Before the top seven contestants left on American Idol could decide which song to perform this week in order to wow the viewers at home, they had to revisit the year of their birth to determine just how they could celebrate that time in music for this week’s challenge.
The group of seven also paid tribute to the late Prince, who released some of the most popular hits in the ‘80s, ‘90s and beyond. While each singer didn’t have to choose based on a certain year for that rendition, they all kept their favorites in mind while making the selection.
Country kid Caleb Lee Hutchinson went right after his roots when he sang Lonestar’s “Amazed” for his birth year choice. The vibrato doesn’t skip a beat for Hutchinson, especially when it comes to channeling the emotional content that the song is known for. He gets more comfortable with the track as the band picks up, which creates a special moment for his performance. At the end of it all, Lionel Richie reminded him to stay authentic at the end of the day rather than adapt to what’s different.
He followed it up with a country version of Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” which left the judging panel floored. Giving the credit to his diversity within his selection and the return of his guitar, Hutchinson followed his way right into the top five by earning a safe vote from America.
Gabby Barrett also stayed in the country realm for her birth year choice, with a nostalgic performance of Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” Capturing the spirit of the song with her powerful vocal, Barrett believed in herself and got through the rendition with her heart wide open toward the fans.
It was her performance of “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore?” by Prince that really got the audience adoring Barrett. Even Katy Perry gives the stamp of approval that Barrett can easily transition into the tour life with that kind of energy taking over the stage. She, like Hutchinson, moved on to next week’s competition.
Next week, the Idol contestants will be treated to a mentoring session from season four winner Carrie Underwood, who will also perform her latest single, “Cry Pretty,” during the live broadcast.
New episodes of American Idol air every Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.