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American Idol Season 19 - Coldplay & Mothers' Day Dedications


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It's a time warm here at Morty's TV as we go back in time to Mother's Day and American Idol performing from the Coldplay Songbook and Mothers' Day dedications. Due to familial commitments (been waiting 14 months to say that), this Top 7 performance night is being brought to you on DVR Delay. It's too late to vote, but it's not too late to enjoy the night, and belatedly, Happy Mothers' Day!

It's been the adventure of a lifetime for the Top 7, but by the end of the night, your votes decide who makes the Top 5. Are you ready? This is American Idol!

Tonight we celebrate all the Moms and mother figures out there. Chris Martin is here to mentor as we open up the Coldplay catalog for the first time, one of the greatest bands this generation has ever seen. Let's say hello to the judges: Luke Bryan, Lionel Ritchie and first-time mother Katy Perry! Tonight, 7 become 5. 

We start with Casey Bishop, singing Paradise. Chris talks to her about learning to exist within the song to fight performance anxiety. The song is about someone like her, he says, and she can't teach her how to sing it. Instead he gives her ideas on how to hold the mic. She can do whatever she dreams of doing, he says.

Casey jumps right into the song, but she looks nervous and the performance does not initially does not showcase her vocal talents. Midway she gets into the groove and her power vocals come out to play. I felt she was thinking about the performance rather than living it. Katy says it was great to see you let loose in the middle and harness that energy. Luke says you've never hit a bad note, delivering each night and tonight was yet another glimpse into what you can be in the future. Lionel says you did it exactly as Chris said, like a little bird, unsure, then by the end, soaring.

Next up is Chayce Beckham, singing Magic. Chris says he enjoyed Chayce's approach to the song so much, they just played together instead of mentoring. His only advice is to let one strand of his perfect hair be out of place. Strumming the guitar, he was in control of this performance from the first note, his soft edged voice delivering a delicate, up-tempo, honest performance with vocal accents mirroring the piano accompaniment. It was magic. 

Luke says you had so many artistic vocal moments. You were having so much fun with Chris, your journey has been remarkable. Lionel says half the game is having confidence, the other half is having fun, and you now have a signature voice and were enjoying the process. Katy says you were among equals with Chris. You put your own spin on it. 

Next up is Willie Spence, singing Yellow. Willie says he turned a love song into one about insecurity. The two work on the arrangement and when they are done, Chris says listening to Willie, he realizes he's been doing it wrong the whole time. Standing simply on the stage, his airy voice accompanied lightly by a piano, his voice is clearly the standout of this performance, solid, sensitive, powerful in import without being overpowering in size. Until it was time to go big, and then be built it up and let it loose.

Lionel says when an artist who wrote and performs a song says to you that you own the song yourself, turning it into Willie's song, that was a religious experience. Katy says you are back in that connected place, between heaven and earth, that spot  you get to when you let go and let God. Luke says I cherish the times I've gotten to watch you perform, to watch you sing, and I don't want it to end.

Next up is Caleb Kennedy, singing Violet Hill. Chris tells Caleb that songs are like gifts, after the artist plays an original, don't take them for granted. He tells Caleb the song is about ignoring what you are told to do, but even an outlaw needs to cuddle. Trading in the country vibe, his voice embraces head on the grunge vibe of the song, his vocal diving into the drama and emotional intensity, demonstrating he is not a one-trick-cowboy.

Katy says she's never been scared by a Coldplay song but that scared me in a good way. Luke says that first 20 seconds you were ready to overthrow the galaxy of music. Don't say you are not a singer just a songwriter - you are both a songwriter and a singer. Lionel says you confidence dipped in the middle; remember the crowd didn't come to rehearsal; give it your all every time.

Next, Arthur Gunn takes on In My Place. He's changed chords and redid some of the arrangements. Chris said he always thought the melody was the best bit in the song and he's gone rogue and thrown it all away. He says being brave enough to do your own thing is a beautiful thing and suggests doing a rap with this thumb on the guitar. He tells Arthur to surrender to the power of what he feels is right. The beat has a light, bouncy feel, his unique vocal bending the lyrics and notes to his will, his voice full of emotional movement, strong and confident. Yet in many ways, it sounded different from anything he's done before.

Luke says to stick to your Gunn is pretty amazing, you walk to the beat of your own drum, do it your own way, your fans have to come to you and you do it naturally. Your vocals were great. Lionel says you are a cherished soul, to stand before the writer and change melodies and words, it's called an artist. Katy says artists are very stubborn and you do you, making the song yours, as if we were at your show. Sometimes you have to play along a bit, let the audience sing along and they didn't know that melody.

Next Grace Kinstler needed help choosing which song to sing: Hymn For The Weekend or Fix You. After talking with Chris, he adviced Hymn For The Weekend is not good enough for her voice. She didn't think Fix You was right for her. After singing the song, he tells her to go super vulnerable with Fix You.  She eventually chooses Fix You and it was the right choice, her solid vocal with a light touch falling off each emotion-dripped phrase, the musically toned down performance made her vocal performance mesmerizing. And when music builds, her vocal goes into the next gear. At the end, she shrugs as if to say, oh well.

Lionel says we are always worried about messing up, but in your case, your flaws are your magic, your vulnerability comes from being in that moment of indecision and what makes the entertaining part entertaining. Katy says that was intimacy, breaking through the facade of show business, really connected, you finally arrived with that song. Your vulnerability is your strength and you resonated with it. Luke says when you finished, I was so pumped up, I almost told Katy that as F* great, it took me out of what I was doing, I forgot I was on American Idol watching you do that.

