‘American Idol’ recap: And then there were 11

The results are in — Who made the American Idol Top 10?

Before getting down to business, a prerecorded at-home performance of “Home” by Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips played as a montage of the contestants enjoying quarantine life cut in and out. The song is right on-brand with this week’s theme, which tasked the remaining hopefuls with picking a song that is inspired by or reminds them of home.

Host Ryan Seacrest returned with judges Luke Bryan and Lionel RichieKaty Perry is back as well this time dressed as a giant roll of toilet paper. 

First to be declared safe from elimination was Louis Knight. The blonde, who mentor Bobby Bones called a “heartthrob,” performed “In My Place” by Coldplay. The song choice was made when he stumbled upon a video of his family celebrating Christmas and the song was playing in the background.

“Holy Canoli” was all that New Yorker Julia Gargano could say after finding out she made the Top 10. After giving a pun-filled tour of her home, where she is quarantined with family, she revealed her song choice as Billy Joel‘s “New York State of Mind” due to the state and New York City, in particular, has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her performance left Luke “speechless” and had Katy on her knees hailing Julia’s talents.  

Taking a break from unveiling which contestants made it through to the next round, Katy chatted with Charlie Puth to give the remaining American Idol hopefuls some advice on artist identity. Delivering a simple but valid point, Charlie advised them to remain true to themselves and not try to be anyone else. 

Next to make it through was Jovin Webb. He took on Allen Stone‘s “Voodoo” as a nod to his New Orleans roots after he was officially announced as a member of the Top 10. Similarly, Grace Leer, who lives Nashville but is quarantining with family in Danville, California, paid tribute to her homes with a lovely rendition of Judy Garland‘s classic hit “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” because, for Grace, “Home just means family and being with the people that I love.” 

Jonny West joined the above contestants and performed “Faithfully” by Journey which left Katy comparing him to the talented Season 17 runner-up Alejandro Aranda

Up next to deliver some sound tips to the Top 20 are Luke and Darius Rucker. The country artists talked about the importance of stage presence and dished out some tips to the singers on how to read the crowd and keep them engaged. 

Giving an “upper echelon” performance and also effectively earning one of the coveted Top 10 spots was Sophia James who chose “In My Room” by The Beach Boys as her song for this week’s theme for the simple fact that she performed in her room. 

Also, keeping things simple was Arthur Gunn who made his song choice of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver based on the place he grew up. For Arthur, the record gives off a sense of “nostalgia” and “happy energy” which he hoped would encourage people to “stay positive” and “stay awesome” as the world copes with the implications of the coronavirus. He stayed consistent with his previous performances and put his spin on the record, this time a reggae vibe, which wooed the judges. 

As the number of advancing slots dwindle, the inspirational Just Sam claimed her place, next. Unlike most of the other contestants, Sam stayed in Los Angeles instead of returning home in an effort to keep her grandmother safe from the outbreak. However, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss her grandmother and she proved that by dedicating her soulful cover of “Grandma’s Hands” Bill Withers to her. 

Last to hit up a fellow A-list celebrity pal for advice was Lionel who discussed the art of songwriting with the legend that is Stevie Wonder

Rounding out the Top 10 and taking the last two spots were Dillon James and Francisco Martin. Dillon delivered a smooth rendition of “Yesterday” by The Beatles in light of him enjoying time with family as they make the best of the current unfortunate situation.

Meanwhile, Francisco opened up about quarantine being hard and his anxiety levels rising because of his mother’s essential job as a nurse. He didn’t let that affect him, though, and left Katy in tears with his performance of James Arthur‘s “Falling Like The Stars,” a song reminiscent of his childhood and running errands with his mother. 

Now that America’s Top 10 has been selected the judges have an important decision to make: Will they use their one and only save to push one more contestant through to the next round? 

Luckily for Makayla Phillips, they do! She shared that she’s been home-schooled since second grade and that her father is a first responder. Paying homage to her family, she showed Katy, Lionel, and Luke why they made the right decision to save her when she gave a stunning performance of “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert

With Makayla’s advancement, the Top 10 has now become the Top 11 sending home nine American Idol hopefuls — Dewayne Corcker Jr.Nick MericoOlivia XiminesKimmy GabrielaFaith BecnelCyniah EliseLauren Spencer-SmithAliana Jester, and Franklin Boone.

Next week, the list will shrink even further as the Top 11 becomes the Top 7.

American Idol returns Sunday, May 10. 

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