'American Idol' recap: Gene Simmons helps Top 14 contestants hit their stride; 2 go home (2024)

Under Gene Simmons' mentorship, the brightest stars on "American Idol" Season 22 broke away from the pack by taking chances and showing a new side of themselves during Rock & Roll Hall of Fame week.

The Top 14 contestants heard the call to bring it, and there's no doubt that everyone who's still in the game is wildly talented.

But a few of the "Idol" hopefuls, including Triston Harper and Julia Gagnon, went the extra mile. They wisely showed viewers – and judgesKaty Perry,Luke BryanandLionel Richie – their dedication to growing during this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by going out of their comfort zone with their physical appearances.

Triston ditched his trusty hat and guitar to show off his best Elvis Presley moves while Julia went full-glam for Whitney Houston.

'American Idol' recap: Gene Simmons helps Top 14 contestants hit their stride; 2 go home (1)

Simmons, a inductee, was an integral part of Sunday's episode as the celebrity mentor injected a dose of confidence in each contestant as he met with them. The KISS bassist/vocalist's feedback also carried weight as he personally knew almost every Hall of Fame artist the singers covered, and gave great advice on the intention and meaning behind the songs.

Regardless of how good these 14 contestants were, two singers had to leave at the end of the night. Here's what led to their elimination in Episode 12.

What happened last week?First platinum ticket singer sent home during Top 14 reveal

Emmy Russell seemed unsure of herself covering Bonnie Raitt

'American Idol' recap: Gene Simmons helps Top 14 contestants hit their stride; 2 go home (2)

The granddaughter of the late Country Music Hall of FamerLoretta Lynnhas thus far wowed viewers with the emotion she's infused in every performance. But on Sunday she seemed to step back from her journey to gaining confidence on stage.

As she capped off a decent, but far from standout, performance of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" (a song we heard earlier this season, during the since-eliminated Elleigh Marie's audition), Emmy broke off at the end with a nervous-seeming laugh, as if she was unsure how that went.

The judges reassured the 25-year-old singer/songwriter she didn't need to dance across every corner of the stage and hit the highest notes for a good performance.

"You're not competing for any of them," Perry told her. "You're competing against yourself, and tonight you won."

Katy Perry changes her mind on Jack Blocker: 'You're the coolest'

'American Idol' recap: Gene Simmons helps Top 14 contestants hit their stride; 2 go home (3)

Jack Blocker made what Simmons called a "brave" choice by singing Bob Dylan's "Don’t Think Twice, It's All Right." But there was nothing to worry about here; with his unique twang and piercingly strong voice, the 25-year-old graphic designer made a lasting impression.

He also showed it's possible to have swagger without even getting up from a stool. As he strummed the guitar on the catwalk, Jack seemed to want to connect more with his audience Sunday night than he cared about being perceived by the judges.

Jack pulled off Dylan effortlessly in this standout performance. To quote Richie: "You made a Bob Dylan song your song."

Perry admitted she's come a long way from when she was unconvinced by Jack's audition with the now-signature shapes his mouth makes. "You're just so cool. I think I was wrong; you’re the coolest," she said.

Triston Harper tries on a new look sans hat and guitar − and it pays off

'American Idol' recap: Gene Simmons helps Top 14 contestants hit their stride; 2 go home (4)

He's no Elvis yet, but Triston is well on his way with his killer wink-and-smile look and boot scootin' moves.

The 15-year-old high school student showed how serious he is about his growth as a performer on "Idol," vowing "to break loose from the stage a bit" by leaving the signature guitar and cowboy hat at home. As great as he is with those accessories, Triston was still a joy to watch as the charismatic teen shook his hips and interacted with the crowd while performing Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel."

When he was done, Perry looked like she hardly knew what to do with herself.

"I thought you were a good Christian boy!" she exclaimed. "You scared me, and you scared your mother."

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Jordan Anthony made a safe choice – but 'I Wanna Dance with Somebody' was one of his best performances

At this point, what-can't-she-do vocal powerhouse Julia Gagnon and gives-Hayley-Williams-a-run-for-her-money Jayna Elise had already done the Whitney Houston thing with "Run to You" and "I Have Nothing," respectively. So Jordan Anthony's announcement that he'd be taking a stab at one of Houston's most popular songs was concerning.

There are hundreds of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and the "Idol" contestants were not showing much creativity with their song choices.

But fortunately for all, the 19-year-old from Perth, Australia, managed to make "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" his own. It really did seem like he wanted to dance with somebod-ay as he interacted with the audience and showed off his infectious smile.

Even without any mind-blowing vocal moments that perhaps some of his competitors would've brought to the song, Jordan put on an enjoyable performance.

"You sounded like a super-pro. I think that was the best performance you've ever given us," Perry told him. "You've grown so much."

Who was eliminated from 'American Idol'?

Unfortunately, Jordan's arguably best performance and Nya's unbelievable vocals in her take on Aretha Franklin didn't garner enough of America's votes to make it into the Top 12.

'American Idol' recap: Gene Simmons helps Top 14 contestants hit their stride; 2 go home (6)

Who's in the 'American Idol' 2024 Top 12?

  • Roman Collins
  • Mia Matthews
  • Triston Harper
  • Julia Gagnon
  • Jack Blocker
  • Jayna Elise
  • Mckenna Breinholt
  • Kaibrienne "KB" Richins
  • Emmy Russell
  • Abi Carter
  • Will Moseley
  • Sam "Kayko" Kelly-Cohen
'American Idol' recap: Gene Simmons helps Top 14 contestants hit their stride; 2 go home (2024)
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