On American Idol Monday night, the good news was that 12 of the 24 American Idol finalists got to sing with some big-name stars. The bad news was that after they were done singing, five of them were sent home.
After the first dramatic elimination of the season, complete with Ryan Seacrest saying, “Kieran, dim the lights,” the following contestants were sent home by judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan: Dominique, Brandon Diaz, Layla Spring, Trevor McBane and Kay Kay.
The seven who’ll go on to compete for America’s vote? Cade Foehner, Michelle Sussett, Dennis Lorenzo, Michael J. Woodard, Gabby Barrett, Jonny Brenns and Catie Turner.
Here’s how it went down, starting with the seven who went through:
Catie Turner sang Andy Grammer’s hit “Good to Be Alive” with Andy. The judges were impressed with Catie’s harmonies; Lionel said, “You killed it,” while Katie said, “You’re such a natural, you are amazing.”
Cade Foehner sang INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart” with alt-rock singer Bishop Briggs. The two were delighted with how well their voices blended together, but they decided to dispense with the song’s delicate melody in favor of bluesy shouting. Still, the judges were bowled over; Luke Bryan said, “You wanna come on tour?”
Michelle Sussett and Luis Fonsi — you know, the “Despacito” guy — duetted on Bonnie Raitt’s ballad “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” “You’ve made me a believer” said Katy. Lionel raved about the duo’s chemistry, while Luke said, “I didn’t want it to end.”
Dennis Lorenzo and blue-eyed soul singer Allen Stone teamed up to sing Stone’s “Unaware,” the song with which Dennis originally auditioned. Allen couldn’t get over how great Dennis sounded on his song, saying it was “the best it’s sounded since I wrote it.” The judges agreed, with Lionel giving the pair a standing ovation mid-song.
Michael J. Woodard and Train’s Pat Monahan teamed up to sing Train’s hit “Angel in Blue Jeans.” Katy called Michael a “beautiful chameleon,” while Lionel praised him for “rising to the occasion.”
Gabby Barrett teamed up with recently reunited superstar country duo Sugarland to sing their hit “Stay,” and Gabby was pure perfection harmonizing with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. “Way to show up, Gabby,” said Katy. “I don’t think we’ve seen anyone tonight nail it from top to bottom like that,” noted Luke.
Andy Grammer returned to sing his hit “Back Home” with Jonny Brenns, and despite the fact that the judges weren’t crazy about Jonny’s stage presence — Katy suggested he take “undercover” ballet lessons or movement lessons — they still sent him through.
As for the singers who didn’t make it through:
Trevor McBane sang Bishop Briggs’ hit “River” with Bishop, and even though they both seemed to thoroughly enjoy collaborating, Lionel didn’t think Trevor’s performance was entertaining enough. Katy praised Trevor for coming out of his shell, though.
Layla Spring sang Sugarland’s hit “Stuck Like Glue” with the duo, and even though the judges loved the performance and Layla’s ability to hold her own against Jennifer Nettles, it wasn’t enough.
Kay Kay sang the Train hit “Drive By” with Pat Monahan, and it was a bit of a train wreck, pardon the pun. The song just didn’t fit Kay Kay’s voice very well.
Brandon Diaz really impressed the judges by singing Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” with Fonsi in Spanish, but it appeared that there was only room for one bilingual singer, and Michelle Sussett was the one the judges ultimately chose.
Dominique sang Aloe Blacc’s hit “Wake Me Up” with Aloe, who became a big fan, raving of the finalist, “This is an American Idol right here!” The judges also praised the performance as “smooth” and “world class,” but it wasn’t enough to send him through.
This Sunday night on ABC at 8 p.m. ET, the other 12 contestants will perform solo, and next Monday night, also at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, they’ll perform duets with Rachel Platten, Bebe Rexha, Lea Michele, British singer/songwriter Banners, Colbie Caillat, Allen Stone and country star CAM.