American Idol’s star judges helped pick the final three contestants for this season’s top 10 on Monday’s live episode of the ABC singing competition show.
But they were far from the only superstars who already have become huge fans of the frontrunners.
Ben Harper insisted he only joined Alejandro Aranda, 24, for a duet because he was such a fan – and Fleetwood Mac legend Stevie Nicks admitted bawling when she watched the dishwasher’s initial audition.
Early frontrunner: Alejandro Aranda performed an original song on American Idol on Monday after advancing into the top 10
‘My tears did not stop until he stopped,’ she wrote, welcoming him to the ‘grand stage that will be your home for the rest of your extraordinary life.’
The elimination episode also revealed that pop superstar Elton John had posted gushing praise on Instagram for 26-year-old Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon after his performance of one of his songs.
‘Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon’s version of We All Fall In Love Sometimes took my breath away. An amazing talent,’ Elton wrote on Instagram.
Host Ryan Seacrest, 44, insisted: ‘The buzz is that this group is the most talented in Idol history.’
Another favorite: Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon also took to the piano after making it into the top 10
Both Alejandro and Jeremiah clearly also made fans among viewers as each landed one of seven spots in the top 10 based on nationwide voting.
The judges – including a pink-haired Katy Perry, 34, in a shimmering flapper dress – then got to make picks of their own after watching the remaining seven all sing for their lives on the show.
Katy noted how hard it was for them having to perform immediately after being told viewers did not vote them through.
The judges: Lionel Richie, pink-haired Katy Perry and Luke Bryan received an enthusiastic welcome from the audience
‘It’s crazy to go, ‘Hey! Rejection! Now sing!” she admitted.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was Uché Ndubizu, 24, who had become such a big favorite for the judges Katy twice pretended to pass out from his performances.
Lionel Richie, 69, wasted no time righting that wrong – walking up to hug Uché and send him through even before decision time.
Survival song: Uché Ndubizu was forced to sing for survival after he failed to make the top 10 in nationwide voting
Big hug: Lionel rushed to the stage to encourage Uche who was saddened that viewers didn’t vote him in and placed him in the top 10 with his judge’s pick
‘We are not in the singing business; we are in the entertainment business,’ Lionel said as Uché sobbed beside him.
‘This – THIS Is an entertainer. And where an entertainer belongs…’ Lionel said – walking him straight over to the top 10 seating area.
Ryan had earlier hugged Uché when he tearfully admitted he was ‘sad’ at not getting through, feeling America rejected him showing ‘who I am.’
Showing support: Ryan Seacrest earlier hugged Uché when he tearfully admitted he was ‘sad’ at not getting through, feeling America rejected him showing ‘who I am’
The other judges were also shocked he did not get voted through.
‘I don’t understand how America can’t feel the electricity that this young man puts up,’ Luke Bryan, 42, said. ‘You’re electric and it’ll never go away.’
Luke insisted he had ‘changed my mind three times’ – before picking 27-year-old Dimitrius Graham ‘on the sheer emotion I felt’ during his live performance of Billie Eilish’s When The Party’s Over.
Welcoming committee: LaineHardy, Walker Burroughs, Alejandro, Jeremiah and Wade Cota welcomed Uche into the top 10
Three picks: Lionel, Katy and Luke each could pick one singer to advance who wasn’t voted into the top 10
Pink hair: Katy rocked pink hair and blue sleeves for the live episode
‘Way to fight, man. That’s a big fight you just put up,’ Luke had told him at the time, while Katy reckoned they finally heard his ‘heart’ because the rejection ‘hurts, and we can hear that.’
‘It’s not about technicality it’s about connection,’ she told him.
Katy insisted picking was the hardest part of the show, before declaring: ‘You better fight for your life the next time you sing Alyssa Raghu.’
Coach pick: Dimitrius Graham was picked by Luke to join the top 10
The 17-year-old comeback kid danced on the spot and waved away tears at getting the final spot through to the next round.
She seemed to have deliberately targeted Katy for her vote – singing the star’s own The One Who Got Away for her survival song.
‘How dare you,’ Katy said with mock anger. ‘How dare you sing that song 100 times better than me!’
Own song: Katy picked Alyssa Raghu to advance into the top 10 after she sang her own song The One Who Got Away
Song choice: Alyssa seemed to have deliberately targeted Katy for her vote by singing her song
Comparing it to a ‘second semester’ of ‘a really important masterclass,’ Katy reminded the teen: ‘You’ve got so much time.’
