Did You Watch American Idol History Being Made?
Did you tune into ABC this week to watch American Idol history being made? This week, the Top 20 delivered amazing performances made even more incredible because they came from their own homes! That’s right, thanks to an incredibly talented and dedicated team, all of the remain Idol hopefuls were able to create memorable musical moments from across the miles and perform to the judges online.
For American Idol‘s first remote show, contestants performed in locals ranging from Florida to British Columbia and everything in between. Lauren Spencer-Smith, who performed the Jessie J song “Momma Knows Best” from her family’s lakeside home said that the production team was so helpful in putting contestants at ease with these unique set of circumstances. She explains, “It wasn’t like ‘We just sent you a bunch of equipment. Here you go—set it up,’” she explains. “It was like, ‘We sent you a bunch of equipment. We’re going to get in a meeting and we’re all going to do this together. You all can help each other.’”
You can check out Lauren Spencer-Smith’s performance here:
Many contestants seized the opportunity to try something new that they may not have done on the main stage. As Faith Becnel who sang Bishop Briggs song “River” explains, “I understood that this is an opportunity for me to really embrace my own creativity and think of things that I wanted to show the world with my video that represented me.”
Check out Faith’s performance here:
Helping the contestants along was music director Kris Pooley, the American Idol band as well as the vocal coaches. They helped the cast with their arrangements and in online rehearsals. Just Sam who sang “I Believe” from Fantasia said, “We were still able to have rehearsals with Kris Pooley and the band. We were still able to have the same support that we had in Hawaii,” she notes.
Here’s a recap of Just Sam’s performance:
Next up is British-born Louis King who is currently residing in Narberth, Pennsylvania where he performed “If the World Was Ending” by JP Saxe and Julia Michael. He spoke about how the back-and-forth between Pooley and the singers had to change since working remotely, . “If we were together it would be very easy to just kind of go on the fly and say, ‘OK, let’s bring this up, let’s take this down a bit. Let’s change the guitar melody here.’ It was definitely very different, kind of doing that all online.” Though he goes on to add, “They couldn’t have done a better job. Hands down, it’s just incredible what they were able to do and I’m just grateful to be working with them.”
Country vocalist Grace Leer felt very supported throughout the entire process. She said, “In terms of song and voice, they are doing everything they can to make sure that we have the best performances that we can… that we’re represented in the best way—from the arrangement to matching our style, to making sure it sounds good—that we are shining.”
You can check out her performance of “Cry” by Faith Hill from her home in San Ramon, California here:
One of our favorite moments of the night was when Francisco Martin performed from his home in California and you can see the “golden ticket” from his first American Idol audition hanging on the wall. Check out his performance of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream here:
Olivia Ximines chose to perform in front of the illuminated fireplace in her California living room. She sang Billie Eilish’s hit “Bad Guy.” She had this to say regarding her choice of location, “My family and I spent a lot of our time in the living room.”Ximines adds, “That is where we play games, we watch TV, we spend most of our time there altogether. It just means a lot that I was able to perform there, where I feel the most comfortable and happy.”
There may not be a live audience but it was still important for the contestants to connect with viewers at home and the judges. Sophia James who sand Maggie Rogers’ “Burning” said, “You still are still very aware that there are people that you are singing to. There was definitely a mental switch there [going from Aulani to performing at home], but it was a beautiful learning experience.”
Next week we’ll see the top 20 cut in half with a new American Idol being crowned in just a few weeks. Though with social distancing rules still in place it will admittedly be very different from years past. However, Spencer-Smith said that she refuses to see it as anything other than positive, “I think it’s super important that we send the message that safety is a big concern for us and we want people to be safe and we want people to be home.” She adds, “You’re still going to have a huge party in your house, even if it’s just with your sister or just with your brother or just with your mom. You’re still going to have a huge celebration, and the feeling is going to be the same and you’re going to have the same opportunity that you would have before. You’re going to get to make an album. You’re going to get to live your dream and do that while being safe and being healthy and representing that for everybody else, too.”
IF you missed the Top 20 episode you can check out the encore presentation on Saturday (May 2nd) on ABC from 9-11 ET/PT time. Also, tune in on Sunday (May 3rd) to watch the hopefuls perform again and to cast a vote for your favorite!
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