AMERICAN IDOL - "308 (Hollywood Week)" - "American Idol"'s Hollywood Week wraps MONDAY, MARCH 23 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC, as contestants continue to vie for their chance at stardom. In the final episode of a tough Hollywood Week, Idol hopefuls battle it out with solo performances, showcasing their unique voices and star power in hopes of advancing to the next round of the competition, taking place at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii. Tune in to see an unprecedented medical emergency, Katy lose it with the contestants and whether or not the remaining couple's love will survive the latest elimination. (ABC/Eric McCandless) JOVIN WEBB
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

‘American Idol’ top 40 revealed after solo recap (VIDEOS)

Originally posted Monday, March 23, 2020 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The episode ends with the top 40 being chosen. (See the list below)

It opens with an appearance not by the season 17 winner Laine Hardy but runner up Alejandro Aranda (ScaryPoolParty). Why? Alejandro has been far more impactful to the world and this season’s contestants. There was genuine awe in the eyes of many as he spoke to the final 60 or so. (Oddly, “Idol” has not been specific about how many are remaining.)

At this point, typically the singers go a capella but they get a live band and that certainly helps some singers but not all of them.

And the gamble to sing originals didn’t always work either. 

Producers managed to get 35 singers on air out of the 60. That’s pretty impressive. 

While this was taped in December, normally, the editors wouldn’t need to note that. But as everyone who made the top 40 was hugging, they placed those words “pre-recorded” on the screen to ensure the world this didn’t happen just yesterday and that nobody was spreading COVID-19. 

Next Sunday and Monday, there are two more original episodes. Then “Idol” will go dark until this pandemic reaches a level where groups can gather again. 

Kimmi Gabriela, 17, Florida (”I’m Here” from “The Color Purple”) - We hear a snippet of her performance and Katy stands up. “What a cool song choice,” she said. Later, Katy told the other judges that she wants to see what Kimmi is like as an artist but is certain she’s top 10. Naturally, she makes it ot the top 40. 

Genavieve Linkowski, 20, Michigan, social media influencer ( “In My Blood” Shawn Mendes)  “Giving up is not in my blood,” she said. She was cut at this point a year ago and wants redemption.  She’s properly emotive and Katy reacts accordingly positive. She’s safe. 

Jovin Webb, 29, Gonzales LA (“Parachute” by Chris Stapleton) This is the stuff! A wonderful song pick and he truly (Paula Abdul cliche alert) makes it his own. And if you notice his age, he clearly just made the age cutoff limit. Obviously another one who will make it to the next round. 

Perrin York, (”Good as Hell” Lizzo) - She is a little too showy for my taste but she isn’t half bad. 

Faith Becnel  (“Cry Baby” )- Not a big fan of the song.She’s loud. Probably won’t go. 

Jeb (”Rocket Man”) - An okay version of this Elton classic. Not thinking he’ll make it.

Arthur Gunn ( “ Have You Seen The Rain” -CCR) -I adored his first version. He changed the key and tried using he live band in an “experimental” way. The band can’t learn his complicated arrangement. So he needs Plan B with no band. Uh oh. He completely changes the song and amazingly, it still works. I do love his voice. But I’m not sure if the judges bought it. 

Then there are originals

Robert Taylor, 27, Louisiana - He goes for an original song and the judges are not happy. Lionel: “It did not work.”

Amelia: Same problem as Robert. They hated that original.

Julia Gargano, 21, Staten Island. Again, the judges didn’t go for this one.

Jimmy Levy, 21, Miami: Katy looks pained in the worst way. 

Given the editing, it’s almost clear that someone would finally inspire the judges with their original song. And they give the next woman an extensive story a song inspired by her grandma. 

Lauren Mascitti, 27, Nashville, nurse ( “God Made a Woman”). This is a beautiful country ballad that Martina McBride could have recorded. She has a lovely voice though I can’t say it’s super distinctive. I’d say she is in the top 40 for sure. 

Sophia Wackerman, 20,Long Beach, Calif. ( “Somewhere” Barbara Streisand)  I love this song and she can hit the big notes!

Sarah Isen, 20, Berkeley, Calif. (”Leave the Light On”) Sarah’s buddy takes on a little more pop-oriented song and does alright. 

