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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 30 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

5 of the Best Moments From the Second Round of ‘American Idol’ Top 24 Performances

Last week, we saw the judges start to form the Top 14 for American Idol‘s new season by adding seven singers to its list of finalists.

Cade, Catie, Jonny, Michael, Michelle, Dennis, and Gabby all earned their place in that elite group. This week, the remaining 12 semi-finalists performed solos and duets as well, but after all was said and done, seven of them joined that group to perform for America’s vote for the first time in next Sunday’s live broadcast of the show.

So let’s talk about the moments that got them there, or didn’t…

Unexpected Choices

There’s definitely something to be said for coming out and surprising the judges and the audience. Maddie Poppe did just that when she picked Melanie’s “Brand New Key,” a song from 1971 by an artist whose music has never been heard on the Idol stage before. But for Maddie, the risk paid off, with high praise afterwards from the judges and also after her duet to “Bubbly” with Colbie Caillat on Monday.

For other contestants, the risks were less rewarding. Effie Passaro showed off her rock chops on Heart’s “Barracuda” and her country chops in her duet with Cam to her new single “Diane,” but it may have strayed too far from her wheelhouse for the judges. Similarly, Ron Bultongez slowed down Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own,” but the vocal revealed many of his flaws, and his duet to Banners’ “Someone to You” just didn’t fit his style either. The moral of the story seems to be to take risks, but also stay true to yourself.

Can’t Go Wrong Classics

Some contestants bet on tried and true great songs to get them through the week. Drag queen Ada Vox brought the house down with a bombastic rendition of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and her duet with Glee star Lea Michele to “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked was right up her alley.


Mara Justine was emotional after her performance of Whitney Houston’s “Run to You” [Credit: ABC]

Similarly, Mara Justine showed her voice is mature beyond her years as she took down a behemoth like Whitney Houston’s “Run To You.” Her voice also soared on night two in a stripped down version of “Fight Song” with Rachel Platten herself.

Marcio Donaldson also found his sweet spot when he covered Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable,” a choice that had Lionel Richie declaring Natalie Cole herself would have loved it. He also made magic in his duet to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” with the incomparable Allen Stone.

Showing That You’re Current

Part of Idol is finding someone who can compete on the music charts with the likes of Shawn Mendes, Jessie J, and Adele, which is maybe why Garrett Jacobs, Jurnee and Shannon O’Hara chose songs by those artists, to varying degrees of success. Jurnee found the tender moments in Jessie J’s “Flashlight” after her original song choice got vetoed, but luckily she got to sing “Run To You” anyway when she delivered a knockout duet with Lea Michele on night two.

Shannon O’Hara‘s version of Adele’s “All I Ask” was a little stiff compared to her usual emotional renditions, but she returned to form on Monday night when she sang Cam’s country music hit, “Burning House” with the singer herself. Garrett Jacobs also fumbled a little after a botched high note in Shawn Mendes’ tune “Treat You Better,” but his duet to “Lucky” with Colbie Caillat was everything it needed to be to make his girlfriend proud in the audience.

Playing It Safe


Caleb found his niche with Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man” [Credit: ABC]

For some, playing it safe was their downfall or their saving grace. Caleb Lee Hutchison did what he does best on Thomas Rhett’s breakout hit “Die a Happy Man” and was able to keep the country train rolling in his duet with Bebe Rexha to her hit “Meant to Be” with Florida Georgia Line.

Alternatively, rocker Amelia Hammer Harris struggled to leave a lasting impression with a lackluster version of Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” and her duet with Bebe to “Me, Myself and I” wasn’t quite up to snuff either. It also felt like Alyssa Raghu was playing it safe after she delivered a pretty but sleepy version of Rihanna & Mikky Ekko’s “Stay,” despite having a better connection with Banners in night two when the pair sang Coldplay’s “Yellow.”


In the end, the judges had their work cut out for them. It was clear that Jurnee, Ada, Mara, Maddie, and Marcio were advanced based on two strong performances, but the advancing of Garrett and Caleb may have been based more on their duets or overall likeability rather than what they showed on Sunday night. All in all though, it felt like the judges made the right choices, balancing strict talent with star potential in the Top 14 and giving Idol fans plenty of diversity to choose their favorites from going into next Sunday and Monday’s live shows.

Did the judges advance the right contestants? Which contestants are your favorite at this point in the competition? Let us know in the comments below.

Header Image: ABC

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3 Comments on “5 of the Best Moments From the Second Round of ‘American Idol’ Top 24 Performances”

  1. Elizabeth Rosalyn The April 17, 2018 at 2:34 pm #

    Ada and Jurnee are phenomenal performers with the perfect combination of vocal ability, stage presence, star quality, and winning personalities. Their solo performances and their duets with Lea Michele were stellar. Marcio is my personal favourite vocalist from this entire group – I love his smooth and classic singing style! Out of everyone, Maddie has impressed me the most. I really enjoyed her unique solo song choice and her duet with Colbie Caillat was just lovely. She’s ahead of the pack in terms of her artistic identity and has a quiet confidence which makes her so endearing. Overall, this is a solid Top 14 and America is going to have some tough decisions to make over the next few weeks!

    • Andrew Rogers April 17, 2018 at 2:39 pm #

      I think you hit all my favorite parts of Sunday and Monday night’s shows. Ada and Jurnee met or exceeded the high expectations I had for them, Marcio showed he’s got some serious vocal chops and Maddie kept it fresh without straying from her style. Definitely four to really watch. I think overall this group was better than the first one, but I agree with you that going from 14 to 10 to 7 to 5 is going to make for some very heartbreaking eliminations with so many strong competitors.


  1. Top 4 Moments as American Idol’s Top 10 is Revealed | The Hudsucker - April 24, 2018

    […] Last week, the judges put through the last seven members of the Top 14 and this past Sunday, they sang for America’s votes before advancing to the Top 10 — or, as was the case for four of them, being eliminated just shy of that elite group of contestants. […]

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