This was their last chance to show that they have what it takes to be the president of Idol Nation. The song is slick country-pop, flawless for Caleb's radio-ready voice. Her performance inspired Luke Bryan to say "that's why [he] signed on for this" and Katy Perry saying she's voting for Maddie! I think it's anyone's game, really.
"Now we all know Caleb should have won". She's not looking for fame. "I think you are a real star but once you leave the nest of American Idol its up to you to get that wingspan girl", she said. The judges told her that she needed to learn how to pick a song that doesn't just work in a studio but can work on stage and in front of a live audience, who may not be familiar with the piece.
Maddie broke down in tears at the announcement of her victory, and sang her new single, "Going Going Gone". Good job on that. She smiled the whole way through it, and the judges observed that she was the most comfortable of the three.
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Luke said it was "a solid performance", and Lionel agreed she did "a fabulous job".
Unlike NBC "The Voice", ABC's "American Idol" does not incorporate iTunes downloads into its vote totals. Vote in Our Poll! Hutchinson sang "Don't Close Your Eyes" by Keith Whitley, which allowed him to give a more heartfelt and romantic performance than usual. It was a much stronger performance that foregrounded his lovely voice. She did Miranda Lambert's "Little Red Wagon". She hammed it up, putting her arm on the guitarist's shoulder and beckoning the crowd to yell "WHAT?" back at her. "I've been signing as many pre-orders as I can". It is odd that Gabby speaks with a Southern accent even though she's from Pittsburgh, though.
Mentored by Bobby Bones, Caleb was the first contestant to take the stage to perform his coronation song "Johnny Cash Heart". And, halfway through the performance, the legendary Patty Labelle joined in for the fun. "A heck of a journey and proud of her". It was pretty great. Katy Perry said he should do the critique. "She was unbelievable, that's my critique!" he said. Perry said Gabby's rendition of the song was the best he'd ever heard - and this is a song that very famously had a second life nine years ago when it was featured in the pilot episode of "Glee". She was so excited.
Despite her general lack of enthusiasm over the first half of the night, Perry did admit that the original song challenge was a hard one. But it's all a misdirect.