American Idol Recap: Just Sam Stuns Judges With All-Spanish Selena Cover

Here's who made it into the Top 20 (so far)...

Written by Tammy Ragusa
American Idol Recap: Just Sam Stuns Judges With All-Spanish Selena Cover
AMERICAN IDOL - "310 (Hawaii Showcase and Final Judgment Part #2)" - "American Idol'''s previously recorded Hawaii Showcase concludes the Final Judgment round at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai'i, SUNDAY, APRIL 5 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. The remaining top 40 contestants perform in a concert showcasing their artistry before awaiting their final judgment for a spot in the coveted top 20. Tune in to watch as the remaining top 40 leave the judges with difficult, heartbreaking decisions and a shocking first-ever twist in the show's history for two contestants that no one saw coming. (ABC/Karen Neal) JUST SAM

As America learns that social distancing guidelines have been extended through the month of April, a ray of sunshine emerged. Season 18 of ABC’s American Idol continued in sunny Ko Olina, Hawaii at the Aulani Resort. Host Ryan Seacrest and mentor Bobby Bones, along with judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie returned, feeling more like friends in this trying times, and the performances from each of the aspiring superstars was a much-needed dose of musical therapy.

Before the show started, though, Ryan broadcasted a message from his home explaining that due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the live rounds of American Idol had been postponed and that anything viewers were seeing now was pre-recorded.

The show kicked off with Katy, Lionel, Luke, Ryan and Bobby enjoying some sunshine and hang time with Mickey and Minnie at the tropical Disney locale, but on the other side of the competition, tension in the contestants was at 11. The Hawaii showcases are the last chance to make it to Top 20 and the finals where America gets to vote. However, even that is on hold as the nation is under the grips of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Hawaii is a new level of competition, though. Singing in front of unfamiliar faces on an outdoor stage with full band arrangements got the best of some. And others more than rose to the occasion.

NICK MERICO (24) – Woodland Hills, California

LIONEL: “When we first met, we bumped heads. I love confidence, but you need to dial it back and give us work.”

  • Sang “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars (chose the song for his Mom)

LIONEL: “I have to admit something. I didn’t think you’d make it this far. But something changed in me – I went from not liking you, to admiring you.”

  • TOP 20

MAKAYLA BROWNLEE (17) – Wellington, Kansas

Before she performed, Bobby called his friend, Ingrid Andress, to give Makayla a pep talk. She had passed out during the solo round in Hollywood.

  • Sang “More Hearts Than Mine” by Ingrid Andress (changed up the arrangement dramatically)

LUKE: “That song is very tender. I can’t believe she changed it up that much.”

LUKE: “I”m so inspire by watching your story and your challenges. You have scared the dickens out of us. It’s just been amazing to watch you fight. You have so many unique qualities to your voice.”

LIONEL: “Adrenaline can have a funny affect on your voice.”

LUKE: “I don’t think last night was your strongest performance and we’re at the tie in the competition where not everyone is going to make it through.”


DEWAYNE CROCKER JR. (23) – Pensacola, Florida

LIONEL: “Dewayne, last night when I saw you walk out on stage with that cowboy hat, I thought, ‘who the heck is this with the cowboy hat on?’ We have really been wrestling with you. This was a very hard decision for us. Now, what is your great-grandma gonna wear when you go back to Hollywood.”

  • TOP 20

CAMRYN LEIGH SMITH (16) Acworth, Georgia

  • Sang “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobbs (wanted to sing about the most important thing to her)

LIONEL: “For some weird reason, I didn’t connect.”

KATY: “Last night, we were looking for a risk and it felt like you went back into that safe zone of knowing you are a fantastic worship leader…but here at American Idol we’ve got to see that growth. What you have is absolutely God given. God has a plan for you, you know that, unfortunately, it’s not going to be on American Idol.”


