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“American Idol” recap: Meet the Top 21!

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ABC/Karen Neal

ABC/Karen NealSunday night’s episode of American idol took viewers back to the tropical island of Hawaii to find out who will round out the Top 20. Katy PerryLionel Richie, and Luke Bryan finished making their tough decisions before handing over the baton to viewers. 

Picking up right where they left off last week — with the fate of Dylan James hanging in the balance — fans were finally given the answer they’ve been waiting for… he’s into the next round. 

Here’s who else performed and whether or not their journey on American Idol has survived another round. 

Genevieve Linkowski: This returning lady, who has been open about the struggle of losing her sister, sang “You Say” by Lauren Daigle but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to push her through to the Top 20. 

Franklin Boone: The music teacher told the heartwarming story of how he performed “Daughters” by John Mayer the night before he found out he would become a father. This must be his lucky song because it landed him a slot in the Top 20, where Lionel felt he could be an inspiration to his students. 

Julia Gargano: Katy previously called her Top 5 material and her performance in Hawaii proved just why. Gargano sang Pink‘s “Glitter In The Air” and earned the praises of all the judges but especially Luke Bryan who felt like he could see her performing on the Grammys someday. With a comment like that, it’s easy to see why she made it through to the next round. 

Aliana Jester: Singing “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack broke out of her shell and, because of that, is into the Top 20.  

Sophia Wackerman: Where to start? Sophia stunned with her cover of Nick Jonas‘ “Levels” but it wasn’t solely because of her vocals. It was the overall performance that made her look like a pro she as she played air guitar with the band, interacted with fans and straight-up had a good time on stage. After Katy, Lionel, and Luke lead her on to believe she’s going home, they shock her with the news she gets to stay n the competition a little longer. 

Robert Taylor: There’s no denying Robert has the vocal range to be a stay but his tendency to overdo it with hitting too many notes and performing too many runs stuck the unfortunate nail in his coffin when he took on Elton John‘s “Take Me To The Pilot.” So upset by the news he was unable to do an interview but Bobby Bones came to the rescue, on his day off, to come and support the American Idol contestant he has come to know after all these weeks. 

Kimmy Gabriela: Taking on Demi Lovato‘s “You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore” she brought her father to tears and while her performance was amazing, Katy had a bone to pick with her. After explaining that it’s not enough to “just be a good singer,” and some advice to step up her game, Kimmy made the Top 20.

Next up, wrapped together in a neat little bow were powerhouses, Cyniah Elise who performed “Lady Marmalade,” Makayla Phillips with “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato, and Lauren Spencer-Smith who sang Aretha Franklin‘s “Respect”. They all impressed with their Hawaii performances earning them each a spot in the Top 20. 

Shannon Gibbins: While she certainly had a good time on stage covering “Send My Love (To Your New Lover) by Adele, Shannon didn’t quite make the cut and was sent home. 

Olivia Ximines: Taking on Tina Turner‘s “Proud Mary” she surely made her family and friends proud. This high schooler gave quite the performance, complete with a costume reveal and all, and got the judges out of their seats. Needless to say, she’s moving forward. 

Arthur Gunn: He made the crowd sway as he sang Bob Marley & The Wailers‘ “Is This Love” and had Katy gushing over how “pure” he is. While he kept it simple and classic, strumming his guitar as he sang, he stayed true to himself which was good enough to make it to the top 20.

Demi Rae: She had the vocals to compete with the powerhouses but faced with the tough decision to narrow down the competition, her performance of “Lonely” by Noah Cyrus, while great, was not great enough, and she was sent packing. 

With one spot left in the Top 20 and two singers left, Katy, Lionel, and Luke switched things up a little bit and had Grace Leer sing Aretha Franklin‘s “You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)” and Lauren Mascitti sing Emmy Lou Harris‘ “Two More Bottles Of Wine” — and both found out their fates together.

Both country singers are from Nashville and made their home city proud, however, the decision was just too hard for the judges. So, in a shocking twist of events, they decided to hand the decision over to America one week early.

What would come next for American Idol is the live performances, but due to the current global pandemic production has been put on hold. Still, the show will return next week with a special episode titled American Idol: This is Me, which will delve deeper into the lives of the Top 20 contestants, with unseen footage and performance highlights.

ELIMINATED: Genavieve Linkowski, Robert Taylor, Shannon Gibbons, Demi Rae, + 3 others who were not named. 

TOP 20: Dylan James, Franklin Boone, Julia Gargano, Aliana Jester, Sophia Wackerman, Kimmy Gabriela, McKayla Phillips, Lauren Spencer-Smith, Cyniah Elise, Olivia Ximines, Arthur Gunn, Grace Leer, and Lauren Mascitti. 

They join Nick MericoDewayne Crocker Jr.Louis KnightFrancisco MartinJovin WebbFaith BecnelJust Sam, and Jonny West.

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