Back

American Idol Recap: Top Seven Sing For Their Moms on Mother’s Day

These performances were so special.

American Idol Recap: Top Seven Sing For Their Moms on Mother’s Day
AMERICAN IDOL - "315 (On with the Show: Disney/Mother's Day)" - "American Idol" gets closer to crowning the 2020 winner with an all-new episode revealing who America voted into the Top 7, SUNDAY, MAY 10 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.(ABC) DILLON JAMES

It seems too soon to be in the semi-final round of season 18 of ABC’s American Idol, but coaches Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, along with host Ryan Seacrest and mentor Bobby Bones are preparing themselves and the remaining contestant for the bittersweet finale of the show.

Speaking of Katy, since the live rounds began, the mom-to-be has appeared in costume as a bottle of hand sanitizer, a roll of toilet paper and, in the most recent show, Mrs. Jumbo, the mother of Dumbo. The latter was a nod to her appearance on the second Disney Family Signalong as well as Idol’s annual Disney-themed night. In addition to their Disney song performances, each of the Top Seven contestants performed a second song dedicated to their mother or the mother figure in their lives. Last season’s winner, Laine Hardy, also appeared on the show to perform his own favorite Disney hit.

America cast their votes and the Top 11 has been reduced to following Top Seven:

ARTHUR GUNN (21) – Wichita, Kansas

“I can’t believe it. I want to thank all of the people that voted for me. This is far beyond any wildest dream.”

  • Performed “Kiss The Girl” from The Little Mermaid

KATY: “Arthur, you look relaxed, you look cool, and I think, overall, you really engaged with us…it felt really relaxed and I really loved it.

LUKE: “It’s so fun watching you transition from a very soft-spoken quiet guy to this truly potentially massive recording artist and I cannot wait to hear you make a record.”

LIONEL: “Anything you sing is gonna have the Arthur Gunn stamp on it and I think that’s the most important thing to be able to sell right now is your style. You have your identity and you’re doing a great job of selling it.”

JUST SAM (21) – Harlem, New York

“I did my own make-up, just like you, Auntie Katy.”

  • Performed “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella

LUKE: Congratulations. You are certainly so deserving of Top 7. The amazing thing about your voice is how it holds up at every level.”

LIONEL: “You said, ‘When I was a kid.’ You are our kid. We watched you walk through the door and you weren’t quite sure of anything. And we watched you grow up right in front of us. And now you have America and the world voting for you.”

KATY: “I love when Idol turns Disney and we get to hear theses songs that hold special places in our hearts. I like when you gave it a little bit of gas towards the end. I wanted a little more. And remember, Sam, so many millions of people have already fallen in love with you. Whatever happens, you’re a star. Jennifer Hudson came in 7th and she got an Oscar.”

JONNY WEST (23) – Marietta, California

“I appreciate it, America. I’m speechless. I’m very moved.”

  • Performed “Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog

LIONEL: “You’re our casual assassin. You make it look so effortless. Amazing job.”

KATY: “You’ve got this concoction of Billy Joel, Randy Newman and Paul Simon. Stir those three up and that’s Jonny West for you. Good on you for picking the correct song and staying true to you while doing a Disney themed song.”

LUKE: “I love what Disney night forces people down another little path that they’re not used to. And the whole time you were performing, Jonny, I just kept thinking, ‘my God, this guy is just a pro.’”

LOUIS KNIGHT (19) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Thank you so much America. Thank you guys so much.”

  • Performed “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King

KATY: “I actually got lost in your performance thinking about your future in 10 years, you looking back at this moment and how wild this moment is for all of us, but how much more wild this is going to be for you when you’re such a massive star and you go, ‘I performed in my backyard with a ring light and an iPhone to nobody. What a time to be alive.’ You did a great job. I would say, lean in vocally to your next performance and good luck with your life because it’s going to be a good one, I think.”

LUKE: “I love just the tenderness in there. It was just really done well. It got a little linear after three-quarters of the song, but great job and you’ve got a great future, buddy.”

LIONEL: “Normally, you have a crowd and you get to feed off of that crowd, but when you’re in your backyard with just your neighbors around you, it’s kind of difficult to stay on the mark…It’s just a matter of focus, but I’m telling you, you’ve got the stroke. Just lean forward and enjoy this ride.”

JULIA GARGANO (21) – Staten Island, New York

“Oh my god, that is insane.”

  • Performed “Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast

LUKE: “You know, Julia, I love when you live in that little cry area of your voice. The song was a little bit low in my opinion, but you still own those moments and great job on the performance.”

LIONEL: “Julia, your lower register is one thing. If you’re going to say low, concentrate a little bit more on your lower register. The performance was amazing, it’s just that on this particular song, the lows did not complement you as well. Once you got to your mids and highs, you were off to the races.”

KATY: “The star quality for you is already at a ten. I loved that arrangement. I thought it was super soulful. I agree with my other judges, Luke and Lionel, just about where your voice best sets, but I think you’re a star no matter what happens and I hope you go to number-one.”

