Luke Bryan 'shocked' Mike Parker didn't make 'American Idol' top 10: 'You’re gonna see some inner turmoil'
Monday night’s episode of “American Idol,” the first live episode of the season, was a jam-packed nail-biter, filled with sweet triumphs and heartbreak.
Contestants from the top 20 discovered which 10 singers clinched America’s vote and secured a spot in the top 14. The remaining 10 contestants sang their hearts out for judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie one last time, in hopes of nabbing one of the four remaining spots.
Ava Maybee, the first contestant of the night to learn her “Idol” fate, was sent through to the top 20. Maybee celebrated her placement in the top 14 with a soulful performance of Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You.”
“This is the most insane experience of my life ever,” Maybee said. “I feel so honored, so grateful to be here with everyone, and getting America’s vote means everything.”
Find out which contestants found themselves in the “danger zone” after not making the cut for the top 10:
Known for his high-energy performances, Cameron Whitcomb switched things up with a laid-back performance of “If It Hadn’t Been for Love” by The Steeldrivers.
Perry said the disappointment of landing in the danger zone may have helped focus Whitcomb’s energy, improving the quality of his vocal performance.
“That was really your best vocal that you’ve ever done,” Perry told Whitcomb after his performance. “I’m not trying to be mean, but I just wanna throw you down a couple flights of stairs because you sound better a little disappointed.”
Despite her stunning rendition of “Free Fallin’ ” last night, Allegra Miles found herself up for elimination.
On Monday night, Miles launched into a soaring performance of her original song “Tainted.” Richie said performing an original song allowed her to shine in a different way.
“Sometimes, when you’re singing other folks’ songs you can’t translate because you’re trying to interpret,” Richie told Miles after her performance. “In this case, this is your song. You wrote this song, and it showed. The passion, the emotion, the delivery: You were in control of that completely.”
After learning she landed in the danger zone, Katyrah Love served up a feel-good performance of Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire.”
Bryan complimented Love’s commitment to her performance, saying she sang “for (her) life.”
“I keep forgetting about how much this night hurts our hearts as judges, but to get that news (and) to go deliver a performance like that was amazing,” Bryan said.
Cadence Baker made her case for her place in the top 14 with a powerhouse performance of “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston.
Perry praised Baker’s growth and reminded her that regardless of the outcome, being on “Idol” could be the launching pad for a successful career.
“You have grown so much, and remember Gabby Barrett didn’t win ‘American Idol,’ but she won life and you might too,” Perry told Baker after her performance.
Sage fought for redemption with an explosive performance of “Brown Eyed Lover” by Allen Stone.
Richie complimented the way Sage “took charge” after learning she was in the danger zone.
“Your attitude was so positive, so direct,” Richie told Sage. “You owned the stage, you put your foot forward and you knocked us out.”
Platinum-ticket holder Jay also found himself in the danger zone but regardless, gave a passionate performance of “Believer” by Imagine Dragons.
Bryan was floored by Jay’s exhilarating command of the stage, calling it “a tremendous performance.”
“That performance is why we gave you the platinum ticket,” Bryan said. “I know where my heart is right now.”
Jacob Moran’s soulful performance of “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” wasn’t enough to score him a spot in the top 10. But Moran reemerged with a showstopping rendition of Katy Perry’s “Rise.”
Perry gushed over Moran’s growing artistry.
“You are in control of your future. I think you know that now,” Perry told Moran. “You have the fire. It’s at your feet, and you own it.”
Elli Rowe delivered an earnest performance of Kodaline’s “All I Want” after falling short of placement in the top 10.
While Richie acknowledged Rowe’s overall growth, he also wondered if her individuality stands out enough, calling her “a victim of so many people in your lane.”
“That’s the best performance I’ve seen, but this is about strong time now,” Richie told Rowe after her performance. “You did the best ever, but at the same time, is it enough?”
Mike Parker blazed the “Idol” stage with a white-hot performance of “Bed on Fire” by Teddy Swims for a chance at making it to the top 14.
Bryan said he was “very shocked” Parker was in the danger zone and it would make the judges’ deliberation more difficult.
“This is a crazy night where people have to walk out,” Bryan told Parker after his performance. “You’re gonna see some inner turmoil here in a minute between all of us.”
With an electric guitar in hand, Tristen Gressett left it all on the stage with an electric performance of “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” by Lenny Kravitz.
Perry said Gressett’s musical talent is undeniable.
“You are a rockstar no matter what happens to you,” Perry told Gressett after his performance. “You don’t belong in any other position. This is your path, and I think you know that now.”
Who went home?
In the end, the judges chose to save Miles, Jay, Parker and Gressett.
The lucky singers will join Maybee, Christian Guardino, Lady K, HunterGirl, Dan Marshall, Leah Marlene, Nicolina, Noah Thompson, Emyrson Flora and Fritz Hager in the top 14.
“We just wanna let you know that you guys have grown so much, and we are so proud of you,” Perry told the eliminated contestants.
"American Idol" continues Sunday at 8 P.M. EDT.