American Idol Recap: Meet Your Season 17 Top 10

Did your favorite Idol contestant make the cut?

Written by Tammy Ragusa
American Idol Recap: Meet Your Season 17 Top 10
AMERICAN IDOL – “213 (Top 10 Reveal)”- The search for America’s next superstar continues as “American Idol”‘s highly anticipated live shows begin in the heart of Los Angeles. In this episode, the Top 14 contestants will be narrowed down to 10 finalists, following a nationwide vote. Following Sunday’s overnight vote, the seven contestants with the most votes by America will be revealed, securing their spot in the Top 10. Those that are safe will perform a victory song, and the seven remaining contestants will sing to impress the judges. The judges will then choose three contestants, pushing a total of 10 talented Idol hopefuls one step closer to stardom. The high stakes reveal will air on The ABC Television Network, MONDAY, APRIL 15 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), streaming and on demand. (ABC/Eric McCandless) WALKER BURROUGHS, LACI KAYE BOOTH, JEREMIAH LLOYD HARMON, LAINE HARDY, WADE COTA, ALEJANDRO ARANDA, UCHE, DIMITRIUS GRAHAM, MADISON VANDENBURG, ALYSSA RAGHU

It is being called the most talented group in American Idol history, but after the first round of live performances, judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie, along with the viewing audience was tasked with the difficult decision of taking the Top 14 and making them the Top 10.

Now the viewing audience is responsible for seven of the singers who will go through while the judges choose three of the Top 10. Either way, it was incredibly difficult, and when Ryan asked Katy if she had a favorite yet this season, she replied, “Yes, I have 14 favorites.” She went on to say, “We’re so invested in these kids and we want the world for them, it’s really up to the stars aligning.”

Fortunately for all the viewers, all contestants were singing, whether it was a victory performance or a song to keep them in the competition.

First out of the contestant’s holding tank was Madison VanDenberg, whom the judges have compared to Kelly Clarkson. Apparently, America agrees as Madison became the first contestant to make it to Top 10. And for her victory performance, she delivered Lady Gaga’s “You and I” big time.

Evelyn Cormier was next on the stage to get the results of America’s voting. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in Evelyn’s favor. Singing for her life and a second chance, she performed the Kansas classic, “Dust In the Wind.”

And the judges said -
LIONEL: “The situation is, there’s so many opinions in the world. This is not the end by any chance. This is probably the beginning of your long career. I love your voice.”
KATY: “You were such a pro. You were graceful, you’re beautiful, I’m a huge fan of you, and I think you’re on your way to becoming a spectacular artist.”
LUKE: “You said early on, every time you came out to sing, I was kinda trying to figure out your style. I think you have some people that like your style and some people that it’s not their thing, but that has never stopped artists from going on to do something very undeniable in their lane, so don’t this America’s vote and let it start changing what you are.”

Early favorite Walker Burroughs joined host Ryan Seacrest on stage next, but before any news was delivered, the young singer shared the news that his local Bruster’s ice cream shop had named a flavor for him. The Honey Nut Cheerios, peanut butter, vanilla ice cream concoction earned the moniker “Good Heavens.”

We wonder if he’ll earn a new Top 10 flavor since America voted to push the young Harry Potter lookalike through to the next round of competition. And after he sang “Lovebug” by the Jonas Brothers, he and the judges shared a carton of his signature confection.

Ryan stepped back to the contestant’s lounge to deliver the news to young Riley Thompson who, unfortunately, wasn’t automatically advanced. Singing to stay in the show, she selected the Don Williams country classic “It Must Be Love.”

And the judges said -
LUKE: “Great song choice. As we keep saying, we can see where your confidence was a little shaken, and I don’t blame you one bit for that. But I love the song choice. It embodies what you’ve given us throughout this competition. You’ve really picked some great songs.”
KATY: “I think you’ve really grown on this competition, and you’re 16.”
LIONEL: “This is a tennis match. Forget the point. It’s all about the game, and right now you have a shot at the game of the entertainment business. You’ll be back. I’m not even worried about it.”

Back in the contestant’s lounge, fan and judge favorite, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon was escorted by Ryan to the main stage to hear his verdict. Before making it there, though, they paused to discuss the fact that Elton John had tweeted about the rising star’s performance of “We All Fall In Love Sometimes,” from the night before. It seems that Elton isn’t the only Jeremiah fan. America decided the talented tunesmith was Top 10 material. And he proved it by performing an original song for his victory anthem.

Out on the big stage, Alyssa Raghu was up. This was Alyssa’s second swing at American Idol. The last time she auditioned, she didn’t make it into the Top 14, but this time, American wasn’t sure if she belonged in the Top 10. She may have proved otherwise, though, when she belted out her cover of Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away.” With tears rolling down her cheeks, she told Ryan she felt super grateful and thanked the judges.

And the judges said -
LUKE: “I want to applaud you for what you went through last year and then coming back and retooling and overhauling your persona. You came back with the voice, but then you came back with this whole other shining light that you went out and worked on. If you always commit that much to music, it will pay you back. Great job.”
KATY: “How dare you come out and sing that song a hundred times better than me. Alyssa, that was so beautiful and you have just grown into a gorgeous young woman. I think this has been a really important master class. I think you’ve learned so much and you’ve got so much time. It’s gonna happen if you do like Luke said. Keep applying yourself.”
LIONEL: “It’s your heart and it’s your drive, and for 17-years-old, you have done it all—that we’ve asked of you and all we could ask of you, you’ve done it many, many times with rejection, with that smile on your face and said, ‘I’m here one more time.’ At 17, the sky is the limit for you.”

