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American Idol Red Wine Recap: Goofy Disney animations and amazing Mother’s Day dedications

Francisco Martin singing near blue butterflies
Top Seven Idol contestant Francisco Martin sings among the blue butterflies on Disney night. Pic credit: ABC

Francisco has butterflies swarming around his head. Just Sam looks like a giant standing in a teeny-tiny castle.

Katy is Mrs. Jumbo from Dumbo.

It’s Disney Songbook night folks! Thank goodness for the Mother’s Day round-two dedications!

Yes, Idol-Addicts, in the blink of an eye, we have found ourselves in the fantastical land of Idol Top 7.

What’s more, the finale is next week, but how will the winner be announced?

I mean, will Just Sam be in a room throwing confetti on herself?

man throwing confetti on himself
Idol Finale: 2020 style. Pic credit: Giphy

I feel so rushed and confused. I need a merlot to slow me down! But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s recap.

Idol Top 7 Disney Songbook and Mother’s Day Performances

1. Arthur Gunn – Kiss the Girl / Hey Ma

Arthur Gunn sings from home
Arthur Gunn finds his inner Sebastian, staying true to his reggae vibe on Idol’s Disney Night. Pic credit: ABC

Wow. Did we really go from a song by Sebastian the Sea Crab to the amazingness that is Bon Iver in one episode? We sure did! And Arthur Gunn took us there.

As a Mother’s Day present to me, Ryan announced Arthur’s safety first (Thank you for that, Rye). And thank YOU, America!

This long-time favorite of mine all but ran away with the competition tonight. He was the ONLY one to make a Disney song sound modern and cool through the change of a chord.

And, lo and behold, it worked. Everything works with this guy.

Seriously, remember when he was too genius for the band with his Credence Clear Water arrangement? Yeah. I do too.

And then, to make my heart pitter-patter even more for him, he chooses a Bon Iver song, Hey Ma, for his Mother’s Day dedication. Don’t even get me started on his letter to his mom.

I don’t know what else this guy can do. I’ve said it since my recap of the premiere, and I’m saying it now: Arthur Dibesch is the Light. Arthur Gunn for the win.

Just don’t ever tell him to sing the phone book, again, okay, Lionel? I thought we got rid of that line in Randy Jackson’s season.

2. Just Sam – A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes / I Turn to You

Just Sam standing in a pretend castle
Just Sam towers over the Idol castle on Disney Night/Mother’s Day round. Pic credit: ABC

And now, the hard part. Just Sam.

First of all, Just Sam’s Disney round had her looking like she was in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood, and I was waiting for Mr. McFeely to come around the bend in his toy train.

Mr. Rogers saying "Roger that"
Pic credit: Giphy

Second, I’m experiencing some sort of combination of “I’ve sorta drank in one too many ‘Aunty Katys'” and a lack of vocal prowess. At least to hang with the big dogs in this competition.

There. I said it. And it was hard.

As you know, Just Sam has been one of my favorites — for many reasons (not the least of which is the fact that her adorable grandma is named Elizabeth!).

But now, I don’t know… she’s just kind of slipping away from me.

And coming for her spot, or should I say Arthur Gunn’s spot, is this dark horse ….

3. Jonny West – Almost There / Amazing Grace

Jonny West playing piano and his mom watching
Jonny West sings Amazing Grace to his mom Michelle after making Top 7. Pic credit: ABC

Oh, Jonny West. You enigma you.

Just as I wrote, “who does this guy’s voice remind me of? He’s got a Billy Joel vibe to him but mixed with a more modern vibe of someone else….,” Katy says, “you have a mix of Billy Joel” and then rattles off two other names.

While they weren’t the names I was trying to pinpoint, I am reminding myself that Katy is becoming the most astute judge on the panel. Ah-hem. Ah-hem (She was in my head last week, too, after all!).

One thing’s for sure: Jonny stays true to himself. Even to the point of choosing a “traditional” version of Amazing Grace.

Oh, wait. Did he add lyrics? Like a whole original verse? Dang. It blended so seamlessly, I missed that one.

He does have God-given songwriting talents, and (of course), Katy compared him to the judges’ beloved Alejandro. She flat out tells him that she wants him to win!

Um…. did you just forget Arthur’s cover of Bon Iver, Ms. Perry? Let’s get back to that astuteness, shall we?

