'American Idol' notes: Top 24 plans, David Cook, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood

Posted Wednesday, April, 4, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk

It's really difficult at this point to gauge who will shine or who will fall in the top 24.

But several singers have stood out: rocker Cade Foehner, drag queen Ada Vox, singer-songwriter Maddie Poppe, pop singer Jurnee, quirky Catie Turner and Georgia country singer Caleb Lee Hutchinson, to name a few.

Unfortunately, we viewers don't get to pick the semifinalists this year. To save time during this truncated season, the judges will pare it down to 14. This will happen over two weeks. The first group of 12 will perform solos on Sunday, followed by celebrity duets Monday. Then the second group of 12 will perform solos the next Sunday with more celebrity duets that Monday. All this has been pre-taped.

Synergy alert with IHeartMedia: Nationally-syndicated host of iHeartMedia’s “The Bobby Bones Show” and New York Times best-selling author Bobby Bones joins the show as a mentor for the top 24 contestants. (He is not on an Atlanta station so I am not familiar with him.)

Also, the top 24 are not being split by gender for once. This means the top 14 may not end up with an even number of men and women.

The celebrities are mostly up and comers like Cam and Luis Fonsi with a few mid-level stars like the Train lead singer and Sugarland. Some pairings look obvious like Michelle Sussett paired with Fonsi or Ada Vox with Lea Michele.

Here are the singers this first weekend and their duet partners:

  • Brandon Diaz with Luis Fonsi
  • Cade Foehner with  Bishop Briggs
  • Catie Turner with Andy Grammer
  • Dennis Lorenzo with Allen Stone
  • Dominique with Aloe Blacc
  • Gabby Barrett with Sugarland
  • Jonny Brenns with Andy Grammer
  • Kay Kay with Pat Monahan
  • Layla Spring with  Sugarland
  • Michael J. Woodard with Pat Monahan
  • Michelle Sussett with Luis Fonsi
  • Trevor McBane with Bishop Briggs

Here are the 12 for the following week of April 15 and 16.

  • Ada Vox with Lea Michele
  • Alyssa Raghu with Banners
  • Amelia Hammer Harris with Bebe Rexha
  • Caleb Lee Hutchinson with Bebe Rexha
  • Effie Passero with Cam
  • Garrett Jacobs with Colbie Caillat
  • Jurnee with Lea Michele
  • Maddie Poppe with Colbie Caillat
  • Mara Justine with Rachel Platten
  • Marcio Donaldson with Allen Stone
  • Ron Bultongez with Banners
  • Shannon O’Hara with Cam

If you are super curious and love spoilers, a leaked top 14 is already out.

For regular readers, I am going to be out of the country adopting a child from April 8 through 18 so I won't be around for the semifinals. (I am flying out very late Sunday so I might be able to do a quick recap of the Sunday episode but it probably won't be a full recap) I will return in time for the top 14 live shows starting April 22. I don''t think I've ever missed an "Idol" episode before since I began recapping season four but this is super important personal stuff. My apologies.

Essentially, the live shows encompass just five weeks compared to 11 back during the heyday. It's more like "The Voice" schedule.

The top 24 sing the "Idol" theme song - or actually do an acapella humfest since there are no lyrics:


HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist David Cook performs onstage during FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

David Cook, season seven winner, made his Broadway debut in the Tony-winning musical "Kinky Boots" on April 3 in New York City.

Cook, who recently released an EP "Chromance," will play Charlie Price through May 5.



Ratings remained largely steady during Hollywood rounds this past week. On Sunday, up against the more popular "Jesus Christ Superstar," the show slipped marginally to 7.48 million from 7.51 million a week earlier. [UPDATE: ABC Friday released ratings including three days of DVR. "Idol" Sunday gained 1.42 million viewers, upping viewership to 8.9 million and it beat "Jesus Christ Superstar" among 18-49 2.1 to 1.9.]

The Monday episode, when the top 24 was revealed, lost again to "The Voice," finishing with a season low 7.16 million compared to 7.8 million a week earlier. "The Voice drew nearly 10 million overnight viewers in head-to-head competition.


And "Idol" I'm sure wishes they had Kelly Clarkson because of goofy moments like this on "The Voice" from Monday:


In a Twitter/Instagram post, Carrie Underwood revealed part of her face that was damaged by last November's accident which led to 40 stitches but if she's had any scarring on the left part of her face, it's not obvious.

Details of the actual accident remain sketchy beyond the fact she fell down some stairs outside her home: “There is also another part of the story that I haven’t been ready to talk about since I have still been living it and there has been much uncertainty as to how things will end up,” she wrote in a note to her fans in January. “It’s crazy how a freak random accident can change your life.”


I missed a couple weeks back that Jennifer Hudson - who has lost family members to gun violence - sang  at the March for our Lives rally in D.C. She covered Bob Dylan's protest song "Times They Are A-Changin' " She closed out the march.

“It is almost impossible to understand what the victims, the families, are going through, what they feel, or even to be able to relate to a situation like this unless you’ve been in it,” Hudson told CNN’s Van Jones. “So for people who are watching . . . know that it can be anybody. It can happen to anybody.”

Read more here. 


About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.Rodney Ho's Radio & TV Talk blog (new) | Recent archiveSports...