It’s the last time the finalists on “American Idol” will perform for fan votes as the rebooted season reaches the finale in a two night event.
Only three singers remain – Maddie Poppe, Gabby Barrett, and Caleb Lee Hutchinson. The last performance night is also the going home episode where the finalists returned home for a day of memories and celebration.
The finalists will perform three songs tonight – their single, most memorable song, and a song for their home town.
Bobby Bones returns to mentor the singers.
Caleb is up first with his original single – “Johnny Cash Heart”. Lionel said that now Caleb understands when he says, welcome to the business. While she adores Caleb, Katy called it his weakest performance yet; adding that she wished that Caleb would embody the song as his own. Luke felt that Caleb was too tight and needed to relax. Noting that the song was cool, Katy noted that Gabby was still getting her bearings. Luke said that he could tell that Gabby was also not completely comfortable with her song. Lionel told Gabby that from now on she should choose her song choices from the stage direction and not the studio – in reference to choosing what to perform.
Maddie Poppe finishes out round one with her original single “Going, Going, Gone”. Luke said that Maddie felt the most comfortable so far; adding that he could relax watching her and it was a solid performance. Saying that Maddie is in the sales business now, Lionel agreed that Maddie was the most comfortable so far. Agreeing with her fellow judges, Katy thought that Maddie had one of the better songs.
Speaking on their discomfort on stage, Lionel said that you have to fake it, no matter what make the audience feel good and fake it if you have to.
Bobby said that he thought that the judges were a little harsh; adding that they all did really good.
Round two is the most memorable song from the season.
Caleb kicks the round off with “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley. Lionel said that Caleb’s voice is his stamp of approval; adding that he should own it. Katy said that this performance was a light years difference from the first one; adding that Caleb felt more comfortable and let his voice come through. Saying welcome to the music business, Luke noted that a career is like a roller coaster ride; adding that Caleb gave them what he had been spoiling them with. Host Ryan Seacrest came out with an envelope that he said was some fan mail from a fan in Norcross, GA for Caleb. Reading a piece of the letter, the fan had made a list of songs she though Caleb should sing…one of them was “Don’t Close Your Eyes”.
Sounding a lot like the original singer, Gabby performed “Little Red Wagon” by Miranda Lambert. Katy called the performance awesome; adding she had seen some growth in the song. Luke said that he wanted her to loosen up. Lionel said that she came on stage and saw a comfortable performance; adding that she owned the stage.
For her most memorable performance, Maddie Poppe chose the original song “Don’t Ever Let Your Children Grow Up”. Saying that he was happy to hear the song again, Luke called the performance quintessential Maddie Poppe. Lionel said that Maddie owned her style; adding that you have to love yourself out on the stage. Katy loved that Maddie took a risk and showed that she was a many layered artist and authentic.
Harper Grace, Johnny Brenns, Michelle Sussett, and Catie Turner return to the Idol stage to perform their original songs. Harper sang “Yard Sale”, Johnny sang “Blue Jeans”, Michelle sang “I’m a Dreamer”, and Catie sang “21st Century Machine”.
Back home in Dallas, Georgia; Caleb has a whirlwind day of television and radio appearances, a visit to his old high school (he graduated last year), a visit home, a parade, throwing out the first pitch at a Braves game, and a live performance. For his final song Caleb performed the Johnny Cash smash hit “Folsom Prison Blues” and brought the judges to their feet. Lionel said that it’s always wonderful when Caleb Cash stops by to see us; adding that now he was in his wheelhouse. Katy said that she had no idea that Caleb is a big deal. Caleb noted that the crowds at home were bigger than the population. Luke noted that he enjoyed seeing Caleb’s visit home; adding that it made him want to say congratulations. Ryan asked what the secret to southern biscuits were and Caleb said a mother’s love.
Back home in Pittsburgh with streets lined with fans,Gabby made an emotional visit to her house, had a parade, and gave a musical performance. Gabby sang the Journey hit “Don’t Stop Believing” for her final performance. Former lead singer for Journey, Steve Perry was in the house and said that Gabby was amazing; adding that it was the most amazing version he had ever heard. Luke called Gabby one of the most amazing singers her had ever heard.
On her trip back to Iowa, Maddie went back to school where she sang “Rainbow Connection” with the kids (her audition song), went home and jammed with the family, had a parade, and gave a live performance. For her final performance Maddie sang the Fleetwood Mac hit “Landslide” and brought the judges to their feet. Luke said that was why he signed up for the show. Lionel said that she did an amazing job. With her phone in hand, Katy said that she was voting for Maddie.