Last to perform his Coldplay song is Hunter Metts, singing Everglow. Hunter says Coldplay was one of his first two CDs ever. Chris suggests raising the key, which pushes the upper register but Chris says it is heavenly stuff. He describes listening to Hunter as being the old lion watching the new lion coming on. His performance is tender and sensitive, playing his acoustic, singing with his eyes closed, his vocal is solid in his main voice but cracks a bit in the falsetto and upper limits.

Katy says I get so many texts about you, know that you are beloved by the world and it is beautiful seeing you sing and soar. Luke says you are building your fan base, you can always hang your hat on the uniqueness of your voice, and that song showcased that. Lionel says you are a story teller as well as having a unique voice, so the problem is nothing, you put those two together and the sky's the limit. Ryan says his Pilate's and Yoga class are talking about Hunter too.

With their first ever performance of their new single, Higher Power, please welcome Coldplay!

Starting off Round 2, Casey Bishop dedicates Ironic (Alanis Morissette) to her mother. This is a more comfortable performance for her, opening with a laid back voice before rocking out on stage with big vocals during the chorus, dialing it back for the second verse, and jamming out one last time for the chorus, ending with a huge power note and a Love You, Mama. 

Luke says we have put you through the gauntlet and you finally get to do a rock song again, this was your jam and you did it your way. Lionel says stage presence and song selection, right on the money, and you were having so much fun. Katy says there's my little whirlwind, way to be possessed by personality, that's what it will take to get to higher heights.

Chayce Beckham makes his Mothers' Day dedication personal with the original song, Mama, written during Hollywood Week. The song jumps right into the heart of the matter, and carries that heart throughout, telling a story of struggle, determination and dedication with some great lyrics and an earnest vocal with which all can identify. 

Lionel says you had me crying - as a songwriter, put that song out now, that was performed perfectly and you had us from the beginning, chords, words, everything. Katy says you're a sensitive, vulnerable heavy machine operator, crying on stage, making his mother cry, my mom has your vote. Luke says what a way to pull out the right song on the right night to mama.

The next Mothers' Day dedication comes from Willie Spence, singing You Are So Beautiful (Joe Cocker). From the outset, you could feel the sentiment dripping off each slowly rolled out note, each emotion-filled lyric, the passion and devotion of his voice rolling through the air like whipped butter, and then his arms open up and his voice lets loose with the power of a son who owes everything to his mama. 

Katy says she's never heard that song sung like that, and only a mother's unconditional love could get that kind of song, opened up to the heavens, connected straight from the heart. Willies mom is sobbing on the Zoom box. Luke says your ability to make Willie Spence signature runs on these classic songs is so identifiable, you've got so many amazing qualities in your voice. Lionel says the way you navigate the notes is unbelievable; I was there when Billie Preston wrote it and Joe Cocker sang it, and you willierized it.

The next idol to make his mother proud is Caleb Kennedy, singing his own original song, Mama Said. Back to his country vocal roots but without the hat, he melodically lists all the life advice his mama said, giving Chayce a run for sincerity and sentimentality, you could feel the moisture in his voice. Luke says you are a true anomaly, to be 16yrs old and write songs like that, like a 50yr old wise man. Lionel says put that record out, your parallels, your story telling, you are so gifted, that's a smash record. Katy says as a new mom, you wearing your heart on your sleeve looks really good on you, your eyes sparkle as you sing about your mom, opening up, you look brighter and better. 

Perhaps the one thing you did not expect to hear from Arthur Gunn is Lynyrd Skynyrd, but his Mothers' Day dedication is Simple Man. This performance was remarkably straight-forward for him, his unique rough-cornered voice honest and powerful, adding sincere emotion to his vocal. He was careful to pace the ending with the band. Lionel says you are a signature stylist and that was a great performance. Katy says I heard the lyrics, the melody, and I connected with you, that really was great for your voice. Luke says be sure to be up there fighting every chance you get, to dig in even more, this thing is getting tough and you need to put yourself in the best position.

Next up is Grace Kinstler, singing When We Were Young (Adele), one of her mothers' favorite songs. Passionate and homesick, her voice rings out strong and solid, her voice honest and powerful, she holds out a huge note towards the end before trembling with tenderness at the end. Katy says tonight especially, I am proud of you, you've stepped up your game. Luke says whatever you ate this morning, whatever prayers, toothpaste, don't change it, a magical performance, like in a movie. Lionel says it was perfectly done, delivery right on point.

The last performance and Mothers' Day dedication is a personal request from his mother for his original song, The River. His voice starting out in his upper register, his vocal is simple and sincere, a passionate lament, the emotion on his face pouring into his performance, his voice cracking with the depth of feeling delivered. Luke says 10 out of 10, that held up against all the other songs tonight, a musical experience by a prop. Lionel says you drifted over to pro status, you held in there so strongly. Katy says I applaud all the original songs, it is one thing to be a song but to be a songwriter is to be in the driver's seat of your career.

The voting has closed during the last commercial break and now it is time for 2 people to leave the show live. The vote was really close, really tight tonight. Dim the lights and here we go. Good luck, guys.

After the nationwide vote, in no particular order, live coast to coast, the first person making it into the Top 5 is...   Casey Bishop!

The second person making Mom proud tonight and moving forward, after the vote, is...   Grace Kinstler!

America, the next person locked in that Top 5 after the nationwide vote, are you read? It is...   Chayce Beckham!

Two more spots? Who's next? After the nationwide vote, next in the Top 5 is...   Willie Spence!

Caleb Kennedy, Arthur Gunn and Hunger Metts, please step down to the center of the stage. The race to the Finale is heating up. Only one spot remains. You all did a great job tonight, and this whole season.

The last person moving forward in the competition and into the coveted Top 5 is...   Caleb Kennedy!

That means we say goodbye tonight to Hunter Metts and Arthur Gunn, it is just the beginning for both of them.

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