In all seriousness, though, I like Jonny. If we were still in the days when the Top 2 battled it out in the finale (oh how I miss those days!), I’d wager a guess that it would be Jonny and Arthur standing side-by-side.

I’m sure Margie would be proud.

4. Francisco Martin – You’ll Be in My Heart / River

Francisco Martin singing near blue butterflies
Top Seven Idol contestant Francisco Martin sings among the blue butterflies on Disney night. Pic credit: ABC

Francisco is no longer by his mom’s living room trinkets. In fact, he’s in the jungle! Watch out, Francisco! Here comes a baby gorilla! Okay, Francisco, now duck! Here comes a swarm of neon blue butterflies!

Oh, wait. That’s a faux background. Silly me. It’s just so darn distracting!

I’m pretty sure Francisco’s vocals were good. They always are. He’s definitely likable and still has that momma’s boy thing going for him. (Shout out to you, Fatima!)

He’s just not a standout for me and doesn’t have that “signature” sound, like… you know what’s coming… need I say it? Oh, you know it. Arthur. Mr. Gunn, if you’re nasty.

But back to Francisco. After Francisco sang his mom’s song (River by Leon Bridges) (yes!), Katy basically said he was better than Louis Knight.

Them’s fightin’ words, Katy! But thanks for reminding us this is actually a competition and not kumbaya land, which I have been sucked into since last week.

Okay, I’m done with the sweet tea! Daughter, fetch mom her tequila!

Oh, I keed I keed.

5. Louis Knight – Can You Feel the Love Tonight / You’ve Got a Friend

Louis Knight looking over while singing
Louis Knight sings to his mom after making Idol Top 7. Pic credit: ABC

Speaking of Louis Knight…. um…. let’s see…..

Welllllll…. I like him. But if he were to win, how much would he just blend with the other two break-out stars from One Direction? I’m just sayin.’

There goes Katy in my head again. “Niall Horan better watch out,” she warns.

We get it. He’s British. But he’s also “linear” per Luke Bryan. I concur, Luke!

I’m pretty sure I heard “can you feel” about 10 times in a row during his Lion King performance. And while his Mother’s Day dedication was no doubt sweet, it just doesn’t cut the mustard at the end of the day.

6. Julia Gargano – Beauty and the Beast / Sweetest Devotion

Idol Julia Gargano singing outside near mom
Julia Gargano dedicates her Top Seven song to mom, Jeanne. Pic credit: ABC

Though I couldn’t get into Julia’s Disney song, I sure did get into her Mother’s Day one.

Beauty and the Beast felt like a cruise ship performance, and her lows weren’t right. The judges agreed, and the critique visibly deflated Julia. But she sure picked up the pieces in the second half with Adele’s Sweetest Devotion.

She delivered attitude and believability. (It probably helped that her biggest fan, mom, was sitting next to her singing along.)

Julia would be the “ideal” Idol winner. She’s commercial. She’s got a voice that would sound great through the airwaves. And she’s “ga-gorgeous.”

And now that Sophia James and Grace Leer are both out of the picture, she’s the strongest remaining female.

pouring one out for the homies
This one’s for you, Sophia and Grace!

7. Dillon James – Our Town / Hang On

Dillon James singing for family
Dillon James hangs on another week to make Idol Top 7. Pic credit: ABC

OMG, wow. I was not expecting this one. Not only did Dillon have the weakest performance last week, but, again, this means we have to say goodbye to Sophia and her brother James?! WHHHHYYYY????

Let’s hear you sing a cheesy version of Our Town, Spiritual Cowboy.

As he sings, all I really can think about is whether an animated car will wander across the screen. It hasn’t happened but I do spy a Woody from Toy Story over there in the corner.

Dillon’s Our Town performance was miles better than last week’s Beatles song.

His eyes are all glistening, and by the time his mom Lindy reads her mother’s day card, I’m officially in tears. Alright, Spiritual Cowboy. Welcome to the Top 7.

His Hang On performance also was good enough to keep him hanging on for another week.

Oh, but wait. Next week is the finale! Aaaahhhhh.

Until then, what do you think about our Top Seven? More importantly, can you believe we actually had a Laine Hardy appearance tonight?

I guess Alejandro was booked! Til’ next week, my Idol-Addicts!

Liz is a reality TV junkie, reformed attorney, and mom to Kayla—an 8-year-old who is wittier than she’ll ever be. She decided to mix her... read more
Liz Long

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