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American Idol Recap: Judges Use Save for Eliminated Contestant

Did you agree with their choice?

American Idol Recap: Judges Use Save for Eliminated Contestant
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Ryan Seacrest, Laci Kaye Booth; Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

Nerves had to be ridiculously high as the Top 6 contestants on ABC’s American Idol battled in another live episode for a chance to move on in the competition. With just two weeks left, it was apparent they were taking chances they hadn’t taken before, they were implementing all the advice judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie had given them and they were leaving everything on the stage.

The fate of two more contestants would be determined at the end of the episode, and this was also the judge’s last chance to use the only “save” they had left for the lives. After the May 5 show, the save option was off the table.

With the theme of “Woodstock and Showstoppers,” the night kicked off with the aspiring stars taking on songs from the 1969 music festival.

MADISON VANDENBURG: “Piece of My Heart” – Janis Joplin

KATY: “You’re not just like a stereotypical pop star…You really are getting into the groove. I don’t want you to be second. I want you to win this thing, so keep showing your teeth. The second half was better than the first half. Keep showing your teeth.”

LUKE: “You’re doing what we’re asking you every week. You’re digging in more and more every week and that’s what you gotta do and that’s what we want out of you. Great job.”

LIONEL: “What I think you’ve made very clear to all of us is you’re not just a pretty face… You brought us attitude tonight and I’m loving this attitude, because it’s that star attitude.”

LAINE HARDY: “I Don’t Need No Doctor” – Joe Cocker

LUKE: “You continue, week after week, to pick the right songs for you… your voice has that certain sweet spot and last year you didn’t know that yet, but now we’re seeing, week after week, you come out with songs that really complement what you’re about.”

LIONEL: “What I’m really appreciating is that you’re taking it to the core of who you are. You have an identity now. It is so strong to be able to have your identity connected to that voice of yours.”

KATY: “I think you’ve figured this chess game out. I think you know and I think now’s the time to scare yourself. I think you’ve got it locked in, dialed in, and now push yourself a little bit more past that point you don’t think you can go and literally push yourself into the stardom category.”

JEREMIAH LLOYD HARMON: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” – the Fisk Jubilee Singers

LIONEL: “Your vocals are just absolutely amazing and I don’t even know what the top of your range is. Would you do me a favor in the future, would you frown up just a little bit so I know it’s difficult?”

KATY: “Thank you for showing off again and showing off all those notes. I did a little investigation on you and I noticed that you were born the same day as John Lennon. I think you’re chosen.”

LUKE: “I think that’s one of your most solid performances I’ve seen out of you. It was comfortable from day one and just when I wanted you to get up and take it to another level and get up from the piano, you did. And then you showed off all these runs and you tied them in, they were so smooth and flawless.”

LACI KAYE BOOTH: “To Love Somebody” – Janis Joplin

KATY: “Your voice is so spectacular. It really reminds me of a Bonnie Raitt vibe. I just think you are a full on superstar. I think that it’s going to get tight with this show. Keep singing like you’re singing, keep picking songs like you do. I want to see a little bit more movement.”

LUKE: “I was most impressed about that performance because your voice can sometimes really get buried because it’s so smokey and sultry, but that time you really dug in and it really stood out. And you were out in front of the band and you commanded our attention with your voice more than I ever heard.”

LIONEL: “How beautiful are you tonight? Always remember one thing, remember there’s a crowd right in front of you. Play ‘em.”

ALEJANDRO ARANDA: “White Rabbit” – Jefferson Airplane

LUKE: “That really embodied the spirit of Woodstock. I don’t want to sound like I’m not complimenting you, that was really, really like a Pink Floyd type deal and that was something interesting that we haven’t seen from you.”

LIONEL: “Play the microphone stand. If you’re going to hold onto it, you did it correctly. Pull it back, talk to it, walk around it, hold onto it, but you were doing it right because the camera was playing to you.”

KATY: “That was a fantastic performance…I saw you dig in for a hot second, you were totally feeling yourself. Keep feeling yourself because it really looks good on you…that was one of your best vocal performances because you pushed yourself.”