‘At 17 the sky’s the limit for you,’ Lionel agreed.
Their decisions meant the end for four favorites: Evelyn Cormier, 20, Eddie Island, 25, Ashley Hess, 28, and Riley Thompson, who at 16 was the youngest competitor.
Tough decisions: The judges ended up eliminating Evelyn Cormier, 20, Eddie Island, 25, Ashley Hess, 28, and Riley Thompson, who at 16 was the youngest competitor
The moment: Alyssa reacted as she learned that she was advancing
Strong effort: Eddie Island performed for a final time on the show
Teen talent: Riley was the youngest singer in the competition
Katy had stood in apparent outrage when Eddie failed to get an automatic spot, before admitting to him his recent performances were not his best.
‘I think you get nervous, that’s all,’ she told him.
Lionel then praised Ashley for ‘doing some Lionel Richie moves’ during her performance of Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke.
High praise: Ashley Hess was praised by Lionel for ‘doing some Lionel Richie moves’ during her performance of Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke
Calling Stevie one of her biggest inspirations, Ashley said: ‘If I’m gonna go out I’m gonna go out with a bang.’
Evelyn had been the first one told she was not automatically through, with Katy yelling at the time: ‘It doesn’t mean you’re not in! We still have a vote!’
‘This is not the end by any chance,’ Lionel told her. ‘This is probably the beginning of your long career. I love your voice.’
Reality star: 90 Day Fiance star Evelyn Cormier performed one last time before her elimination
After Riley didn’t get her automatic spot, Lionel compared the show to a tennis match.
‘Forget the point – it’s all about the game,’ he told her. ‘Right now you have the shot at the game of the entertainment business. You’ll be back.’
Of the seven voted through, Walker Burroughs, 20, created the night’s biggest excitement – after it was revealed his local ice cream store, Bruster’s in Birmingham, Alabama, named a flavor in tribute to him.
Flavor tribute: Walker Burroughs, 20, created the night’s biggest excitement – after it was revealed his local ice cream store, Bruster’s in Birmingham, Alabama, named a flavor in tribute to him
‘Send me a pint!’ Katy screamed, later racing up to grab a large tub Ryan had brought out onstage.
‘I have secured the bucket!’ she yelled, with all the judges – and then Walker and Ryan – all digging in, before Katy said: ‘I have a cold.’
Ryan reminded Katy that she predicted during the auditions that Walker would be top 10, asking her now: ‘What did you see in him in the audition?’
Early favorite: Katy pegged Walker to make the top 10 during auditions
‘Harry Potter,’ Katy quipped.
High school student Madison VanDenburg, 17, was the first sent through – seemingly even more overwhelmed when she had to perform immediately after getting the news.
‘I was just trying not to cry,’ Madison admitted of her performance of Lady Gaga’s You & I, saying she was ‘just very thankful.’
Student singer: Madison VanDenburg, 17, was the first sent through
‘This is my dream. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted,’ she said.
After Jeremiah got his spot, Wade Cota, 27, was the fourth sent through, with Ryan initially teasing him that it was bad news.
‘You’ve gotta wind it up a little bit,’ Ryan insisted after Katy called him ‘so mean.’
Good news: Wade Cota, 27, was the fourth sent through, with Ryan initially teasing him that it was bad news
Laci Kaye Booth, 23, got the fifth automatic spot, with the sixth one going to 18-year-old Laine Hardy.
‘Smokin Hot!’ Katy gushed after Laine’s version of The Band of Heathens’ Hurricane, stumbling over her words and saying: ‘I can’t talk – you’re smokin’ hot. You look so good, so you sound so good – you’re a rock star and I’m shy,’ she joked.
Ryan pointed out that Laine was wearing a shirt Luke had worn before, with the star smiling: ‘I didn’t wear it like that.’
Made it: Laci Kaye Booth, 23, got the fifth automatic spot
Rising star: Comeback kid Laine Hardy also made it into the top 10
The final spot from viewers’ votes went to Alejandro – who showed off yet another new talent, playing amazing piano riffs and runs for another original song, Cholo Love.
The top 10 will perform when American Idol returns next week on ABC.
Maddie Poppe, 21, won season 16 of American Idol in May 2018.
Next week: Lionel, Katy and Luke will be back next week as the top 10 perform
Top 10: The next winner of American Idol will be either Walker, Laci, Jeremiah, Laine, Wade, Alejandro, Uche, Dimitrius, Madison and Alyssa