American Idol celebrated Mother’s Day with the Top 7 dedicating tear-inducing songs to the moms and motherly figures in their lives. And in a sign of the times, the contestants also took on viral hits made popular on TikTok.
Along with the usual critiques by judges Katy Perry, 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, the Idol hopefuls were mentored by Grammy-winning artist and producer will.i.am. Unfortunately, Noah Thompson and Fritz Hager tested positive for COVID. Noah performed from his hotel room while Fritz’s rehearsals aired.
Sadly, two more talents were sent packing with a Top 5 revealed two weeks from the finale. Who will get to be mentored by Carrie Underwood in Vegas? Did Noah and Fritz not being there in person cost them their Idol dream? Let’s unpack.
Leah admitted to being a bit obsessed with the Black Eyed Peas when meeting will.i.am. She chose “Electric Love” by BØRNS, which is part of the trend of people kissing another to see how they will react. Will.i.am wanted Leah to embrace what makes her special as she wanted to move around the stage a bit more. Lionel liked how she took willi.am’s tips perfectly when it came to movement. Leah’s mom Deanna was treated to the song “Sanctuary” by Charles Esten, Lennon, and Maisy from the show Nashville. The two would watch the TV drama together. Lionel said she found her artistry. Katy could see a maturity over the last few weeks. Luke liked the purity and quality of her voice.
Jay chose “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. The song has been popping up on viral animal videos, and he was fascinated by them. Will.i.am encouraged him to start at a higher key. Katy was impressed with the vocals and runs, calling them unique and artistic. She felt the platinum ticket winner did justice to a Whitney song. Jay’s dedication to mom Christina was “Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men. He felt it embodies a love a mother gives her child. Katy said the growth for him has been phenomenal. Luke felt he is hitting everything perfectly. Lionel could see him stepping into his own. Despite the strong effort, Jay didn’t get enough votes to stay in the competition.
Christina selected “Lonely” by Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco because he feels the words. He posted the song on TikTok, but he wasn’t proud of his voice. Now he wants to make it his own. Will.i.am helped him bring the emotion out and build a true connection. Lionel wanted the 22-year-old to realize he wasn’t born broken but unique. The legend finds his talent shines through. Host Ryan Seacrest surprised Michael Buble, who checked in to invite Christian to sing with him on the finale. Christian made some pizza with his mom Karen where the 22-year-old shared he was singing “Dear God” by Smokie Norful for his dedication. A song she listens to as a daily reminder to be grateful. Katy felt it was one of his best and authentically him. Luke liked the soulful performance. Lionel couldn’t believe some of those notes he hit were unbelievable. It wasn’t enough to keep him safe this week.
Will.i.am saw a relatability on Fritz’s original “All My Friends,” which he showcased on TikTok. The top-shelf artist was impressed with his songwriting ability. They aired his rehearsal from the night before due to Fritz testing positive for COVID. Luke felt he had the rock star moment using the electric guitar. He said he has all the tools to go a long way. Fritz’s dedication was not only to his mom Sarina but to his late grandma. He wrote a song called “The Ocean” based on the beach house they used to visit. A Mother’s Day gift for two. Luke said he looked and sounded like a pro. Lionel added his star has arrived. Katy said it was one of the most beautiful songs she has ever heard about grandma.
HunterGirl put her signature country twang on the pop hit “you broke me first” by Tate McRae. Will.i.am felt the platinum ticket holder has the perfect recording voice. However, he wanted her to make sure to convey whatever emotion she is feeling on the stage. Katy called her a natural and is becoming the artist you dream of. Later, HunterGirl took her mom Urla to the beach for some bonding. The Tennesseean chose “Like My Mother Does” by Lauren Alaina to express how much she inspires her. Katy said she still deserves the platinum ticket today with a platinum heart. Luke felt it was a great song choice. Lionel said she did a fabulous job showing love for her mother.
Noah went with “Painted Blue” by Sundy Best. It’s a song his friend posted of him performing on TikTok last year where one of the comments said he should perform it on Idol. Will.i.am worked to get Noah to connect with the lyrics on a deeper level. He sensed more vulnerability in his voice as a result. Luke thought it was one of his best performances, especially since the small-town boy checked in from his hotel room with COVID. Noah used his Mother’s Day dedication to honor grandma Karen, who raised him. The 20-year-old construction worker sang “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac to show what she means to him. Luke said the right vibes are coming from that hotel room and that he looks like a star. Lionel can hear believability and gravel in his voice. Katy felt adrenaline just take over, which translated into his best.
The “TikTok Queen” made a TikTok with will.i.am using “I Gotta Feeling” during their mentor session. For her performance, the Canadian teen chose Heart’s “Alone.” Will.i.am loved how she hit those big notes. Lionel used just a few words after watching: “Star in control.” Nicolina selected a Nonna Clara favorite in “Light in the Hallway” by Pentatonix for her Mother’s Day tribute. Lionel found it flawless. Katy called it A++. Luke echoed their sentiments.
American Idol, Sundays, 8/7c, ABC