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Luke Bryan Upsets Tristen Fans on AMERICAN IDOL Top 20 Recap

Pictured: TRISTEN GRESSETT / Photo by: ABC/Christopher Willard

“American Idol” is in its 20th season.  What better way to celebrate than by having a Top 20.  The show aired three hours of stellar talent who sang their hearts out for a new spot in the “American Idol” Top 14 which will be revealed in the first live show of the season on Monday nights episode on ABC network.

Performances by past American Idol’s were sprinkled in throughout that night which included Chayce Beckham, Alejandro Aranda, and Phillip Phillips.



The first person making it to the Top 20, and singing for America’s votes was the youngest, 16-year-old Emyrson Flora.  Emyrson said she’s grown already by being on “American Idol” and getting more comfortable performing.   She sang “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato.

Lionel reacted that her “stage presence is out of control.” He added that she had a walk and strut that “was great tonight.”  Katy called her not only their youngest, but one of their most talented.  Luke said when he thinks of her age, he thinks “superstar in the making.”   He said she has “that magic thing” that they can’t put their finger on.



Next was Mike Parker.  He was working as a carpenter before auditioning for “American Idol.”  He said going to the amphitheater next door to his work and watching a Luke Bryan concert was “life changing.”  Country music is his genre.
Katyy told Mike that he can make the room “boom…and it’s silky and it’s smooth.” Luke told him that the time is so right for him and he’s checking so many boxes. He feels that Mike is also a super star.  Lionel liked the most that Mike has a storyteller’s voice and Mike “is on fire.”



Pictured: TRISTEN GRESSETT / Photo by: ABC/Christopher Willard

Tristen went to Graceland when he was ten years old and wanted to have something like that when he’s older. Tristen said he feels he’s grown a lot as an artist since being on “American Idol.” He said he sometimes forgets that he’s a singer in high school.    Luke told Tristen that he just “broke through the reins” and loved the energy he put out.  Then Luke got booed when he said it wasn’t that his vocals were bad…  “But that song might have put you in a box vocally.”   Lionel told Tristen that he’s acting like an artist.  “The dynamics of your presentation is incredible.”  Katy said she was scared when she first met him, but couldn’t stop watching him.  Katy said his performance was “dynamic,” and he’s cutting the air like the X-Men.   Tristen said his dance moves are inspired by James Brown, Elvis.



Sage took the fourth spot in the Top 20.  Sage’s dad is a gifted musician who used to play with hair bands.  Sage shares a strong bond with her father whom she plays backyard parties with.
Lionel said she brought together the closest thing to 1968 and she did a “masterful job” of bringing her character to the song.  Katy said Sage brought a whole new spin.  Like Janice Joplin.  Luke said from day one, Sage has always delivered amazing vocals.


5) JAY

Pictured: JAY / Photo by: ABC/Christopher Willard

Jay got the Platinum Ticket.  He said he had to prove himself even more and the constructive criticism from the judges has helped him to improve so much.  Jay got a standing ovation from the judge after his performance.

Katy said he built that house “one piece at a time…it was such a journey.”  She said she was along for the ride and he gave them all the sauce they wanted.  Luke said that performance really solidified why they gave him the platinum ticket.  Lionel said they gave him the platinum ticket on potential and tonight he lived-up to that potential.


Chayce Beckham returned to the “American Idol” stage to perform.  Last year he was driving a forklift.  His new ep just dropped. Chayce is currently living in Nashville and is going on tour.



Nicolina’s audition went viral.  She grew up watching “American Idol.”  After her parents split-up her relationship with her mother became non-existent.  She said her journey is for her sisters, and wants to share something great after everything they’ve been through.  Nicolina sang “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks.

Luke called her “so amazing…it just draws people in.”   Lionel said while she’s performing he’s always thinking, “she’s going to blow,” and when she does blow, “oh my God.”  Katy said Nicolina is a ferrari that spins, then she comes out sipping a smoothie.



Pictured: JACOB MORAN / Photo by: ABC/Christopher Willard

Jacob had previously auditioned for “American Idol.”  This time, he’s finding more success on the show.  Jacob sang “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.”

