‘American Idol': Riley Thompson Charms for Votes With Sara Evans Tune
On Sunday night (Apr. 14) the Top 14 contestants on American Idol 2019 were performing for an extra special (and stressful) evening: Namely, America's votes! Viewers are allowed to vote overnight for the first time, and the singers chosen by the fans will advance to the Top 10 after a big reveal on Monday (Apr. 15).
The epitome of "country sweetheart," i.e. 16-year-old Riley Thompson, took the stage ready to charm yet again with another country cover, as well as a heartwarming tale of hometown support.
"After making it to the Top 14, I went back to Texas, and everyone was just so supportive of me," she related before her performance. "My cheer team surprised me, did a cheer with me. All my friends are flipping out, and my little sister is literally my biggest fan."
Thompson chose the bubbly and underserved Sara Evans hit "Suds in the Bucket," a fantastic selection both for its simple infectiousness and its moderately challenging range. She was rewarded with high praise from judge Luke Bryan, who praied her "great choice of song."
"How does it feel becoming a star?" asked Judge Luke Bryan. "That's a high note on that song, and the fact that you're hitting it and holding it out...great job elevating."
Judge Lionel Richie had similar raves."This has been an attack of the 16-year-old," he laughed. "You have slowly drifted in. But now you're crushing it. I'm telling you."
Judge Katy Perry, normally the most dramatic of the three, gave surprisingly level-headed praise "You grew up. I mean, for me, the only reason why you keep going to the next level is because you keep growing to the next level. You're doing so well. It's so natural.You are owning the stage, and then you did that little hair flip like it was nothing."
Perry did wonder what vitamins the teen happened to be taking, to which Bryan noted, "You don't take vitamins when you're 16. You don't have to."
"You're right," griped Perry. "You still have collagen in your face. Damn 16-year-olds!"
'American Idol' Country Finalists: Where Are They Now?