‘American Idol’ top 10 performance recap on Disney night

Nicolina gets advice from Derek Hough at Disneyland for the top 10 performance night on "American Idol," which is Disney song themed.. (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Credit: ABC

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Nicolina gets advice from Derek Hough at Disneyland for the top 10 performance night on "American Idol," which is Disney song themed.. (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Credit: ABC

Three singers get cut in a live vote

Sunday was “American Idol’s” annual Disney night, a theme that the show has been required to have since it’s been on ABC.

It was also a tough night of cuts though the trio leaving wasn’t all that surprising: Lady K, the R&B singer who had to be saved last week; Mike Parker, the Black country singer; and Emyrson Flora, the 16-year-old pop singer. They all were worthy entrants in the top 10 but at this point, they simply had built the smallest fan bases.

Lady K was competing in the R&B lane with Jay Copeland, a more skilled vocalist who smartly decided to focus on ballads the past two weeks. Mike Parker was battling with Noah Thompson for the country vote and Noah outcharmed Mike. Emyrson lost out to more dynamic pop singers left such as Leah Marlene and Nicolina.

My guess on who the final three will be has not changed. Leah Marlene, HunterGirl and Fritz Hager continue to shine.

The night opened at Disneyland with Ryan Seacrest playing the Snow White magic mirror. After the 10 remaining singers joined two “Encanto” voice actors for “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” Disney’s most popular song ever (which I have only heard 10,000 times courtesy of my six year old), Katy Perry arrived in a Little Mermaid outfit. She was immobile with fins as feet, and once carried to her chair, actually fell out of it. By commercial break, the fins were gone so she could do the occasional standing ovation.

The Muppets also popped up multiple times to promote their appearance on the ABC game show “Holey Moley” returning Tuesday at 8 p.m. (ABC is really shameless about cross-promotion and synergy and in this day and age, who can blame them?)

Family members and friends reunited with the contestants at Disney because, you know, Disney is all about family and friends.

Tomorrow? “Idol” celebrates 20 years of the show with performances by many “Idol” alums including Ruben Studdard, Jordin Sparks, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, David Cook, Kris Allen, Laci Kaye Booth, Maddie Poppe, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Willie Spence and Grace Kinstler. (Season 17 winner Laine Hardy was listed in the original press release but was arrested over the weekend for spying on an ex-girlfriend so it’s unclear if he’ll be in Los Angeles for the show.)

Lady K (”How Far I’ll Go” Auliʻi Cravalho from “Moana”) - This ballad fits her voice fairly well and this is a competent cover. But I’m not sure she really improved upon the original and I have a feeling this won’t generate enough votes to keep her around. (Indeed, she didn’t make it.) Katy says she reminded her of Vanessa Williams and calls it a “stunning vocal.” Luke says that performance vaidates why they saved her last week. Grade: B-plus

Noah Thompson (”You’ve Got a Friend in Me” Randy Newman “Toy Story”) - He pours on the charm with this lovely, catchy song and seems to enjoy himself. It’s a smart, crowd-pleasing pick. Relatively speaking, he is the weakest vocalist left in the group so a song with such limited range suited him just fine. Katy says this was her favorite song he’s sung to date except for “Stay” by Rihanna and lauded the vocals. Luke says he brought some fresh nuances to his voice. Grade: B-plus

Emyrson Flora (Carry Me With You” Brandi Carlile from “Onward”) - Pro dancer and performer Derek Hough (who sings a little, too) as mentor provides her solid tips to open up her body and hold her visual focus more. She takes his advice to heart and uses it effectively. She shows more comfort on stage and her vocals are assured as well. Luke says this was the first time he felt she was having fun. Katy says she has come far and has come out of her shell. She really likes her lower register. Grade: A-minus

HunterGirl (”I See the Light” Mandy Moore and Zachary Levy from “Tangled”) - She is singing this entirely without her Southern accent and sincerely makes it work with an enchanting performance. This is yet another performance where she shows she could win the entire competition. Katy says the Disney magic is real and she had her best vocal to date, dubbing it a ‘Cinderella moment.” Luke says he could foresee the dynamics of her career and her elegance was impressive. (He also used this as a moment to honor the late Naomi Judd, who died the day before.) Grade: A-minus/A

Jay Copeland (”Remember Me” from “Coco”) - He feels more authentic when he does ballads. This song enables him to show off his vocal skills and he ends with an effective big note. Katy says he really uses the stage to his advantage and controls both his falsetto and full voice. Luke says his vocal choices are so classic. Grade: A-minus/B-plus

Leah Marlene (”When She Loved Me” Sarah McLachlan from “Toy Story 2″) - She considered doing this with a piano but after talking to Derek wisely decided not to. Instead, she was able to hone in on her vocals. She brings heart and soul to her performance, showcasing a whiff of vulnerability. Luke says she has yet to hit a bad note and tells a great story. Katy says her delivery was silky smooth. Grade: A/A-minus

Nicolina (”Poor Unfortunate Souls” by Pat Carroll from “The Little Mermaid”) - Derek tells her not to imitate Ursula’s accent and she says she wants to balance the theatrical and the pop modern worlds. This is a high-risk song because it is campy and theatrical by its very nature and it’s focused on a villain. She can’t entirely get rid of the camp embedded in the song. If anything, it’s a nice audition for a Broadway gig down the road. Katy says she stole the show. Grade: A-minus/B-plus

Mike Parker (”You’ll Be In My Heart” Phil Collins from “Tarzan”) - His mom is battling leukemia so he wanted to sing something for her. She was in good spirits during the visit to Disneyland, which helped his mood. He performs with aplomb and warmth and ease with a nice set of runs at the end. Katy says the key change partway through lifted the song. Luke says he showed new elements. Grade: A-minus/B-plus

Christian Guardino (”Circle of Life” Elton John from “The Lion King”) - Derek boosted his confidence by calling Michael Bublé on his smartphone so Christian could sing to him. This is a big song and Christian pulls out all the vocal stops. Excessive? Maybe, but effective for this particular stage. Luke says he nailed it. Lionel says he was shining in his own light. Katy says he didn’t overdo it. Grade: A-minus

Fritz Hager (”Go the Distance” from “Hercules”) - After a thrilling time seeing his family and enjoying the “Star Wars” rides and characters, he does a lightsaber battle with Derek. He takes a not terribly interesting Disney song and shapes it into his own emotive, go-for-it performance. He really connects with the music and the audience. Can he go the distance and win this competition? Sure. Grade: A/A-minus