'American Idol': Claudia Conway clashes with partner, other duet ends in hospitalization
Hollywood Week at "American Idol" is heating up.
On Monday's dramatic episode, the contestants who made it through Sunday's genre challenge took on the next phase of the competition: the duets round.
But these duets came with a catch. Instead of choosing their own partners, contestants were paired by judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, in an unexpected twist.
Though some duos gelled easily, others, like 16-year-old Claudia Conway and 17-year-old Hannah Everhart, needed time to find their rhythm.
"That is not what I was expecting," said Everhart, whose jaw dropped after she learned she was paired with Conway. "I was scared."
Though they're both high school students, Conway said it's clear she and Everhart come from "totally different worlds." While Conway has spent recent years in the public eye as the daughter of high-profile political figures Kellyanne and George Conway, Everhart hails from Canton, Mississippi, a small town where she says "everybody knows everybody."
"She's apparently TikTok famous," Everhart said of Conway, who has more than 1.7 million TikTok followers and has made national headlines for posting critical videos of former President Donald Trump. "But I didn't know that because I don't stay on TikTok."
The pair didn't see eye-to-eye at first, with Conway wanting to jump into rehearsals and Everhart taking time to "recollect my brain." At first, Conway couldn't even locate her partner and wandered around looking for her.
"You know, watching all the other pairs working together, collaborating — it's kind of frustrating me," Conway told the cameras. "I'm here to win. I'm here to do the best that I can, and I'm here to collaborate with my partner, but there's no partner to collaborate with."
Eventually, Conway found Everhart and they started practicing, with Perry crashing one of their rehearsals to offer some advice.
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"What I'm specifically gonna be looking for when I watch you guys is teamwork," the judge said. "You're on the same ship, and it's either going to float or sink."
So did Conway and Everhart sail through to the next round together?
After their duet of "Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles, Perry complimented the teens on their growth.
"I appreciate that you both made a conscious choice to work together," she said. "But you both didn't carve out enough individual time."
Ultimately, the judges sent Everhart through to the next round but decided Conway had reached the end of her "Idol" journey this season.
"Claudia, you're just coming to life. I can see it in you, and you're taking control of your life. I applaud you for that," Perry said. "I hope you learned a lot, and I hope you come and see us again."
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Despite the disappointing news, Conway seemed in good spirits, cheering on her duet partner and new friend.
"I'm so proud of her, because she deserves it more than anything," Conway said, before telling Everhart, "I'm gonna be cheering for you. You could win this thing."
The teens seemed to genuinely care for each other, with Everhart becoming emotional while bidding Conway goodbye.
"It has been wonderful working with you," Everhart said, tearing up. "I really appreciate your support."
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Another dramatic moment from Monday's episode came after 28-year-old Funke Lagoke and 19-year-old Ronda Felton's performance of "Tell Him" by Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion.
The judges couldn't reach a consensus about Lagoke, with Perry suggesting they cut her and Bryan rebutting that her voice "is starting to grow on me."
It came down to Richie to break the tie.
"Well, we had a clear and present disagreement," he told the contestants, adding that their duet "was a train wreck."
But before he could get out his verdict, Lagoke collapsed.
Bryan and Richie rushed to the stage, while Perry gasped and covered her face with her hands. Crew members soon arrived to check out the singer lying face-down on the floor.
Lagoke was carried out of the Dolby Theatre on a gurney, and an onscreen note revealed she was treated for dehydration and later released from the hospital.
After the shocking event, Richie gave his decision to a distraught Felton.
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"What we were gonna say is both of you deserve to go through," he said. "So I want you to know, congratulations. I know that was traumatic, but we're here for you. We're family."
The show noted Lagoke will be back in time for the next round of the competition.
"I can't say that I'm happy in this moment," Felton told the cameras. "I'm just worried about her health more than anything. I feel like that's the number one most important thing right now."
"American Idol" continues Sunday (8 EST/PST), with a brand-new showstopper round.
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