“American Idol” is cutting down the competition — fast. On Sunday night, the show eliminated eight singers and revealed its top 16. On Monday night, “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest announced that singer Wyatt Pike had to drop out of the competition but that the show wished him the best going forward. And then “Idol” revealed its top 12.
Here’s a breakdown of the singers who made it into the top 12.
Casey Bishop was the first singer to make it through to the top 12 Monday night. The night before, during the top 16 round, “Idol” judges told Bishop that she gave her best performance of the competition. The 16-year-old rock singer from Florida performed Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” and it had all three judges on their feet.
“You can sing anything you want to,” Bryan said Sunday night. “Why you chose rock, I’ll never know, but it’s your thing and you can sing.”
“It’s fascinating to watch you because you start out as this fairy princess and then you end up being close to Joplin,” Richie added. “I love what you do.”
Deshawn Goncalves was the second singer to make it through to the top 12. The 19-year-old singer from Ohio performed Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” Sunday night, and the judges called it his best performance to date.
“Watching your growth is what’s so inspiring for us as judges, because that’s why we sit in these chairs, to watch it all start coming together, and you put it all together,” Bryan said.
Cassandra Coleman, a 24-year-old singer from Tennessee, is moving on to the top 12. During the top 16 round Sunday night, Coleman was visibly emotional after she performed Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”
Although the judges told her she could show more confidence when performing, all three praised her rendition and gave her a standing ovation.
“There’s ‘American Idol’ and then there’s life after ‘American Idol,’’ Perry said. “And I think you’re gonna ace both.”
Country singer Caleb Kennedy, one of the younger singers in the “Idol” competition, is moving on to the top 12. Although he’s only 16, the singer from South Carolina has never shown nerves or doubt during the competition. That was also the case after he performed Chris Stapleton’s “Midnight Train to Memphis” Sunday night.
“To be 16, and to really be able to stick to your guns on what you are and to not be manipulated by everything going on around ... that’s very hard for a 16-year-old to do,” Bryan said. “You’re driving a big ole truck right down the path you want to go. Great job.”
At 15, Ava August is the youngest singer in the “American Idol” competition — and she’s moving on to the top 12.
On Sunday night, August performed a 2018 song from singer-songwriter Anne Marie — a stark contrast from her performance of the Joni Mitchell classic “Both Sides Now” the week before. Both Perry and Bryan said they enjoyed the “elegance” of August’s performance last week, and that Sunday night’s performance reminded them that she is only 15.
“Don’t forget that classic always trumps cool,” Perry said. “And you’re classic.”
But even if the judges weren’t the biggest fans of the song choice, they reiterated that August is a strong contender in the competition.
“I am going to declare you 15 and dangerous,” Richie said. I”m very, very, very proud of you.”
Since his audition for “American Idol,” Chayce Beckham has been a favorite — Perry even called him a “top 5” contestant. Now, Beckham is moving on to the top 12 and getting closer to making that prediction come true.
The 24-year-old singer from Apple Valley, California, performed Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain” Sunday night, and impressed the judges with his authenticity.
“For whatever reason, it’s not about glitz and glamor with you, you’re just a real guy and America has fallen in love with you,” Richie said after the performance. “And I am so happy for you.”
Alyssa Wray, a 19-year-old singer from the small town of Perryville, Kentucky, is moving on to the top 12. Wray has been a standout contestant since her “American Idol” audition, but after her performance of“Killing Me Softly” Sunday night, she drew even higher praise from the judges.
“You are actually an artist for the first time in my eyes today,” Katy Perry told Wray, adding that she appreciated Wray’s authentic approach to the song.
Willie Spence is moving on to the top 12. The 21-year-old singer from Georgia got a standing ovation from all three “Idol” judges after performing Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” Sunday night. He became emotional as he received praise from the judges.
“I can’t even stand still,” Lionel Richie said Sunday night. “What we just saw was God took control of you, because there’s no possible way you thought about this. ... It was a brilliant performance.”
“Every note was thoughtful,” Perry added. “It was like God was working through you and it was beautiful to see you step into your power.”
Grace Kinstler, a 20-year-old singer from Chicago, is moving on to the top 12. Kinstler got a standing ovation from Lionel Richie Sunday night after performing Sia’s “Elastic Heart.”
“You are a force to be reckoned with,” Richie told the Berklee College of Music student. “You are so into your performance but at the same time you have the ability to draw us in to your performance. You can close your eyes and still have us keeping our eyes on you. That’s called a fabulous presentation.”
Hunter Metts has made it to the top 12. The 22-year-old singer from Tennessee performed Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” Sunday night and drew praise for his “instant identifiable voice” — a trait the judges said has helped the singer throughout the competition.
“No one sounds anything like you in the world,” Bryan said Sunday night.
“It’s called instant identity,” Richie added. “Can I close my eyes and know who’s singing? That’s you.”
Madison Watkins got saved by the “Idol” judges to move on to the top 12. Watkins performed Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity” Sunday night — a slower song than she has typically performed during the competition — and drew high praise from the judges.
“You really surprised me,” Perry told the 25-year-old singer from Arkansas. “I was locked from the first couple of notes. ... You showed me an incredibly serious side of being an artist, a musician, a vocalist. That was the best you’ve ever sounded.”
During Beane’s audition for “American Idol,” the judges spent the majority of the time wondering if the 23-year-old singer from Boston’s theatrical voice was suited for the “American Idol” stage. Now, thanks to a saving vote from the judges, Beane has made it to the top 12. The singer has continually impressed the judges with his unique style and way of entertaining.