American Idol 2020 Episode 8 Recap: Hollywood Week Ends With Solos - Who Will Make The Top 40?
After two trying rounds and at least one sleep-deprived night,American Idol's Hollywood Week has now reached its most crucial night — the Solo Round. Just one more song, one last chance, for the contestants to convince judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan to put them in the Top 40. Host Ryan Seacrest and mentor Bobby Bones will again be guiding both viewers and contestants through all the highs and lows of this emotionally charged night.
Before the solos begin, Ryan brings out last season's runner-up, and inspiration to many of the singers in the waiting room, Alejandro to give some tips and answer questions before they go on stage. Hopefully this helped quell their nerves as they won't be getting any feedback from the judges after their performances.
First up in Round 3 is Kimmy Gabriela. She was told she is Top 10 material and she feels like her duet didn't live up to those expectations. Kimmy wants to really impress the judges this time around so she's going for broke, choosing "I'm Here" from The Color Purple. Katy is on her feet once she finished, which makes Kimmy ecstatic as it means she met her goal.
Genavieve Linkowski is next. This is the round where she got cut last year so she's very determined to not repeat history. She chose "In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes as it's about not giving up, mirroring her fighting spirit. Katy was also especially impressed by this performance and Genavieve feels like she did enough to secure her spot to move on.
Jovin Webb, who regularly performs with a band back home, is not intimidated by the full band backing. He does "Parachute" by Chris Stapleton and felt really good about what he did on stage, like he was in his element and the band was the oomph to propel him forward.
Perrin York does "Good As Hell" by Lizzo. She is impressed by the caliber of the backing band, who just runs it once and gets it perfect, and gets well-placed high note in towards the end. After Perrin leaves the stage, Luke notes the risky song choice while Lionel adds how intimidating being on stage with that much power behind you for the first time can be. They both agree Perrin didn't get overwhelmed.
Faith Bechnel is confident before taking the stage as she's used to performing with a band, and feels blessed to reach this round. She does "Cry Baby" by Janis Joplin. Luke says to the other judges that she reminds him of Dolly Parton.
Jeb VonderBruegge picked "Rocketman" by Elton John and, after his performance, he is very hyped. He says his body is vibrating with energy.
As a callback to his first audition, Arthur Gunn has put his own twist on "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" by Clarence Clearwater Revival, arranged with a full band in mind. During his rehearsal with the vocal coach and pianist, they note it's a great idea but if the band doesn't get it on the first try, they won't be able to do it since they basically only have time for one run-through. During the stage rehearsal, it's confirmed that it's too little time for how complicated the arrangement is to learn. So Arthur plays guitar without the support. He gets a standing ovation when he finishes and actually brought tears to Lionel's eyes.
The night before, the judges mention they heard a lot of people want to do originals but they caution the contestants that not every song is at the level that will impress them enough to move them forward. But many contestants are steadfast and go full speed ahead. Robert Taylor's original is called "This Time" and Lionel and Katy don't believe it worked well enough. Amelia Kestner and her original "How I Loved You" gets similar remarks. Julia Gargano blanks momentarily on her original song's name — "Living Proof" — and also received lukewarm commentary from the judges. Jimmy Levy does a song called "Shadow" and is a cappella. Luke still really likes him but Katy adds that it wasn't going to give him the edge he was looking for.
Lauren Mascitti is also nervous about doing her original called "God Made A Woman" but remains committed because she's very proud of it. She dedicates it to her grandmother, aka "Big Hot Mama". who she brought to Hollywood with her. She manages to bring the judges to their feet when she finished, the first successful original song so far.
Sophia Wackerman and Sarah Isen are real life roommates. They met in their college a cappella group. They paired up for duets and didn't do their best, with Sarah noting it's the worst they ever sounded together. Sophia knows that was their one strike and hopes they can both make it to the next round. She's up first singing "Somewhere" from West Side Story and puts her absolute all into it, earning applause as she holds her last note that turns into a desalting ovation.
Sarah follows and does "Light On" by Maggie Rogers. She earns a hearty round of applause from the judges.
Kat Luna, who made it to this round after her boyfriend Alex Garrido (aka Space Cowboy) got cuts during duets. She was sure it was going to be the other way around. She picks "Always Remember Us This Way" by Lady Gaga and dedicates it to Alex, who is there in the audience. She hopes she did enough to impress the judges.
Franklin Boone had hoped to make it this far but wasn't sure he would, mostly because of his introverted nature. Franklin got to talk to Alejandro during his visit and thank you for giving him the confidence to not change. He performs "River" by Leon Bridges. After his performance, he says that he's proud of how far he's gotten but wants to go further for his wife and daughter.
Just Sam is happy to make it to the last round but is concerned because she has a sore throat. She gets coached up and encouraged by one of the vocal coaches after her stage rehearsal — she's determined and going to give it all she's got. She chose "I'm Here" from The Color Purple and gets the judges on their feet and clapping halfway through. Sam is really happy with her performance and Luke calls her special. Highly emotional after the performance, she believes after Hollywood Week, she'll never have to sing on the subway again.