Lionel wanted him to hit more melodies and Jacob showed American the potential of what his voice can do. “Step into the light.  You’ve got the goods.  Give it to us,” Lionel told him.   Katy called Jacob the best singer in the competition and it’s time to know who he is as a singer.  Bryan said be a master of connecting with the cameras.  He’s the singer that they knew he was in the audition.  He’s the whole package.



She works with Veterans in music therapy.  The veterans tell her what they went through in war and she turns it into a song.  She said it’s life changing and really special.  Songwriting is a huge part of her life and she’s singing an original song ‘ Heartbreak Dawn.

Katy told her what she does for veterans is profound.  Katy told Huntergirl that she’s an  artist and she put her money on her.  Luke said when she starts singing, it sounds like Country radio.  The sky’s the limit and he thanked her for singing an original.  Lionel said she’s natural.  Huntergirl said what inspired the song is that she’s not going to break down and she’s going to get through it.



Ellli said she wants people to slow-down and feel “really free.”  She said competing, it’s hard not to get into comparison mode and her voice is “equally as powerful.”   Elli sang “Somewhere Only We Know,” by Keane.

Luke called her voice pure, angelic, and makes people feel things.  Lionel reacted “Amen, amen, amen.  There’s nothing like your voice.”  He said if they vote for her, she made it. If they don’t she made it.  Katy said she picks incredible songs that compliment her vote.  She prays that America sees her like they see her and vote.



He was a football player before he started singing.  At the “American Idol” audition Dan had been singing for only about five months.  He said like in football, you get knocked down, you have to get back up.  He said he gets the same rush before going on stage that he used to get before playing a football game.  Dan sang Country song “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.

Dan got a standing ovation from the judges.  Lionel said he just wants free tickets and backstage passes.  Lionel told Dan that he can take that act and go on the road immediately.  Katy said Dan picked the right song and has the best stage presence that’s so natural and authentic of the night so far.  Luke said in previous rounds, Dan may have missed the mark.  But, this is the fourth quarter of making it on “American Idol.”  He picked the best song to show how he’ll evolve as an artist.  Garth actually saw Dan’s first performance.  He said he was cool.

Before the group two performances, “American Idol” brought back former contestant, Alejandro Aranda.  He competed on the show back in 20219, he came back to perform “The Darkness” song.  Seacrest congratulated him on his album.  Alejandro said time went by so fast and thanked everyone for having him back.



Ava said it’s crazy to be recognized in public.  She said she started gigging in Los Angeles because of her mom.  Ava said her mom is the reason why she’s pursuing music and her mom used to take her to “American Idol” tapings.  Now, she’s taking her parents to the tapings.  Ava sang “Anyone” by Demi Lovato.

Katy called it an interesting song choice, and she just reinvented that song.  Because she has a rocker sound.  Bryan said she showed them a different side that they didn’t have imprinted in their minds.  Lionel congratulated her for taking a chance and going outside of her comfort zone and experimented more.  The judges loved it.



Allegra said she’s the happiest she’s been in her whole life.  She was 7 or 8 when she started experiencing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  She called it a very dark time for her.  Music is the sole thing that makes her feel like she has meaning.  It’s been a long road to feeling okay and she is overcome with gratitude.  Allegra sang “Free Falling” by Tom Petty.

Luke called it his favorite performance of the night so far.  Lionel said Allegera made a Tom Petty song a love song and said congratulations.  She’s one of the best of this evening.  Katy said Allegra just leveled-up.  She called her a “pro and she’s here to play.”



His Dad’s dream was to be a musician, and Noah is there for both of them.  “I want this to be something that me and Walker can do together.”   He said he wants to create a different life for him and his son.  Noah said he didn’t expect to be there.

Lionel told Noah to say “I have arrived!”  He said “you have made it my brother.”  Katy said “Easter Sunday, he has risen!” She told him that he deserves the world and Noah is a great human being.  She called him humble and beautiful.  “You have opened the door, just walk through it.  Luke said “it’s authentic.”  He’s just putting his boots on one boot at a time and he’s growing.



Leah said she was depressed and anxious and dropped-out of college.  She said music was a huge comfort for her at that time.  She wants to do more vulnerable songs and is stoked to share this part of herself.

Katy reacted, “are you real?”  She felt like a UFO came down.  Luke said this feels like a finlale night.  The artists are going above and beyond.  “What an amazing transformation I’m watching you do.”  Lionel said he witnessed a possession.  “This class right here is the strongest class ever!”



