Katy Perry pretended to pass out on Monday’s episode of American Idol following an ecstatic performance by one of the most flamboyant singers in the top 20.
Wedding singer Uché Ndubizu, 24, only scraped through the season’s auditions, with Lionel Richie, 69, initially voting against him progressing.
But his transformation was so dramatic he brought out the wildest response to a night of performances that host Ryan Seacrest, 44, said gave him ‘chills.’
Passed out: Katy Perry pretended to swoon following an ecstatic performance by wedding singer Uché Ndubizu on Monday’s episode of American Idol
Katy – wearing a bright pink gown with a heart symbol in front – had already pointed at the goosebumps on her arms as Uché delivered his driving version of Jessie Reyez’s Figures.
When he finished, she stood and turned to fellow judge Lionel – then pretended to collapse from shock.
Luke Bryan, 42, initially pretended to fan her before taking a selfie.
‘Honestly, who the hell are you?’ Lionel finally asked Uché. ‘When I’m prepared, when I think that’s it – you go to another level. It’s crazy! I love you.’
Killed it: The 24-year-old singer nailed his driving rendition of Jessie Reyez’s Figures
Wedding singer: The wedding singer wowed the judges with his solo performance
Music legend: Lionel Richie praised Uché taking it to ‘another level’
Quick selfie: Luke Bryan took a quick selfie as Lionel helped Katy recover
Telling him that he had ‘all the tricks in the bag,’ Katy, 34, advised him to ‘keep finessing’ his performances, teasing him as she stressed: ‘Because you’re a lot – there’s no subtlety to Uché.’
Luke then marveled at his close-shave in the auditions, saying: ‘We almost sent him away! It’d have been a cataclysmic mistake. Incredible.’
Wade Cota, 27, appeared to bring one of the biggest surprises of the top 20’s solo performances when he sparked tears throughout the audience with his version of Kodaline’s All I Want.
Unique sound: Wade Cota provided one of the biggest surprises of the top 20 solo performances with his version of Kodaline’s All I Want
‘This will sound cliché – a star is born,’ Luke stated emphatically.
Lionel, meanwhile, insisted: ‘The music business needs to be inspired. Somebody has to come and shake the world up and that voice you have I know that’s you, my friend. Congratulations.’
Host Ryan then brought up Wade’s tearful mom Teri for hugs, saying: ‘He’s doing special things tonight on this show.’
Tender moment: The singer’s mother Teri was brought up on the stage and hugged her son
Dishwasher Alejandro Aranda, 24, had been a clear frontrunner right from the auditions where Luke said he was ‘in the presence of greatness.’
He further cemented that with his inspired transformation of Post Malone’s I Fall Apart which had Luke telling him: ‘I am not worthy to critique you.
‘I don’t know if this show in the history of the whole show has ever had somebody like you in my opinion.’
High praise: Alejandro Aranda was praised as a unique talent in the history of the show
‘I agree with Luke – there has been nothing like you,’ Lionel added. ‘You’re very special.’
Katy smiled as she told him: ‘You’re so much cooler than I. That arrangement was so next level. It was, ”Yes! I want my boyfriend here, I want a glass of wine in my hand, and I wanna watch the show, Alejandro.”
After Alejandro walked off stage, Luke predicted: ‘He’s gonna be a ginormous artist.’
The judges: Lionel, Katy and Luke Bryan critiqued the top 20 singers after their solo performances
Pretty cool: Alejandro smiled as Katy told him that he was cooler than her
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, 25, also stood out, with Katy saying she was ‘so beyond moved’ by his version of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love at the piano.
‘I think you are a really important contribution from the universe to music,’ she told the pastor’s son who had to leave home after being so open about his homosexuality. ‘You should never forget that whatever happens.’
Lionel stood to address Jeremiah, telling him how he had him ‘sucked in from the first note.’
Piano man: Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon also stood out, with Katy saying she was ‘so beyond moved’ by his version of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love
‘I’m telling you that was a brilliant performance – brilliant,’ Lionel said.
Luke, meanwhile, joked: ‘The whole time while you’re performing I’m like, ”I gotta get home and practice”.’
Laci Kaye Booth, 23, stunned the judges by picking Cheap Trick’s rocking classic I Want You To Want Me – but turning it into a slow, powerful and moving ode to love, with Luke gushing at how ‘bad a**’ it was.
Rock classic: Laci Kaye Booth, 23, stunned the judges by picking Cheap Trick’s rocking classic I Want You To Want Me – but turning it into a slow, powerful and moving ode to love
‘You were an A+ in my books but you are just ungradable at this point,’ Katy told her. ‘It’s really, really good.’
