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American Idol Recap: Cyniah Elise and Makayla Phillips Duet Earns Standing Ovation From Judges

No more group rounds for American Idol!

Written by Tammy Ragusa
American Idol Recap: Cyniah Elise and Makayla Phillips Duet Earns Standing Ovation From Judges
AMERICAN IDOL - "307 (Hollywood Week)" - "American Idol"'s new Hollywood Week continues SUNDAY, MARCH 22 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC, with the surprise of the all-new duets round. While contestants anticipate the infamous group rounds, they are in for a shock when the judges announce they have to pick just one partner to duet with on The Orpheum Theatre stage. One pair's tensions run high as they can't agree on a song, while sparks fly with another pair. Two pop divas come together for a powerful rendition of a Celine Dion song; and later, one pop vocalist and one country singer team up to wow the judges with their unexpected harmony. (ABC/Eric McCandless) MAKAYLA PHILLIPS, CYNIAH ELISE

Oh, those zany American Idol producers. Just when we thought we knew what to expect, they start throwing twists and turns into the program. Last week, the contestants who made it through to Hollywood were challenged to choose a specific genre to perform in. This week, the group performances were traded for a much more difficult and tension-filled “Duets Challenge” that gave judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie a better taste of what each singer was capable of. “You have to pull your own weight in duets,” Katy explained while Lionel tweeted, “Duets is mostly listening, interplay between artists. I’ll cover you, you cover me.”

With a hefty bunch of contestants still in the competition, viewers didn’t get to enjoy all of the pairings perform, but at the end of the night, there were plenty of very magical moments — also plenty of mayhem and a bit of heartbreak, too.

LOUIS KNIGHT and FRANCISCO MARTIN

Chose each other because they heard they were being compared to each other, then met and had a connection.

  • Performed “Break Even” by The Script

Francisco was obviously nervous and lost his place in the song.

LUKE: “You need to trust us and the people around us that you are that good because you are.”

KATY: “We have a lot of hope in the both of you, but unfortunately only one will win. But you two, you’re both going through.”

  • BOTH advance to the next round

MADISON PAIGE and PEYTON ALDRIDGE

Peyton went MIA during song selection and rehearsal time. He was at the gas station buying chicken wings.

At the last minute, Peyton decided to play guitar even though they had sound checked with piano. Peyton apologized to Madison after the performance.

LIONEL: “The opening was pretty much like buckshot. It was everywhere…Peyton, we’re very touched by your humility and honesty.”

  • BOTH advance to the next round

ZACK DOBBINS and COURTNEY TIMMONS

Originally wanted to perform “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood, then switched to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, then changed again. Before the performance, Zack, who didn’t know the lyrics, flippantly said, “This is not a memorizing contest, it’s a singing contest.”

  • Performed “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande

KATY: “Obviously, it was kind of a bummer.”

LIONEL: “You can give up backstage, you can give up at home, you can give up in my mind, wherever you want to give up, but you never give up on stage. Never. When you walk out on this stage, fake it. And if you have a partner with you, never leave your partner alone.”

  • NEITHER advances to the next round

ALIANA JESTER and YZTHASINGER

Everyone commented on their chemistry, but she has a boyfriend and they insist it’s a musical connection.

  • Performed “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor

LUKE: “Your first harmonies were really, really tasteful…you work great together.”

  • BOTH advance to the next round

TRAVIS FINLAY (25) and GENAVIEVE LINKOWSKI

Travis made Genavieve audition for him before they became a team.

  • Performed “The Prayer” by Celine Dion

Received a standing ovation from the judges.

KATY: “Travis, I thought you were so good and your choices were great and they were surprising. Genavieve, you’ve grown so much in two years, but you still need to grow some more. Grow more because you’re going through.”

  • BOTH advance to the next round

KAT LOPEZ and ALEC GARRIDO (formerly Kat Luna and Alejandro “Space Cowboy” Garrido)

They are an actual couple as well as duet partners for this round.

  • Performed “You Say” by Lauren Daigle
  • KAT advances to the next round and Alec was sent home

MARGIE MAYS and JOHNNY WEST

Another actual couple, nerves were getting the best of Johnny during rehearsals.

  • Performed “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor

KATY: You both are barely passing on to the next round.”

  • BOTH advance to the next round

CYNIAH ELISE and MAKAYLA PHILLIPS

When the started rehearsing, Makayla didn’t know the song and there were concerns as both are powerhouse singers.

  • Performed “The Prayer” by Celine Dion

Standing ovation from the judges.

LUKE: “That was like a movie!”

KATY: “You guys sang that so well, you did it such justice.”

  • BOTH advance to the next round

TITO REY and ROBERT TAYLOR

Met and hit it off immediately. Ignored the vocal coach’s advice to be thoughtful with their vocal runs.

  • Performed “Say So” by P.J. Morton

LIONEL: “What we just witnessed was vocal gymnastics. I don’t know how to judge it because it was too acrobatic. The chance for you all to personally can hit every possible note there is in the universe…it was not the greatest.”

  • ROBERT advances to the next round and Tito was sent home

JUST SAM and SHENIEL MAISONET

Just Sam melted down before they finished rehearsing. Sheniel found her, hugged her and said, “Sometimes you just need a friend.” And, maybe a few hours of sleep.

  • Performed “Mercy” by Shawn Mendes

LUKE: “You know what I’m loving about you two is you’re just getting better and better and better, and you’re getting more and more and more confidence. Sam, I couldn’t take my eyes off of watching you perform.’

LIONEL: “But, honestly, you’re giving us drama. To sing the song is one thing, but to act the song is everything.”

  • Both advance to the next round

Other singers who are confirmed to advance to the next round include:

GRACE LEER

LAUREN MASCITTI

JIMMY LEVY

NICK MERICO

ISA PINA

OLIVIA XIMINES

FAITH BECNEL

JOVIN WEBB

LANDEN STARKMAN

PERRIN YORK

EVAN KURIGA

DILLON JAMES

ELYJUH RENE

KIMMY GABRIELLA

It’s another two-fer week of American Idol with Hollywood rounds continuing on Monday, March 23 with solo competition. Then, on March 29 and 30, the show moves to Hawaii for the finals in the pre-recorded finals.

Due to the rapid growth of COVID-19 and officials’ requesting Americans to shelter-at-home in order to flatten the curve, all of the contestants have been sent home. The status of the upcoming live rounds and finals is unknown at this point.