Many constants have sore throats and most of them have barely slept. It seems to have gotten the best of some of them. Marcus Tinsley was concerned about forgetting the words. He starts "Hold Me While You Wait" by Lewis Capaldi and tried to start over. It didn't quite click for him unfortunately. Sheniel Maisonet does "How Do You Sleep" by Sam Smith and Katy notes it would've been great if she were in the right key. Talin Everett does "Bird Set Free" by Sia and also has problem staying in tune. Nick Merico on "Heaven" by Bryan Adams and Ari Saage doing "River" by Leon Bridges both try to do a lot of runs and hit high notes that don't quite land. The judges are perplexed by what's gotten into everyone so Katy goes backstage and gives upcoming contestants a pep talk/note to just be themselves. Meanwhile, Luke tells Lionel that everyone is tired and pushing too hard.
Makayla Brownlee is concerned because she doesn't handle stress well but is the first to come out after Katy's pep talk/gut check. She picked "Rainbow" by Kacey Musgraves but doesn't get a note out, instead heading off stage on unsteady feet. Katy is immediately on her feet and almost follows her off. Luke and Lionel head back stageto check on her and just let her know they're there. Her dad followed her out. She has a rare heart condition that is exacerbated by stress and triggers seizures. Makayla goes off to get looked over by a doctor (with her dad) but it is unknown if she'll make it back to complete her audition.
But the show must go on and next up is Camryn Leigh Smith singing "Always Remember Us This Way" by Lady Gaga. She chose it to show the judges she can do powerhouse songs. She gets Katy to stand up and applaud and Camryn is excited since she's been waiting to get that reaction since her initial audition.
The judges get an update on Makayla B. -- she's stabilized but they're still waiting to see if she can return.
Devon Alexander picked "Up To The Mountain" by Patti Griffin and he hopes to get the judges to feel something like he felt when he first heard the song. Lauren Spencer-Smith had never heard "The Joke" by Brandi Carlile before the day before but loved it and decided to take a risk. Both hope they did enough for it.
Makayla B. makes her return to the stage and gets a standing ovation. Take two on "Rainbow" by Kacey Musgraves. Sitting on a stool, she delivers a performance that brings tears to Katy's eyes and earns her another standing ovation. Makayla notes that her condition makes things tough but she's made it this far.
Dillon James, who acknowledges this is the most important round for him, has opted to do an original song called "Tierra Dulce". There were some smiles on the judges' faces when he finished and Dillon is happy with what he did, stating he's turning into the person he's supposed to be.
Louis Knight is also struggling with his emotions. The day of the Solo Rounds is the same day as his friend's birthday who passed a year and a half ago to suicide. All those feelings Louis has being pushing aside during Hollywood Week are surfacing and Bobby tells him there's nothing wrong with expressing emotions. He's chosen "Hold Me While You Wait" by Lewis Capaldi. His family, mom in particular, cheer loudly for him before and after. Louis thinks it went well and credits Bobby for helping him get grounded,
A plethora of people have picked "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston. Olivia Ximines hopes her dance moves will be able to get her to stand out. There is a friendly rivalry between Geena and YZTHASINGER as they did their stage rehearsals back to back. Cyniah Elise also picked it, meaning a lot of heavy hitters are stacked on this one track.
Makayla Phillips chose "Cuz I Love You" by LIzzo, which she believes is a risk since it's not what she normally does but wanted to do a song she could have fun with. Katy thinks it's the worst song she's picked. Makayla is unsure but really wants to make it through.
Margie Mays and Jonny West are both on thin ice after a shaky duet performance. Margie is trying to distance her thoughts from Jonny in order to really concentrate on her performance. Jonny is up first singing an original called "Moment". Luke exclaims "Great: when he finishes.
Margie is next doing "Lost Without You" by Freya Riding. She says she's rooting for Jonny but doesn't want to be left behind. The judges discuss her growth but Margie is unsure of how to feel about her performance.
And now the wait begins as the judges deliberate. Lionel notes that some people who you thought had a home run completely dropped the ball this round. As the judges discuss (and kinda argue about) every contestant, the contestants worry about their fates.
Everyone has been divided into three rooms. Room 1 includes Jonny, Arthur, Sophia, Franklin, Makayla P, Kimmy, Francisco Martin, Dewayne Crocker, Cyniah, and Lauren M.. Room 2 includes Margie, Jimmy, Kat, Sarah, Madison Paige, and Ari. Room 3 includes Shannon Gibbons, Louis, Jovin, Nick, and Just Sam.
The judges arrive in Room 1 and Lionel says this is a tough part for everyone. At first he says he's sending them home…but the good news is that they'll be seeing them again. Room 2 hears the happy noises and the nerves hit another level. Luke addresses this group and he wants them to know they're proud of everyone and recognizes their struggles. And this group has been cut. Lionel says there was a day where the three of them were in the same spot as them. There are hugs all around. Margie is upset but wants to know how Jonny did, vowing to support him the whole time.
Katy talks to Room 3 and tells them congratulations for making it this far, and that really is winning. She notes it's the toughest competition they've had as judges. After a long preamble, she gives them the good news and the room erupts in joy. Then the two groups who made it unite with hugs, with everyone happy expect Jonny who searches for Margie. Katy then announces they're sending them to Hollywood as the judges rain leis on everyone from the building's second floor.
The remaining contestants reunite with their families and friends and Jonny finally finds Margie. They hug and she tells him she's proud of him and wants him to have this. That she wants him to win. He still is bummed because he wants her to experience this too.
The stress of Hollywood Week is now over. Next, the Top 40 is off to Hawaii to perform in front of a live audience to determine who gets into the Top 20. And don't miss out on a first in Idol history! Come back SUNDAY at 8|7c on ABC to see if your favorite makes it through.