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American Idol Recap: Finalists Fight For Final Three Spots

Did your favorite make it to the end?

American Idol Recap: Finalists Fight For Final Three Spots
Laine Hardy; Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

It doesn’t get any easier, but it does get better as the five contestants remaining on ABC’s American Idol competed for one of three chances to go back to their hometowns and, more importantly, to compete on the show’s finale. And the competition was fierce.

The five aspiring stars each got three performances during the live broadcast—a pick from commentator Bobby Bones, a song from Elton John’s catalog, and a song dedicated to their personal hero. And while judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie offered comments following their songs, all of the voting was left to the audience throughout the show and during the last few minutes.

WADE COTA

Bobby’s Pick – “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne

  • Luke on Bobby’s pick: “I like how you didn’t try to overdo that song. Very easy listen to. Watching you grow from week to week and watching you get confidence is what this show is all about.”

Elton John hit – “Rocket Man”

  • Katy on Elton John: “The way that you held us in the first part of that song was so connected. Just stay connected with this last song. Just stay connected in that moment. Just lose yourself in that moment.”

Song for Mom – “Hard Luck Woman” by Kiss

  • Lionel on Mom’s dedication: “You were born enough. All you have to do now is recognize that power inside of you and go forward.”

LACI KAYE BOOTH

Bobby’s Pick – “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert

  • Lionel on Bobby’s pick: “Every once in a while you find songs that fit your character. That song fit you perfectly. You’re a storyteller.”

Elton John hit – “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”

  • Katy on Elton John: “You are not just one thing. You are every woman and it’s all inside you. And you keep bringing every girl out. We like it, you’re a pop star. The more relaxed you get, the more fun we have.”

Song for Grandma – “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac

  • Luke on Grandma’s dedication: “That was a complete visual into the future of your career, what we just witnessed. So much promise, so many lives left to touch, and that was a beautiful rendition of that song from top to bottom.”

ALEJANDRO ARANDA

Bobby’s Pick – “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley

  •  Katy on Bobby’s Pick: “I think I just saw you in real time step into the power. I don’t know if you’ve taken yourself so seriously up until now. This is going to be a real interesting last two shows.”

Elton John hit: “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”

  • Luke on Elton John: “Have you been holding back? You are owning the night, my friend, you are owning the night. Wrap your head around being a ginormous star, please, because there is no other way around it. It’s just amazing what you’re doing.”

Song for Twin Shadow (musical mentor) – “Blesser” by Alejandro Aranda

  • Luke on Twin Shadow: “I am not worthy of being a judge judging you. From here on out, I’m just your champion, buddy. I will champion you as much as I can.”

LAINE HARDY

Bobby’s Pick – “Can’t You See” by Marshall Tucker

  • Luke on Bobby’s pick: “Great song choice, great arrangement with the band. Way to make it modern day funky.”

Elton John hit – “Something About the Way You Look Tonight”

  • Lionel on Elton John: “You have that look, you have that style, you have that sound. That’s called a winner in my book. Enjoy this ride.”

Song for big brother, Kyle – “Hey Jude” by the Beatles

  • Katy on Kyle’s dedication: “That was just super cool, man. You’ve got this. Whatever happens, thank you for coming back and agreeing to do this all over again because that’s what made the difference.”

MADISON VANDENBURG

Bobby’s Pick – “What About Us” by P!nk

  • Katy on Bobby’s pick: “What you just showed us towards the end of the song was like some crazy musical talent. Those are notes that are on a whole different spectrum. If you start bringing that out in the first 30-seconds, you’re gonna win.”

Elton John hit – “Your Song” (standing ovation from judges)

  • Luke on Elton John: “I think we have to focus on just how soulful your voice is and the range. It’s truly amazing. The whole time I’m watching you, I’m thinking, ‘how do we have this talent in front of us showing up?’ It’s truly unbelievable. Great job.” 

Song for Mom – “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan

  • Katy on Mom’s dedication: “You were so elegant and timeless and classic and beautiful.”

With that, host Ryan Seacrest announced the Top 3 for season 17 of American Idol:

Laine Hardy

Madison VanDenburg

Alejandro Aranda