American Idol continued its rich tradition of the iconic “Disney Night.” The Top 10 found inspiration for their songs by venturing through Disneyland and connecting with mentor Derek Hough. The top-notch entertainer and Vegas headliner filled in for the previously announced Ben Platt.
Rhenzy Feliz and Adassa kicked off the proceedings alongside the Idol hopefuls on Encanto’s earworm “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” The show saw special guests including Animal and Miss Piggy from The Muppets, Sneakarella’s Chosen Jacobs, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie helped Katy Perry to her judging chair as she went full Ariel from The Little Mermaid, fins and all. Unfortunately, Katy literally fell off her seat at the start. Live TV is fun. What wasn’t fun? Seeing three more say goodbye (or is it see you real soon).
Hold on to those mouse ears. Let’s break down how the magical night unfolded.
Up where they walk! Up where they run!
Up where they… fall out of their chairs on live TV!
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) May 2, 2022
Lady K was surprised in the park by her mentor in life Kareem. Derek helped remind her that she deserves to be here. The 25-year-old chose “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana as the titular character’s journey reminds her of her own. Lionel said she looked like a star and sounded like a star. Katy found the vocal stunning. Luke felt the performance was validation of why they saved her last week. Sadly, she could not be deemed safe this time.
Noah shared his first Disney experience with his girlfriend Angel and son Walker. He dedicated “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story to his friend Arthur, who encouraged him to audition. Derek hoped to see him let his personality shine through in the performance. It was Katy’s favorite song he has ever done. Luke was happy with his vocal choices. Lionel loved it and the singalong moment he created.
The Clevelander was reunited with her family, reminiscing on meeting Skylar Laine at Disney years ago. The 16-year-old picked “Carried Me with You” from, the quite frankly unrelated, Onward. Derek worked on her body language and how she focuses on a song. Luke felt her really having fun. Lionel said the voice and presence on stage were top-notch. Katy saw her connect with body language and eyes. The youngest in the competition didn’t get enough votes to last another week.
Jay got to go to Disney’s California Adventure with his mom Christina. He was deciding between “Eye to Eye” from A Goofy Movie and “Remember Me” from Coco. The 23-year-old went with the latter. Derek liked the intimacy of that choice. Katy felt he really used the stage and brought showmanship. Luke said it was the second week in a row he gave them timeless performances. Lionel found he solidified himself in the competition.
She chose “I See the Light” from Tangled because it’s her sister Rylan’s favorite movie. The siblings got to spend the day at Disney together. Derek was caught off-guard by the unwavering eye contact, which shows him there is confidence. He talked to her about bringing a little more grounded energy. It was a side of HunterGirl the judges haven’t seen before on the show. Lionel called the performance graduation. Katy said she has never sounded better. Luke saw so many potential dynamics in her career, struck by the elegance in the performance.
Leah spent the day at Disney’s California Adventure with dad Derry. Derek is impressed how the 20-year-old can go from a real-life cartoon character to a serious performer just like for “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2. Derek said to go with her gut as she prepared to take a risk with the approach. Luke and Katy love her story-telling ability. Lionel felt she knocked it out of the park.
Believe it or not, Nicolina chose the first villain song in Idol “Disney Night” history. The Canadian got to go to Disney for the first time with sisters Alessia and Isabella. Derek’s advice for her before the performance was to refrain from doing the Ursula accent, but don’t be afraid to use the stage. Katy was naturally a little fearful the entire time. “She said it was so good, it was scary.” Lionel remarked it could be the best “Disney Night” ever. Luke thought it was watching a movie. Nicolina definitely tore the house down.
He chose Phill Collins’ “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan to represent his mom who has been battling leukemia. The 27-year-old’s parents Edward and Dejuanna got to surprise their son at Disney. Derek ultimately wanted to feel the connection between him and his mom in the performance. Katy said she could feel every moment. Luke felt he navigated through the weight of the song amazingly. Lionel was happy mom got to see her superstar son. Something Mike will surely remember as his Idol journey came to an end.
Christian was worried about his energy and confidence on stage for “Circle of Life” from The Lion King. Derek gave him a little boost thanks to some inspiration from Michael Buble. The New Yorker’s parents Nino and Beth got to share in the Disney magic with him in the park. Luke said he nailed it. Lionel told him he was standing in his light. Katy liked how he didn’t overdo it, calling the performance his best yet.
Fritz was like a little kid walking into Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, especially with his family. He called the time with them a breath of fresh air. Fritz chose “Go the Distance” from Hercules, which Derek found fit in with his story. Lionel said he has always been their surprise package. Katy told Fritz, whatever happens, he got what he came for. Luke said there are no surprises and that he deserved to be here.
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