LOS ANGELES — The “American Idol” reboot is quickly drawing to a close, eliminating two contestants on Sunday night and leaving the top three — Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Maddie Poppe and Gabby Barrett — to duke it out next week for a two-night finale. Leaving the ABC show were Cade Foehner and Michael J. Woodward.
The night was divided into two parts. For the first hour, the five finalists were each tasked with singing a Carrie Underwood song — the Season 4 winner was the celebrity mentor for the week — and for the second half, song choices were catered to Mother’s Day.
Where Poppe shined was with her second performance, “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. Though she was last to take the stage, which could have negatively impacted her vote, her consistently adventurous song choices have clearly resonated with audiences.
Hutchinson played it a little safer, staying in the lane that is best-suited for his voice: Country. He chose Underwood’s “So Small” followed by “Stars in Alabama” by Jamey Johnson.
Gabby Barrett was more ambitious in her second pick, “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. Impressed with her vocal range, judge Katy Perry cracked, “Who are you and what have you done with Gabby?” Barrett’s first song was Underwood’s “Last Name.”
As for Foehner, despite the theatrics — and tears for mom — he failed to win over viewers with his version of Underwood’s “Undo It” or “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, a song performed several times in “Idol” past, including during the most recent season (15) by eventual winner Trent Harmon and by Season 9 victor Lee DeWyze.
Woodward also fell a bit flat with his two performances, “Flat On The Roof” by Underwood and “Still I Rise” by Yolanda Adams.
The final three will face off for the last time on May 20 with the winner announced during the season’s grand finale on May 21.