Pictured: CHRISTIAN GUARDINO / Photo by: ABC/Christopher Willard

He was born with a retinal disorder.  When he was 13-years-old he received an experimental gene therapy.  He was able to see things that were the most incredible moments of his life.  He takes nothing for granted, which is why he’s there on “American Idol.”  Christian sang an incredible version of “Imagine” by John Lennon which brought Katy Perry to tears.

Luke said he heard nothing but perfection. Lionel said Christian is the poster child of the power of the human spirit.  Katy said when he sang a world changing song, he is put on this planet to do something powerful.  “God bless you Christian.”  Christian told Seacrest that he’s just happy that he got to sing that song because the world needs it.

“American Idol” season 11 winner Phillip Phillips returned to the stage to perform his latest single “Love Like That.”  There was a big fan in the audience, a contestant by the name of Fritz Hager.  After Phillips finished his performance, Seacrest surprised Fritz with the announcement that he’d be performing next because he made it into the Top 20!


Pictured: FRITZ HAGER / Photo by: ABC/Christopher Willard

He said his parents viewed his music as secondary.  Fritz said music is who he is and because they viewed his dreams as secondary, he felt secondary. When he went on American Idol, he was able to fight for it.  His dad supported his decision to quit his security job.  He dreamed of being on “American Idol” since he was a kid.  Fritz sang “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish.

Lionel said he’s known Fritz for a long time and the last thing he ever thought about was crying.  “I’m crying on Fritz.  The most stellar performance.”  Katy said it’s an opportunity for people to be reborn.  She said he’ll never be misunderstood again.  We see you and “now the world sees you Fritz.”  Luke was also crying.  Luke told Fritz, “that falsetto moment could have been recorded for an album and sent out to the world.”  Fritz said with Phillip up here and then with him, it’s just a dream come true.



Katyrah grew up singing with her siblings in a group called the “Drops of Blessings”.  She was a church singer.  Her parents weren’t excited about her singing secular music.  But, that changed once she saw her on “American Idol.”  Katyrah feels singing is meant for her.   She sang “Dream” by Bishop Briggs.

Katy told her she has an incredible voice and has moments of Whitney.  She wants that variation and has some song selections for her.  Luke said her energy as a whole, she’s like a light.  Great energy, great performance and amazing vocals.  Lionel said he has difficulty with Katyrah.  But, winning their vote is one thing.  Winning America’s vote is everything.



Cameron said he started singing on his bike because no one could hear him.  After he made it to the Top 24, his brother got an “American Idol” tattoo on his rear.  He said he’ll get an “American Idol” tattoo if he makes it to the Top 10.
Luke said they get enamored on how fast he talks, etc.  ‘He really delivered and how he’s growing as an artist.  Lionel told him to enjoy his career and he’s on his way.  Katy said what a great song choice, and he’s truly changing in their eyes.



She’s struggled with nerves and getting home sick.  She got to talk  to Tori Kelly virtually.  She felt boxed-in because of her grandfather’s success.  Tori told her to channel those nerves and feel the emotion of the song.  Cadence wants to be a role model for all those other little girls.  She ang “Train Wreck” by James Arthur.

Lionel said that’s what he was praying for.  “When you get the crowd going that hot. Beat them up,”  He said great performance and she delivered the goods. Katy called it one of her best performances.  Luke said this performance got her back to her audition level, even better  She showed up “and got in the ship.”
The last two were Sir Blayke, and Lady K.


20) LADY K

Pictured: LADY K / Photo by: ABC/Christopher Willard

Lady K said it was a struggle growing up with a young single mom and her brother died by suicide.  She said she wants everyone to relate to her music.  Her story has inspired people and it’s amazing to know that she can be that light for others.  She sang “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna.

Lionel said “you have shown us all what faith is.  What compassion is.  What spirit is.  Thank you for your lesson.”  Katy said “Holy Cow, that Lady K.  She got access to the treasure chest.” She gets to play and shine like the Goddess she always has been.  Luke said he was impressed that she didn’t get over-singing.  Seacrest asked her what this moment means.  Lady K said the first half of her journey, she wanted to inspire her family.  But, if she wants to be a Grammy winning artist, she has to inspire herself.



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