LOS ANGELES -- "American Idol" dips into the Disney songbook - and Katy Perry fully jumps into the costume department - for this week's competition on "American Idol."
It's a precedent-setting episode; this is the first time a reality competition series has been able to let the entire country view and vote at the same time with real-time results announced at the end of the show.
The top 10 contestants were able to start the week off with a fun trip to Disneyland; for many of the singers, this was their first trip to the park.
It wasn't all fun and games, though. They met up with this week's mentor, "Frozen" star Idina Menzel.
And while Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan didn't go full "costume" like Katy as Snow White, they did wear Disney buttons on their lapels.
Lionel's said "Happy" and Luke's - "Dopey."
Here's a recap of the performances, in order of appearance:
Maddie Poppe - "The Bare Necessities" from "The Jungle Book"
Maddie was challenged by Menzel to push herself, and her range, a little more with this song. Maddie took her words to heart and said she's finished playing it easy. She also brought out her ukulele for a little support. Richie said he's seen her growth each week; Perry (in a Snow White voice she promised to only use once) noted her bravery in taking on new notes and thought Poppe was smart to take Menzel's advice to heart; Bryan thinks Poppe's voice is timeless.
Jurnee - "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana"
Jurnee got to spend a Disney day with her mom and that seemed to help calm her nerves. She was emotional after not being voted through by America last week (the judges saved her). Menzel encouraged her not to overthink things and just sing. Perry said she could tell Jurnee had a clearer connection and told the young singer that whatever it was her mom told her, believe it; Bryan asked her not to let the fact that America didn't vote her through get into her head and no matter what, keep believing and dreaming on "Jurnee's journey."
Cade Foehner - "Kiss the Girl" from "The Little Mermaid"
Cade gets teased by his sister about being a "heartthrob" but clearly it's working for him. His soft rock, stripped-down version of this Disney song showed Cade in a whole new light. He charmed Menzel, although she was a little taken aback by being called "Ma'am." Richie complimented Foehner for always bringing his own unique identity to the table and said he loves what Cade is doing; Perry fanned herself with one of her index cards and said she felt like the only person in the room.
Ada Vox - "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King"
Menzel offers some critical vocal coaching for Ada, recommending some higher/lower riffs to do (or not do) to show more subtlety and warmth in her voice. Bryan was thrilled Ada listened to Idina's advice; Perry told Ada she keeps "dropping the mic" and thinks she is becoming more authentic each week.
Michelle Sussett - "Remember Me" from "Coco"
Menzel agreed with the advice Michelle got from the judges last week and encouraged the young singer to utilize her bilingual skills. "Remember Me" is the perfect song to showcase that. Sussett got a surprise visit from her aunt and uncle from Miami; they've been her surrogate parents with her mom in Venezuela. Perry was honest with Michelle and told her that in the past she's put performance over the vocal; but this time, she focused more on her sound and Katy called Michelle a star; Richie said Sussett's true identity came through and he loves the fact she is owning who she is.
Gabby Barrett - "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas"
Menzel says she was blown away by the simplicity of this song that Gabby was able to tap into; Idina reminds the Idol hopeful that it's all about connecting with the lyrics and the audience. Gabby decides she will focus on her younger sister while she's singing and hopes she can bring out "Niagara Falls." Bryan thinks Gabby has all the "tools" to win this; Richie told Gabby she's got star quality and is the whole package; and Perry appreciated the different sound she brought this week. Katy liked the more pop interpretation rather than Gabby's country-girl-next-door vibe.
Michael J. Woodard - "Beauty and the Beast" from "Beauty and the Beast"
Michael showed genuine surprise and glee when his grandma surprised him at Disneyland. Pretty much everything about this kid seems genuine. When he meets with Menzel he admits he's a bit hoarse; she says she doesn't doubt it, knowing the busy schedule these kids have to keep. But he sings like an angel (Idina's words). He starts out soft and slow and the song builds perfectly; Michael hits a big, big note that seems to surprise everyone in the audience, including the judges. Perry also called Michael her angel, and said he makes her heart smile. She also pegged his style as somewhere between Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean. (Michael said he'd take it!) Bryan thinks he's just like Disney - magical.
Caleb Lee Hutchinson - "You've Got a Friend in Me" from "Toy Story"
After taking a quick selfie at Disneyland with Woody from "Toy Story," Caleb gets his moment with Menzel. She calls him a butterfly who is having his metamorphosis right now. Idina asks Caleb which best pal he would be thinking of while singing this song; in true country music spirit, he said his dog, Hershey. Caleb was thrilled that a real Disney Queen said she liked his version of the song.
Catie Turner - "Once Upon a Dream" from "Sleeping Beauty"
Catie gets the true princess makeover this week. She greets Menzel with a big bear hug. Idina gives her some notes about where to sing, where to hum, and how to semi-dance. Richie told Catie with her, it's clear dreams do come true; Perry admires Turner's evolution and thinks she transformed from a girl into a woman with this performance; Bryan said he hopes America understands what Catie is able to do each week and called her inspiring.
Dennis Lorenzo - "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from "The Lion King"
Dennis gave them tears when his surprise guest was his adorable little daughter. Neither of them had ever been to Disneyland so you know some magical memories were made. But there was work to do too. He told Menzel this song has always resonated with him because he remember seeing the movie in the theater with his parents (his father was later killed). Now it was Idina's turn for waterworks (although she said she had something in her eye) and she told Dennis he is one of the most versatile singers. Bryan thought Dennis knocked it out of the park. And then Perry ate an apple. (Snow White, get it?)
Ryan Seacrest had about two minutes for results so he read the list quickly. After millions of votes, and what he said was a very, very close race, the top seven are (in no particular order): Caleb, Gabby, Michael J., Cade, Maddie, Catie and Jurnee.
That means we said goodbye to Dennis, Michelle, and Ada.
'American Idol' down to 7 after Disney-night performances
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