WADE COTA: “With A Little Help From My Friends” – Joe Cocker

LIONEL: “It’s the perfect song for you. You knocked it out of the park.”

KATY: “That was the best performance I’ve seen tonight.”

LUKE: “I’m trying to come up with an adjective that doesn’t involve a cuss word on how awesome that performance was. I’m looking up here, there was a lady up here losing her mind. You just elevated the game. You just spiritually moved the whole room.”

Before the second round of performances, season 16 Idol finalist Gabby Barrett took the stage to perform her hit song, “I Hope.”

Next up, the singers got a little help from Lauren Daigle to prepare a show-stopping song that inspired them.

MADISON: “I Surrender” – Celine Dion

LAUREN: “Her vocal ability for her age is something profound.”

KATY: “I literally pointed and screamed at you when you felt it. I could really hear and see you feeling it. You’re doing exactly what we’re asking for.”

LUKE: “You finally gave us a cry in there. Where we could feel what you were talking about. You’ve been 99.9% there because you’re one of the best singers on here, but you finally got the cry right.”

LIONEL: “Your vocals are far beyond your age. You’re in another zone, to the point where you’re owning it so much now… You did that song in a Madison style.”

ALEJANDRO: “Poison” – original

LAUREN: “You can see the longing in him. If he can allow that translate on stage, he’s going to soar. It’s going to be incredible.”

LUKE: “I just pray that America truly understands how challenging and tough it is to play the guitar like you just played it. And your voice, this is the best you have sang in this competition.”

LIONEL: “Singing other folks songs is great and you’ve done a great job making that connection. Watching you sing your songs is everything. It’s instant identity.”

KATY: “First of all, that was the best you have ever sang on this show. Second of all, how wonderfully interesting it will be when you change American Idol by winning American Idol.”

LACI: “Open Arms” – Journey

LAUREN: “Her tone is so rich and full of texture.”

LIONEL: “You are looking very relaxed and you’re controlling those vocals to a tee.”

KATY: “You’re such a unique, very multi-dimensional star. You could be a country star, you could be a pop star, you could be a country pop star, you could be anything you want, just believe in it like you just did every single time and it will take you right there.”

LUKE: “Katy and I are sitting there getting emotional and I gotta think it’s because we’re just so proud of how far you’ve come from the first time we saw you.”

JEREMIAH: “Somewhere” – from West Side Story

LAUREN: “You can see it’s like he’s wanting to be released from the cage. He’s ready to fly.”

KATY: “You really took what Lauren said to heart and it was great. It did so much good for you… I was locked in every single word, every single syllable.”

LUKE: “You started a little unsure… and as a performer, that happens, but way to rally. From halfway through the song to the end was just incredible.”

LIONEL: “You cannot study mesmerizing. You cannot study audience completely locked in on you. You completely killed it tonight.”

WADE: “Through the Valley” – Shawn James

LAUREN: “His originality is insane.”

LUKE: “It feels like a total Johnny Cash moment. Locked in, you’re on it, you got your voice down, your character. Everything you’re selling us is so believable.”

LIONEL: “You have sold it to us. We’re believers.”

KATY: “You may be 27, but that voice is a thousand-years-old. You were shocked by last week’s vote and I think something changed this week where you started finally believing in yourself.”

LAINE: “Johnny B. Goode” – Chuck Berry

LAUREN: “He needs to feel liberated. Seeing that come out in him was really special.”

LIONEL: “That was the perfect song, the perfect attitude. I’m in love with what you’re doing.”

KATY: “I’m scared. It was so good! Who knew you had that in your lower body.”

LUKE: “I have nothing left to say.”

After a commercial break for the voting to wrap, the following young stars were saved:

Madison VanDenburg

Laine Hardy

Alejandro Aranda

Wade Cota

And with one save to use, the judges decided to keep Laci Kaye Booth in the competition.

The top 5 return next week for the last night of performances before the May 19 finale.