Kat Luna, 19, Miami. She is imperfect vocally but she puts a lot of passion into it. She has a great name for a potential star, if anything. 

Franklin Boone, 27, Durham, NC (”River” Leon Bridges)  He is hoping to be the next Alejandro as the next introvert to go far. I adore his voice. So interesting, so emotive. 

Just Sam, 20, Harlem (”I”m Here”) Uh oh. Vocal problems the past couple of days. But she sounds just fine. She is so special, I can’t imagine she isn’t in the top 20. 

Then we get a bunch of bad performances: Marcus Tinsley (oops! False start!), Sheniel Maisonet (so off the key and the judges are confused), Talin Everett (not quite as bad as Sheniel but still not quite), Nick Merico (so overrated), Aria Saage (wailing cat alert!).

Makayla Brownlee “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves. She has a heart conditions that could cause seizures. Will she even come back? She eventually does and gets a standing ovation for making it back. Not quite as good as Kacey’s version but pretty close. 

Cameron Leigh Smith, 16 (”Always Remember Us This Way” Lady Gaga) - The Acworth worship leader does a brilliant version that elicits Katy Perry standing up for her. 

Devon Alexander - He sounds really good. I missed so many audition episodes, I have no idea if he has had much airtime. 

Lauren Spencer-Smith, 16 ( “The Joke” Brandi Carlile) - I adore this song and she pulls it off. Wow. 

Dillon James, 26, Bakersfield, Calif. He sings a brooding original. I like his look and his voice is decent to boot. 

Louis Knight ( “Hold Me While You Wait “by Lewis Capaldi) His story of losing his best friend to suicide is repeated. He doesn’t have the best voice but he has plenty of soul and emotion. His parents cry. I cry too cos I’m a baby. 

Cyniah Elise from Jonesboro, Olivia XiminesGeena and YZTHASINGER. All four sing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” 

We get mix of all of them. Cyniah has the best voice of the four but Olivia has the moves. 

Makayla Phillips, 17, Telemecuno, Calif. (“Cause I Love You” Lizzo) - LIke her duet partner Cyniah, she goes upbeat. And it works. She has command of this. What a voice! Katy surprisingly wasn’t a fan of the song choice. 

Jonny West, 23, Murietta, Calif. An original. He has a great singer-songwriter voice with so many levels to it. And the original is pretty good, too. 

Margie Mays, 26, Wilmington, De. ( “Lost Without You” Freya Ridings) She does not want to be left behind, aware that the judges have been favoring her boyfriend Jonny. I thought it was one of her best performances but the reaction from the judges was muted. 

The biggest surprise departure (kinda) is Margie, who will be in Hawaii rooting him on -- and probably why some folks thought she might have made it to the top 40 on some early spoiler sites. Jonny was the only person who made the top 40 who felt sad because of Margie’s rejection. She comforts him. Awww... That’s love. 

Two metro Atlantans made the cut. The spoilers did not include the Acworth singer Camryn Leigh Smith because she told me Friday that she never put it on social media she made it to Hawaii while everybody else did. So she was left off the “spoiler” pages.

  • Aliana Jester
  • Amber Fiedler
  • Amelia Joyce
  • Bilaal Avaz
  • Cameron Havens
  • Camryn Leigh Smith
  • Cyniah Elise
  • Demi Rae Moreno
  • Dewayne Crocker
  • Devon Alexander
  • Dibesh Rokharel (Arthur Gunn)
  • Dillon James
  • Elyjuh Rene
  • Faith Becnel
  • Francisco Martin
  • Franklin Boone
  • Geena Fontanella
  • Genavieve Linkowski
  • Grace Leer
  • Grace Lundy
  • Jeb Vonderbruegge
  • Jonny West
  • Jordan Jones
  • Jovin Webb
  • Julia Gargano
  • Kimmy Gabriela
  • Lauren Mascitti
  • Lauren Spencer Smith
  • Louis Knight
  • Makayla Phillips
  • Makayla Brownlee
  • Natalie Jane
  • Nick Merico
  • Olivia Ximines
  • Perrin York
  • Robert Taylor
  • Samantha Diaz
  • Sophia Wackerman
  • Shannon Gibbons
  • Travis Finlay

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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