American Idol made its way to Ko Olina, Hawaii’s Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa on Sunday (March 29) where the Top 40 contestants took the stage with hopes to advance to the next round.
After a health scare and emotional performance of Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow” during Hollywood Week last week, 17-year-old Makayla Brownlee returned to the Idol stage to perform “More Hearts Than Mine” by Ingrid Andress. Brownlee sang the popular country ballad in front of AI judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie as well as her boyfriend and 17 family members.
“I am so inspired by watching just your story and your challenges, you have scared the living daylight out of us, It has just been amazing to watch you fight, you have so many unique qualities to your voice, the way you back phrase stuff is timeless old school trips and we’ve enjoyed hearing that.” Bryan explained.
The superstar went on to question the arrangement of the song.
“With your song that you chose, why did you change the arrangement up so much, I mean, I am a big fan of that song,” he questioned.
Brownlee explained that she wanted the song to be “faster” so that the judges could see a different side of her.
“Makayla, you’re gonna inspire some people and you’ve inspired us in a lot of ways and we’ve enjoyed watching you every night, I don’t think last night was your strongest performance and were at that point in the competition that everybody has to be at their game,” Bryan shared. “For right now, you’re not gonna make it to the top 20 but I want you know that we love you so much.”
Before Brownlee exited the stage, Perry assured her, “you are the strongest person here, girl you fighting, I am so proud how far you’ve come and I hope you learned so much.”
Unfortunately Brownlee did not advance to the Top 20. It seems as if she took a risky move when she rearranged the song.
“That song is very tender, that’s probably one of the hottest female songs in country right now, I can’t believe she changed it up that much” Bryan explained to the other judges after her performance.
Prior to her performance, Brownlee received some advice from Ingrid Andress via a FaceTime call with Bobby Bones. Bones explained that Andress is a really good friend of his, before offering to call her for a quick piece of advice.
“Oh my gosh, is she actually gonna answer,” Brownlee asked.
Andress quickly answered the call and Bones asked her to give Brownlee a piece of advice for her performance.
“Don’t overthink it, don’t get nervous, I mean you’re gonna be great,” Andress said.
Brownlee first impressed the judges with her audition, where she covered Dixie Chicks “Travelin’ Solider.”
American Idol returns on Sunday (April 5) at 8 p.m. ET/PT.