Sunday night’s episode of “American Idol” was covered in pixie dust.
As part of Disney Night, the top 10 contestants tackled iconic songs from the Walt Disney canon, kicking off the episode with a spirited ensemble performance of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from “Encanto,” which featured appearances from cast members Adassa and Rheny Feliz.
Even the judges got into the Disney spirit, with judge Katy Perry dressing up as Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” and Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan wheeling her to the judges’ table. But Perry may want to reconsider mermaid life, as she fell over in her chair shortly after sitting down.
“Are you okay? Are you all right?” host Ryan Seacrest asked Perry.
Perry playfully shook off the fumble, taking a swig of her drink while the audience chanted her name in support.
Here’s what else went down, including “Dancing with the Stars” alum Derek Hough mentoring the contestants in Disneyland for their performances.
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Lady K was gunning for redemption with her performance Sunday night. After landing in the bottom two last week, the 25-year-old singer’s confidence was shaken.
“It was scary,” Lady K told Hough during rehearsal. “I instantly went to, ‘What did I do wrong?’ ”
Hough reassured a tearful Lady K of her place on the show. “You deserve to be here,” he said. “Your tears are beautiful.”
Lady K channeled her soulful vocals for a stirring rendition of “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana.” Richie praised Lady K for the progress she’s made.
“You look like a star, you sound like a star,” Richie told Lady K. “More importantly, I want you to know that your growth from that beginning to now is unbelievable.”
Bryan said the performance “validated” the judges’ previous decision to save Lady K from elimination: “We’re so glad we had the opportunity to save you.”
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Noah Thompson gave a heartfelt performance of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story,” which he dedicated to his friend Arthur, who encouraged him to audition for “Idol.”
“One of Noah’s greatest strengths is his personality,” Hough said in a prerecorded interview. “If he can capture that onstage, it’ll make America feel like we’re just one of his buddies singing along with him as well.”
Perry loved the way the 19-year-old construction worker reinvented the Disney classic.
“You gave it so much character and color and country crooning,” Perry told Thompson after his performance. “It was some of your best vocals ever.”
Bryan chimed in: “If you can, on the fly, put your little sparkle on that song, the sky’s the limit on what you can do throughout your whole career.”
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High schooler Emyrson Flora delivered a sweet performance of “Carried Me With You” from “Onward.” Perry said she appreciated how Flora elevated her stage presence for the performance.
“You’ve come so far,” Perry told Flora. “I love when you connect with your body language and your eyes and come out of your shell.”
Richie also noted the 16-year-old’s growing command of the stage.
“Stage presence only comes with experience, so don’t worry about it so much,” Richie said. “Your voice and your presence onstage is really top-notch material.”
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HunterGirl served up an enchanting performance of “I See the Light” from “Tangled,” earning a standing ovation from the judges.
“If this is how you sound when going to Disneyland, I recommend going at least once a week,” Perry told HunterGirl after her performance. “You have never sounded better, held notes in such a spectacular way; you pushed that vocal.”
Bryan said the performance signaled the 23-year-old singer’s potential.
“Obviously, you are a country girl from Tennessee, but the elegance and the beauty in that performance, like, I can see award shows in the future where you have the spotlight,” Bryan said.
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Jay slowed things down with an earnest performance of “Remember Me” from “Coco.”
Perry gave the 23-year-old medical receptionist props for his captivating showmanship.
“You’re the only one so far that has really used the stage to their advantage,” Perry told Jay. “We want the stage to be used up, we want that energy, and you did it.”
Richie complimented the range Jay showed with his performance.
“You are a star, automatically,” Richie said. “What I want you to understand now is how far you will go, not in this competition, but in the career of this music business. That was levels you showed us tonight.”
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Leah Marlene kept things intimate with a tender performance of “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2,” which Bryan called “incredible.”
“You’re just a great singer,” Bryan told Marlene after her performance. “You’ve yet to hit a bad note in this competition. You always tell the story perfectly, and you just did it with that song.”
Perry also praised Marlene’s narrative singing style.
“You just really have that storytelling voice, and I’m just hooked on every single word that you sing,” Perry said.
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Nicolina went for a dramatic flair, delivering a campy rendition of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from “The Little Mermaid.”
“That was a presentation,” Richie told Nicolina after her performance. “You scared Katy to death,” he added jokingly, referring to Perry, who was crouched behind the judges’ table.
Perry was floored by Nicolina’s performance, saying the 18-year-old college student stole the show.
“That is how you do it: That’s how you do show business,” Perry said. “That was the best performance of the night so far.”
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Mike Parker gave a powerhouse performance of “You’ll Be in My Heart” from “Tarzan,” which the 27-year-old carpenter dedicated to his mother, who’s battling leukemia.
“If he can connect his personal story in those first few lines, we’re gonna be with him and it’s gonna be a powerful moment,” Hough said in a prerecorded interview.
Perry and Bryan were moved by Parker’s heartfelt performance. “You sang that with your mother in your heart, and we could feel every moment of that,” Perry told Parker.
Bryan added: “What a tough song to get through and navigate, and you navigated it amazingly.”
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Christian Guardino offered a soaring performance of “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King.” Richie gushed over Guardino’s unshakeable stage presence.
“Tonight, you were standing totally in your light,” Richie told Guardino. “You actually were shining bright.”
Perry said while she initially had her doubts, the 21-year-old kitchen worker’s rendition was his best performance.
“Before you started the song, I was like, ‘Oh, this is a whole bit,’ and I hope he doesn’t overdo it,” Perry said. “It was perfect.”
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Fritz Hager lit up the “Idol” stage with a passionate performance of “Go the Distance” from “Hercules.”
Richie praised Hager as the dark horse of the competition.
“You have always been our surprise package on this show,” Richie told Hager. “Tonight, you stepped again into your light…I’m so proud of you.”
Bryan gave the 22-year-old props for the consistency of his performances.
“You always nail it,” Bryan said. “You understand the dynamics of taking the song and creating these moments within the songs. You’re not surprising me anymore.”
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Who went home?
After America’s votes were counted, Flora, Parker and Lady K were sent home, leaving contestants Leah Marlene, Jay, Noah Thompson, Fritz Hager, HunterGirl, Nicolina and Christian Guardino to advance to the top 7.
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