FRANCISCO MARTIN (19) – San Francisco, California

“Thank you so much. Thank you. I love you guys so much. I appreciate it. The support is so much. I can’t talk right now.”

  • Performed “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan

LIONEL: “We’re witnessing the transformation of Francisco. I saw several times during that performance, you were actually smiling at yourself while you were performing. In other words, what you’re doing now is just giving us the confidence and the enjoyment. We, as an audience, love to see that kind of emotion.”

KATY: “I thought that that performance was really amazing. I agree with Lionel, you look relaxed, all of that self-doubt has been stripped away. And what you gave us at the end is kinda what I wanted from Louis Knight. Look, this is a competition, let’s get real. There’s only one Idol and you were spot on with your performance and then at the end, you let us have it with the talent of your voice. So, good for you. You are a good bet.”

LUKE: “Great job. Just in that performance, you were the king of the jungle and you felt like king of American Idol in my opinion.”

DILLON JAMES (26) – Bakersfield, California

“Oh my gosh, you’re gonna give me a heartache. Thank you so much. Thank you America. I’m speechless. My heart’s on the ground.”

  • Performed “Our Town” from Cars

KATY: “I think you took everything we said last week and you applied it magnificently. I was engaged with your performance. You were making love to the camera. It was so sincere, it was so beautiful. I’m proud of you.”

LUKE: “There were dynamics in there, there was emotion. It just felt great from top to bottom.”

LIONEL: “You were a storyteller. I wasn’t thinking about the notes. I was watching you tell us a story. You are a true artist. I really am very happy for you.”

Before the Top 7 performed their Mother’s Day dedications, American Idol welcomed the return of last year’s winner, Laine Hardy, who gave a remote performance of “Life is a Highway” from Cars.

ARTHUR dedicated his performance to his mother, Maiya

His mother bought him his first guitar.

  • Performed “Hey Ma” by Bon Iver

LUKE: “When you get to that high part of your voice, it’s just such a natural sound for you and it’s so signature and it’s done so well. And the singing we hear from you, it’s spoiling us. You never have a bad performance.”

JUST SAM dedicated her performance to her grandmother, Elizabeth

Grandmother adopted her when she was six-years-old. Her mother was in jail for most of her life. Staying in L.A. until the pandemic blows over.

  • Performed “I Turn to You” by Christina Aguilera

LIONEL: “Sam, you’re the angel in this group. You have not had an easy road in life. No matter where this competition goes, I’ll be Papa Lionel for the rest of your life…You will know me and Luke and Katy for the rest of your life because you have touched us. That performance was just one more step closer to your dream of being Sam the star.”

JONNY dedicated his performance to his mom, Michelle

“I wanted to do something that was very reflective from what I saw growing up.”

  • Performed “Amazing Grace” (traditional hymn with additional verses written by Jonny)

KATY: “Jonny, you are so original and so talented. You’re a lot like Alejandro, but you’re not Alejandro. You’re definitely your own star. I’m 100-percent sold. I personally think you should win this competition. But even if you don’t, I bet you will have the biggest career.”

LOUIS dedicated his performance to his mother, Amanda

Admitted he was a mama’s boy. Mother bought him his first piano.

  • Performed “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor

LUKE: “You know, on the Disney song, I kinda wanted to hear more dynamics in your voice and then you gave them all to me. Great placement of the emotion of the lyrics. That was my favorite performance I’ve seen you do since we’ve been in the quarantine land of American Idol.”

JULIA dedicated his performance to her mother, Jeanne

“From the time I was little, it was really her and I doing everything together.”

  • Performed “Sweetest Devotion” by Adele

LIONEL: “That is probably the first time I have ever heard you ride the pocket and also, you gave us attitude, girl. You weren’t thinking about the song, you just delivered the song. Truthfully, that was one of the best vocals I’ve heard you do in quite a long time because you believed it. You were in that moment. Great job.”

FRANCISCO dedicated his performance to his mother, Fatima

His mother is on the front lines as a medical professional

  • Performed “River” by Leon Bridges

KATY: “From singing the song from Tarzan to singing ‘River,’ I don’t know what happened, but you have grown even more. This set of Mother’s Day songs is really separating the pack. It’s showing who deserves that top position and you are making it difficult for all these other contestants because that performance was so soulful and beautiful and real. It was so heartfelt, what you just did.”

DILLON dedicated his performance to his mother, Lindy

Lindy told the judges, “I’m just so grateful that you see him the way that I do.”

  • Performed “Hang On, Hang On” by Amos Lee

LUKE: “Dillon, you’ve really been vocal about your struggles in life and for you to be able to get through the other side and to be able to look at your mother, I can’t imagine how many sleepless nights she’s had and her love got you through it, it’s very special guys. But the bottom line is, you just did a great performance and you’re going to go very far, no matter what number you wind up finishing at American Idol. So, congratulations, congratulations Mama.”

In addition to learning the finalists and the winner for season 18 of American Idol, next week’s viewers will enjoy performances from Cynthia Erivo, Lauren Daigle, Rascal Flatts and coaches Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. In addition, coach Lionel Richie will give a special performance of “We Are the World.”