Wade Cota took the stage and Ryan wasted no time sharing the news that he had made it to the Top 10. America wants to hear more from this unique vocal stylist, and they got it in spades as he performed Lynyrd Skynyrd’s quintessential southern rocker, “Simple Man.”

Next up was the classically trained Dimitrius Grahm. Although Dimitrius’ live performance earned rave reviews from the judges, America chose not to put him in the Top 10. The talented young man took it in stride, though, and delivered a chilling rendition of “When the Party’s Over” by Billy Eilish.

And the judges said -
LUKE: “Great choice of song and maybe the most you’ve ever had me emotionally connected to what you’re doing. I hung on every word and way to fight.”
KATY: “You know, it’s true, you can sing any note in the world, but I wanted to hear that heart come through and I think you brought it tonight because I think it hurts and we can feel that. So, I want you to always remain an emotional singer because it’s not about technicality, it’s about connection.”
LIONEL: “Tonight was your performance that told us all that there is more to you. If I can get you to just believe in you, you were born enough. Stand on top of your emotions.”

Laci Kaye Booth took the stage next, knowing that she took a risk with her live performance of Blink 182’s “I Miss You.” The risk paid off and the talented Texan took her victory lap with Fleetwood Mac’s “As Long As You Follow.”

In spite of his flamboyant performance of “Bennie and the Jets” during the live performances, Eddie Island didn’t have the voters on his side. However, maybe Elton John was a bit out of his wheelhouse because his cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” as his final plea seemed a bit more in his comfort zone.

And the judges said -
LUKE: “Eddie, we have loved your personality from day one. For some reason, vocally, the last couple of nights, and it may be song choices, but I haven’t heard vocally out of you what I was crossing my fingers to hear.”
KATY: “I just really know what kind of artist you are and yes, this is a singing competition, but no, it’s not a singing competition, it’s an idol competition. I think you do still have some room for growth and that’s OK. You need to keep growing every single day. I thought last night’s performance wasn’t your best and I think you get nervous, that’s all.”
LIONEL: “What started out, if I remember correctly, is a dare, look where it got you. Katy is right about one thing: it’s a competition. And it’s not because you aren’t good and gifted, the competition is fierce. Take your rightful place in the class of 14 and celebrate. You’ve come a long way.”

In one of the biggest surprises of the night, talented Ashley Hess discovered that America had not voted her through to Top 10. Singing for her life, the earthy vocalist demonstrated another dimension of her talent by performing Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.”

And the judges said -
LUKE: “Let me tell you what fearless is. We have told you time and time again, stay behind the piano. And then you walk up here, fighting for your life, and you give your most comfortable, natural performance without your piano.”
KATY: “It’s like you have nothing left to lose. That was the best performance from you I’ve ever seen.”
LIONEL: “They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You were outside your comfort zone. You did a great job.”

It would have been hard to believe that anyone could find fault with Laine Hardy’s performance of “That’s All Right” during the live rounds. It seems that no one did and the repeat Idol contestant was voted to the Top 10. Thank goodness for that victory number, though, because viewers got to hear the Louisiana native deliver one swampy good version of Levon Helm’s “Hurricane.”

With time ticking, Ryan brought both Alejandro Aranda and Uché on the stage together to learn who would claim the final spot from America’s votes. It was no surprise that Alejandro was continuing on in the competition, but it was a big surprise that Uché was competing for an opportunity to remain.

Much to the delight of viewers, Alejandro sang an original song, “Cholo Love,” before Uché took the stage to give the performance of his life—Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”

And the judges said -
LUKE: “It’s so tough. I don’t understand how American can’t feel the electricity that this young man puts out.”
KATY: “I think you are a man of many different hats. You can do so much and I think you are learning the art of entertaining so well. Such a big fan.”
LIONEL: (Rushed to the stage to hug him, bringing the young star to tears) “We are not in the singing business. We are in the entertaining business. You are a performer. A lot of people can sing. Very few can sing and perform. This is an entertainer. And where an entertainer belongs…follow me, young man…”

And with that, Lionel led him to the Top 10 side, using his “save” on a very deserving Uché.

Giving Bobby Bones a voice, Ryan asked who he would put into the remaining two slots and he chose Dimitrius and Riley.

But it was up to Katy and Luke.

“I have changed my mind three times tonight, but I have to lean on just the sheer emotion I felt,” Luke said. “Dimitrius.”

With one spot left, an emotional Katy said, “All things considered, everyone that is standing on stage is fantastic. I’ve seen so much growth from all of you. I hate doing this. I have to pick one and you better fight for your life the next time you sing, Alyssa Raghu.”

Congratulations to the season 17 American Idol Top 10:
Madison VanDenburg
Walker Burroughs
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon
Wade Cota
Laci Kaye Booth
Laine Hardy
Alejandro Aranda
Uché – picked by Lionel
Dimitrius Graham – saved by Luke
Alyssa Raghu – saved by Katy