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“American Idol” recap: Brian McKnight, Katharine McPhee, and more join for solos and duets


(LOS ANGELES) — American Idol is back — and they’ve brought some friends.

Sunday’s episode marked the first show where the remaining contestants performed in front of a live studio audience. Not only that, but judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan have officially handed over the reins to America to vote and decide who will become the next American Idol. 

Of the remaining 24 contestants,  Sunday’s episode saw 12 hopefuls join forces with pros Jimmie Allen, Ryan Tedder, Joss Stone, Brian McKnight, Ben Rector, and Katharine McPhee for their all-star duets. Of this group, only eight will make it through to the Top 16 and into next week’s shows — and it’s all up to America. 

Here’s who performed so far.

Alanis Sophia – 19, Dade City, FL College Student
Mentor: Jimmie Allen
Solo: “Alive” Sia
Duet: “Shallow” Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper

Cassandra Coleman – 24, Columbia, TN, Coffee shop manager
Mentor: Ryan Tedder
Solo: “Find Me” Sigma featuring Birdy
Duet: “Apologize” One Republic

Alyssa Wray – 18, Perryville, KY, College Student
Mentor: Katharine McPhee
Solo: “Something in the Water” Carrie Underwood 
Duet: “I’m You’re Baby Tonight” Whitney Houston

Wyatt Pike – 20 Park City, UT, College Student
Mentor: Ben Rector 
Solo: “rubberband” Tate McRae 
Duet: “Brand New” Ben Rector

Alana – 23, Lakewood Ranch, FL, Food Delivery Driver
Mentor: Brian McKnight
Solo: “Blow Your Mind (Mwah”) Dua Lipa
Duet: “Back At One” Brian McKnight

Anilee List – 20, Los Angeles, CA, College Student
Mentor: Joss Stone
Solo: “my future” Billie Eilish
Duet: “Tell Me Something Good” Rufus & Chaka Chan

Deshawn Goncalves – 20, Cleveland, OH, College Student
Mentor: Ryan Tedder
Solo: “Forever Young” Bob Dylan
Duet: “I Lived” One Republic

Graham DeFranco – 28, Rockwall, TX, Aerial Survey Pilot
Mentor: Ben Rector
Solo: “Raye” John Splithoff
Duet: “Love Like This” Ben Rector

Andrea Valles – 23, Houston, TX, Wedding Singer
Mentor: Brian McKnight
Solo: “Lo Vas A Olvidar” Billie Eilish & Rosalia   
Duet: “Careless Whisper” George Michael

Cecil Ray – 20, Cameron, TX, Machine Operator
Mentor: Jimmie Allen
Solo: “Paint Me A Birmingham” Tracy Lawrence
Duet: “Freedom Was A Highway” Jimmie Allen

Willie Spence – 21, Douglas, GA, Caretaker
Mentor: Katharine McPhee
Solo: “Wind Beneath My Wings” Bette Midler
Duet: “The Prayer” Céline Dion & Andrea Bocelli

Grace Kinstler – 20, Lakewood, IL, College Student
Mentor: Joss Stone
Solo: “Queen” Jesse J
Duet: “Midnight Train to Georgia” Gladys Knight & the Pips

The remaining 12 contestants will perform when American Idol returns Monday, April 5 at 8 p.m. on ABC. 

By Danielle Long
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