American Idol: Arthur Gunn Returns as the Top 7 Reveals on Disney Night
The sweet sounds of synergy filled the American Idol studio on Sunday when this season’s top 9 (plus one!) Performed classic entries from the Disney songbook.
But first a returning finalist from last season was given a real wish for a star when Ryan Seacrest revealed America has put Arthur Gunn (aka last season runner-up) back into the game. And just like that, we were back in the top 10.
Before we break down this week’s accomplishments, let’s jump straight to the results. After the two-hour broadcast on Sunday, the following three finalists were eliminated from the competition: Deshawn Goncalves, Alyssa Wray (!!!) and Cassandra Coleman (also !!!). That leaves Chayce Beckham, Casey Bishop, Willie Spence, Hunter Metts, Caleb Kennedy, Grace Kinstler and Arthur Gunn as our top 7.
Read on for our breakdown of Sunday performances. The official video will be added as it becomes available:
CALEB KENNEDY, Jan. | First of all, I’m zero percent surprised that this bottle of Nyquil performed a song by Cars. I’m just relieved that he didn’t do “Life is a Autobahn”. To his credit, Kennedy seemed to add an ounce more of excitement to this performance than in previous songs (I’ll credit the fairy dust), but it was still the same old routine he gave us every week. Katy Perry tried again to elicit more energy from him (“Every time you hire us, we lean in!”), But the expectations are so low that Lionel Richie applauded him for “actually giving us a smile” . Click here to see.
WILLIE SPENCE, 21 | This beautiful soul rocked a new “Th” and kept the show going with a joyful arrangement of the Lion King’s “Circle of Life”. It wasn’t as stunning as some of Spence’s previous performances, but a last-minute key change and a strong final note ensured we could remember this for hours. Luke Bryan, who says: “You just brought me to life in your circle of life”, also wins the award for the strangest comment of the night. Clock:
DESHAWN GONCALVES, 20 | After talking to Stamos in the bathroom, Goncalves decided to try something different this week and take Pinocchio’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” in a jazzy way. There was something awkward about this opening segment, but when the song settled in its lighthearted groove, Goncalves was very much in his element. The grades weren’t always there and it felt like a full blown lounge performance at times, but the judges absolutely ate it up.
CASEY BISHOP, Jan. | When I saw Bishop perform “When She Loved Me” my expectations immediately went through the roof and I was not disappointed. Not only did she provide chill-inducing vocals, but she was also the first finalist of the night to tell a whole story on that stage. This Toy Story 2 ballad was more vulnerable (but no less exciting) than some of Bishop’s previous appearances, and it also featured emotional new pockets in her voice. The whole experience was like floating on a cloud, similar to Andy’s bedroom wallpaper.
CHAYCE BECKHAM, Jan. | I practically grew up on Dumbo (without that one scene) so I always worry when someone is playing “Baby Mine” on this show. And by that I mean, I worry about how much I’ll sob. (Perry’s cover even caught me wearing that ridiculous costume last year.) Anyway, Beckham’s 90s alt-rock version of the world’s most depressing lullaby was perfectly adequate, though it didn’t bring out the tears I was expecting. I think I also agree with Bryan that it was “great on the ears”.
ALYSSA WRAY, Jan. | The singing, the dress, the mood – everything about this performance of Cinderella’s “A dream is a wish that your heart makes” got a big yes from me. Idol loves updating classic songs so I really appreciated that Wray stayed true to the times with this song. It felt like a real Disney setback, more so than most of the other performances of the night. And what began as a beautiful take on a beloved princess ballad turned into a bombastic display of Wray’s incredible whistling. Just wonderful.
ARTHUR GUNN, 23 | After giving us a basement show of “Kiss the Girl” during last season’s Disney Night, Gunn played Coco’s “Remember Me” – a movie he needs to see right now, and you, if you haven’t, already have. I was initially against the idea of bringing anyone back from last season, but I sing a different tune after this absolute delight of comeback performance. Gunn belongs on this stage. In all honesty, I’m just surprised he didn’t try to convince the judges that “Have you ever seen the rain?” Was secretly a Disney song.
CASSANDRA COLEMAN, 24 | I feel like we rarely hear a song like Hercules’ “Go the Distance” performed by a singer, let alone a real wood nymph, so that was really delightful. As she sometimes does, it took Coleman a minute to find her booth, but when she got to that bridge, she absolutely took off. Confident, powerful, and completely in her element, Coleman built himself into a powerful finish that deserves a hero’s welcome.
HUNTER METTS, 22 | Fresh from this emotional flub of poetry, Metts returned to the stage with new self-confidence. His gentle, sweet version of Tarzan’s “You will be in my heart” was beautiful and gradually turned into something really impressive. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Metts after last week’s dramatic incident, but this performance was a solid reminder of all he has to offer.
GRACE KINSTLER, Jan. | And then it happened. Idol usually saves it as a show stopper at the end, but even I wasn’t prepared for that melting performance of “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II. Equal parts Idina Menzel and Panik! In the disco, Kinstler blew up the roof of the studio and gave us the greatest moment of the night. And then the next bigger moment. Then another.
Your thoughts on this week’s performances and (somewhat shocking) eliminations? Drop them in a comment below.