently delivers some of the most polished performances week after week. And he did it again tonight, staying very much in his wheelhouse with Chris Stapleton’s “Midnight Train to Memphis.” So, riddle me this: Why doesn’t he excite me?! At least I know I’m not alone — even Ryan Seacrest failed to shake a smile out of him after the judges’ critiques. Watch:
COLIN JAMIESON, 22 | The hair? Luscious. The song choice? Perfect. In fact, the only thing I would have changed about Jamieson’s performance of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” would have been for him to take a big ol’ breath before he started — because he seemed to be struggling. Click here to watch.
CASEY BISHOP, 16 | Yes. YES. YES!!! As far as I’m concerned, Bishop has already won this competition, and her performance of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” only confirmed that the Idol stage is exactly where she belongs. The power in her voice, even during the song’s softer moments was utterly undeniable. And even though other singers this season has been called “timeless,” that word best applies to Bishop, a Gen-Z powerhouse who crushed a ’90s classic while dressed like a ’70s rock star. An absolute queen, through and through. Watch:
MADISON WATKINS, 25 | Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity” is one of the last songs I would have expected Watkins to sing this week — largely because it doesn’t deserve to be chopped up and rearranged so callously — and I’m not 100-percent sure I loved the end result. Click here to watch.
BEANE, 23 | It’s not everyday that Idol pulls out a song I’ve never heard before, but Thirdstory’s “Searching for a Feeling” is definitely one of them. Still, no familiarity was required to know that Beane handled it like a dream. I’ve complained about the cheesiness of Beane’s previous performances — again, he is a professional wedding singer — but there wasn’t even a slice of cheese to be found this time around. Click here to watch.
HUNTER METTS, 22 | Well, this was delightful. I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried about Metts’ future in this competition after his questionable duet with Jewel, but America wanted to see more, and I think that Metts totally redeemed himself with a lovely take on Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” Luke Bryan commended the “angst” in his voice, which I didn’t necessarily pick up, but hey… who am I to judge? Click here to watch.
AVA AUGUST, 15 | As a ’90s baby, I’m obsessed with Anne-Marie’s “2002,” a throwback to the music of yesteryear. For the sake of my sanity, I’m not going to dwell on the fact that August wasn’t even alive in 2002. Instead, I’m just going to bask in the serenity of her voice. I’m also going to think about how Lionel Richie called her “15 and Dangerous,” which sounds like a spinoff of 16 and Pregnant. Watch:
CHAYCE BECKHAM, 24 | Raise your hand if you were surprised when Beckham was announced as the final member of the Top 16. No one? OK, that’s what I thought. I have to admit, I’m not quite as in love with Beckham as I was at the start of the competition — possibly because so many other singers have emerged with a more unique style — but this was still a solid end to the evening. Click here to watch.
Did your favorite singers make it through to the Top 16? Drop a comment with your thoughts on Sunday’s results below.
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