American Idol 2020 Episode 9 Recap: Final Performances In Hawaii - Who Will Make The Top 20?

American Idol 2020 Episode 9 Recap: Final Performances In Hawaii - Who Will Make The Top 20?

After the very stressful Hollywood Week, American Idol' Top 40 has come to Hawaii for a little bit of relaxation, a lot of performances, and ultimately deciding who gets into the Top 20 and the chance at earning America's vote. The contestants get one last performance, this time in front of a crowd, to convince judges Katy PerryLionel Richie, and Luke Bryan that they deserve one of those coveted spots. After deliberation (and some fighting), the judges then deliver the news to the singers one at a time.

The episode opens with a message from host Ryan Seacrest hoping everyone at home is safe and healthy, a sentiment we can all agree with, and hoping these prerecorded performances bring a ray of sunshine into viewers' homes. Ryan, along with mentor Bobby Bones will be around for the contestants to help them with the highs and lows of the process.

Nick Merico is the first contest to hear the good or bad news. His second time Idol, Lionel begins their discussion with revisiting his audition this time through where Lionel gave him an ego check. Nick says he worked on himself after that audition.  For his final performance, he sang "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars. Lionel admits that he didn't expect Nick to make it this far and was surprised that he went from not liking him to appreciating him. And with that, Nick is in the Top 20.

Next is Makayla Brownlee who has a condition where stress triggers seizures, which happened before her Solo Challenge performance in Hollywood Week. However, she was able to return and perform. While she found it embarrassing, seeing the judges and audience give her a standing ovation made her feel good. While talking to Bobby, he video-called Ingrid Andress since she's singing her song — "More Hearts Than Mine".  Luke noted what she hoped, which is how much she changed it, and was surprised that she took such a chance. Makayla was overcome with emotion at the end. Luke says how inspired he is by watching her performances and her fight. He asks why she changed the arrangement and she says that she wanted them to see a peppier side of her. Lionel notes that sometimes you get too hyped when you get on stage, and that's what he believes happened to her. Unfortunately, she doesn't get a spot this year but Katy adds she's the strongest person in the competition.

Dewayne Crocker Jr. brought his mom, grandmother, AND great grandmother among other family members to Hawaii. He's very close with all the women in his family and has enjoyed spending quality time with them all. His great grandmother crashed his audition (wearing a fabulous leopard print dress) and danced with Lionel and she talks about it every time Dewayne talks to her. Dewayne decided to put a Reggae spin on "Old Town Road (Remix) by Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus. The performance gets Lionel on his feet and dancing, urging the other judges to join him.  He ends with a tip of his cowboy hat. Lionel says they'd been wrestling with what to do with him, then asks what his great grandmother will wear in Hollywood since he's in the Top 20.

16-year-old Camryn Leigh Smith had a rough start in Hollywood Week, as she is mainly a church singer and not accustomed to this sort of process and stress, but she rose to the challenge and finished it out strong. She chose "Break Every Chain" by Tasha Cobbs Leonard, a gospel song that's very much in her wheelhouse, and put her all into it. Katy notes how much they have in common, as she was very much like Camryn when she started out. Katy says they were looking for a risk in her last performance but felt that Camryn went back to a safe space. She says that God has a plan for her but that doesn't include being on Idol right now, adding that no one's telling Camryn to change and she'll continue to grow and figure out where that path goes.

We get the next couple performances in succession. Devon Alexander sings "Tell Me You Love Me" by Demi Lovato and was nervous because he'd never performed on a stage that big before.

Jordan Jones chose "Redbone" by Childish Gambino and grooves on stage, stating that he wanted to show the judges he can take notes by chilling out on the runs and really presenting who he is.

Geena does "Finesse" by Bruno Mars, starting it off slow and picking up the tempo and the energy.

While they all get some great comments, Lionel notes that they're going to have to cut some great artists and all three will be going home.

Louis Knight speaks with Bobby about having the support of his family and friends there and how his song choice, "Castle On The Hill" by Ed Sheehan, really reflects his feelings about it. After a so-so rehearsal, he gets some tips from Bobby. Performing barefoot, Katy notes that it wasn't his best performance and he needs a good talking to. When Louis comes to hear his results, Katy tells him to get back to singing from his heart and to get out of his head. She notes that based on last night, it wasn't there. So he needs to go home and figure it out before he comes back for the Top 20.