DEVON ALEXANDER (23) – Sonora, California

  • Sang “Tell Me Love You” by Demi Lovato

JORDAN JONES (26) – Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Sang “Redbone” by Childish Gambino

GEENA FONTANELLA (27) – Los Angeles, California

  • Sang “Finesse” by Bruno Mars

LOUIS KNIGHT (19) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Sang “Castle On the Hill” by Ed Sheeran (makes him think of going home)

Rehearsals weren’t good, Bobby gave him a pep talk.

KATY: “Listen, we don’t like to bet on people, but we might have a side bet going on and the bet is getting shaky. You need to get out of your head, you need to get back to your heart…we love you, but your future, based on last night, was not there. But the thing about American Idol is we take dice rolls. You go home, you figure out what you’ve got to do to win this competition.”

  • TOP 20

FRANCISCO MARTIN (19) – San Francisco, California

  • Sang “Falling” by Harry Styles

Was very emotional following his performance: “Thinking about all of the people I’ve lost.”

KATY: “I don’t really recognize who you are anymore, especially what you did last night and that’s a good thing.”

LIONEL: “When the girls scream, did you see what he turns into?”

LUKE: “What I’m proud about is you’re figuring out how to be a real artist. You check every box. I have a feeling great things are going to happen to you in this experience.”

  • TOP 20

JOVIN WEBB (29) – Gonzales, Louisiana

LIONEL: “In our business we look for a little instant identity. In your case, you were very good at delivering that.

  • Sang “You Are the Best” by Ray LaMontagne

LIONEL: “Last night, you did not hit all the notes, but for us, you have a sound that will work for you in this business…the toughest part about this is, you’re in our Top 20.”

  • TOP 20

FAITH BECNEL (21) – Destrehan, Louisiana

  • Sang “Ain’t Nobody” by Rufus and Chaka Khan

LUKE: “We’ve kind of picked your voice a part a little bit. Last night was not a step up for you, personally, but we still love your personality, we still love what you’re potentially going to grow into.”

  • TOP 20

AMBER FIEDLER (23) – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

  • Sang “Good Kisser” by Lake Street Dive

LUKE: “You’ve had an incredible journey. Since we met you, you’ve had a child. It’s an emotional thing you’re going through. From the day we met you, we have loved your tone, we have loved what you’ve given us vocally.”

KATY: “Every time it has grown one notch, but was it one notch last night?”

LUKE: “We hope this journey gives you tons of confidence. We hope that it has.”


JUST SAM (21) – Harlem, New York

  • Sang “Como La Flor” by Selena (sang in Spanish)

Katy watched the entire performance on her feet with her jaw unhinged.

Standing ovation from the judges

LUKE: “How do you not love her?”

KATY: “Last night, you walked on that stage and you were the definition of elegance. You were beautiful and feminine. I was using the word ‘metamorphosis.’”

LIONEL: “I couldn’t have been more proud if you were my own child.”

  • TOP 20

JONNY WEST (23) – Murietta, California

His girlfriend, Margie, didn’t make it through Hollywood.

  • Sang “You Found Me” by The Fray

Standing ovation from the judges

KATY: “Oh my gosh. I get it Margie. I get why you’re obsessed with him now.”

KATY: “I think you’re a real serious artist. That can also mean that you can have some intense thoughts. It seems like you’re playing a little of the self-sabotage game.

LIONEL: “Too much ego will crash you into the wall. Not enough ego will hold you back, so you’re going to constantly have this battle going the rest of your life.”

  • TOP 20

DILLON JAMES (26) – Bakersfield, California

  • Sang “The Times They Are a-Changing” by Bob Dylan

KATY: “He looks like a star. I wish he’d lean into that emotional side of his voice.”

LIONEL: “You have come through a tunnel and last night you came out of that tunnel. What we have now is competition all around. We have to cut some great talent…”

CLIFFHANGER!  Yep, viewers won’t find out Dillon’s destiny until the Hawaii rounds pick back up next Sunday, April 5. At a glance, the following are confirmed Top 20 singers:

Nick Merico
Dewayne Crocker Jr.
Louis Knight
Francisco Martin
Jovin Webb
Faith Becnel
Just Sam
Jonny West