Next up is Francisco Martin, who has been battling bad nerves since his very first audition. While in Hawaii, Bobby talks to him about his self-confidence again. Francisco explains that he used to be very talkative, but hit a dark patch in 2019 where he isolated himself and felt very low. His song choice of "Falling" by Harry Styles serves as a sort of apology. Luke was jumping up and down on his chair at the end of the performance. Francisco got choked up after as he was channeling his emotions and thinking about people he'd lost. When meeting to find out his results, all three judges note how much growth he's shown, particularly with being comfortable on stage. Luke says this whole process is doing wonders for him and lets him know his progress will continue -- he's in the Top 20.

Jovin Webb is the next to talk to the judges. Lionel says in this business, they look for instant identity and that Jovin is great at that. He continued to express that identity by singing "You Are The Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne for his final performance. Jovin notes he's sacrificing time with his young son but is taking care of business for him. He wants a spot in the Top 20 more than he wanted anything. Luke says he has a lot of signature artist qualities and he'll have to keep building on it. And he'll be building it in the Top 20.

Faith Becnel, who got coached up by Katy during her initial audition, notes how much she's ready to fight for this opportunity. She's played at a lot of festivals and events back in Louisiana, which the setup in Hawaii reminds her of. Faith picks "Ain't Nobody" by Rufus and Chaka Khan and immediately connects with the audience. Luke says they're invested in her because she's intriguing and fun, reeling people in with her personality. He notes that her performance was a bit of a step back into habits they'd already tried to break…but she's done enough to get her in the Top 20.

Amber Fielder -- who in 3 months auditioned while pregnant, gave birth, finished the open adoption process she began, and survived Hollywood Week -- performs "Good Kisser" by Lake Street Dive for her last song. She felt really good about it after and gave it her all. When Luke asks how Amber felt about it, she says wouldn't have changed a thing because she felt her grandmother on the stage with her for the first time. Luke says it was a bit unbridled and she needs to keep that energy but keep a handle on her vocals. With that, he breaks the bad news that she has been cut, but they all tell her how much they believe in her.

Before Just Sam makes that long walk to the judges, she doesn't even know what to think since she's seen so many great singers go home. Bobby talks to her about how far she's come and he notes how she'll be an inspiration to other people. She says that every time she takes the stage, she feels the support of everyone there, especially the judges. Taking a bit of a risk, she sang "Como La Flor" by Selena in here final performance, which had Katy open-mouthed in shock and brought her to her feet. During judgement, Katy says she was the definition of elegance on stage. Lionel says he couldn't have been more proud if she were his own daughter. He notes how free she seemed and Sam admits it's the first time she's felt comfortable and beautiful. Luke tells her to remember that whenever she walks into the room, they start smiling. He tells her to go home, pack her bags, and come back for the Top 20.

Jonny West auditioned with his girlfriend and second-timer Margie Mays. She was part of the group eliminated at the of Hollywood Week and Jonny tells Bobby that he never even thought that he would still be there without her. Jonny is nervous because Hawaii is where Margie got cut last year and he's feeling some self-doubt. Without her beside him in the competition, he's having some issues managing his feelings. He has his parents there, who always supported his music and talked him out of pursuing a career in trucking, as well as Margie in a purely support capacity. He chose "You Found Me" by The Fray for his last performance. At judgement, Katy says she thinks he's a real serious artist which means he's probably having some self-sabotaging thoughts. Lionel says the definition of an artist is an egotistical maniac with an inferiority complex and trying to balance that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Katy says he's no longer in the Top 40…because he's in the Top 20. Margie is waiting for him when he comes out and gives him a very happy hug and kiss.

Dillon James is staying fairly zen about the whole process. He says if he went home at this point, he wouldn't be too sad because of the amazing people who made it this far. He's grateful to be sober and in a place to truly appreciate this whole process. He doesn't think he deserves a spot over anyone else but hopes he's done enough to earn his way in. He sings "The Times They Are A-Changin'" by Bob Dylan and says a few words about changing the things we can change right now. When asked during judging how he felt about the process, Dillon says it's a blessing to be where he is and he tried to be as present as possible during the whole thing. Lionel tells him to stay in the moment and to be amazed every day. He believe Dillon has gone through a tunnel and after his final performance, he came out the other side.

So did Dillon make the Top 20? We won't get the answer until next week! Tune in SUNDAY at 8|7c on ABC to find out his results and see who else makes the cut.

Catch up on past episodes: Check out the recaps here and full episodes here.

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