Lionel said: ‘The talent now is ridiculous and you are in that group. You have found your identity.’
Katy, meanwhile, had some unusual advice for Walker Burroughs.
Bespectacled singer: Walker Burroughs received unusual advice from Katy after his solo
‘Please, if you dress like Harry Potter and sing you will win this show!’ she told the 20-year-old bespectacled contestant.
‘I’m just tryna help ya win, brah,’ she joked after his take on The Bee Gees’ How Deep Is Your Love which had Luke telling him: ‘You just blew me away brother. You just looked like a seasoned pro to me.’
While Eddie Island, 25, performed The Lumineers’ Ho Hey, Luke said he was ‘about to cry’ – while Katy pointed to her eyes and Lionel admitted he was ‘doing the same thing.’
Magical singer: Katy told Walker that if continues to dress like Harry Potter and can sing that he will win the show
‘You can’t teach personality and authenticity and originality in your personality,’ Luke told him, admitting it was ‘a lot of ‘-ality’s, sorry.’
‘You perfectly nailed what we wanted.’
Eddie had insisted: ‘People might think I’m joking around, but I’ve waited my whole life to get here and I’m dead serious gonna win this thing, baby.’
Nailed it: Eddie Island, 25, performed The Lumineers’ Ho Hey and nearly made the judges cry
The host: Ryan Seacrest interviewed Eddie after his solo performance
Comeback kid Laine Hardy, 18, once again wowed Katy who screeched after his performance of Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home To Me: ‘Jesus take the wheel’
Claiming she was ‘scared’ of him, she said: ‘You are literally commanding the stage.’
Lionel also teased Laine for his confident sexy dance moves, saying: ‘We are in trouble now!’
Comeback kid: Laine Hardy, 18, once again wowed the judges and audience with his performance of Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home To Me
‘You can take that look all the way to the bank, my friend,’ Lionel said, imitating his hip swivels.
Laine came on the show to play guitar for a family friend who auditioned – and ended up getting picked to come back, too.
‘Everything you’re trying to do currently looks like you’re trying to win this competition,’ Luke insisted of his unexpected place back in the spotlight.
High stakes: Ryan kept the two-hour showing moving
High school student Alyssa Raghu, 16, also came back for a second shot – having been let go last season in the exact same stage.
‘This season I want to show them that I’ve really improved and can win American Idol,’ she vowed.
However, the judges agreed that Paramore’s Ain’t It Fun was not a good song choice, with Katy telling her: ‘I didn’t really hear those notes that I know Raghu has. Don’t forget that those notes are getting you here.’
Teen talent: Alyssa Raghu, 16, was hoping to advance further than her first time on the show
Lionel also felt she was ‘thinking beyond thinking’ rather than letting go, telling her: ‘If you have to think about it, it’s wrong. You have to give us your natural self.’
She still raised a scream from Katy when the teen insisted: ‘I know who I am – I know that I’m a pop star.’
Madison VanDenburg, 17, was compared to Idol’s biggest star in the auditions, with Katy once again telling her: ‘You really remind me of Kelly Clarkson. I’ve always thought of you like that.’
Young singer: Madison VanDenburg continued to remind Katy of American Idol’s first winner Kelly Clarkson
Luke suggested she made it look too easy during her performance of Jessie J.’s Domino, while Lionel stressed: ‘Stage presence is everything. We’re in love with you – make us love you more.’
Ryan introduced self-confessed ‘mama’s boy’ Shawn Robinson, by saying: ‘If American Idol was a competition for the biggest smile I think we’d already have a winner.’
After his performance of Nick Jonas’ Jealous, Lionel told him: ‘I think you’re surprising yourself. Keep surprising us and keep lifting yourself to that next level. Because you’re on your way, my friend.’
Nice surprise: Shawn Robinson surprised the judges with his version of Nick Jonas’ Jealous
Katy told teacher Evelyn Cormier, 19, that she has ‘one of the most unique voices I’ve ever heard.’
‘You really have something different than everyone else,’ she told the former 90 Day Fiancé reality TV star after her performance of John Denver’s Leaving On A Jet Plane.
‘Anyone can be a singer,’ Lionel told her. ‘Careers are built on being a stylist. Hold onto that – I’ll see you at the top.’
Reality star: Evelyn Cormier, 19, performed John Denver’s Leaving On A Jet Plane
Lionel also praised 25-year-old Ryan Hammond’s ‘storytelling voice’ following his take on Lauren Daigle’s You Say.
Luke told him: ‘You can elevate the room with just the power of your voice.’
Katy was initially most impressed with Raquel Trinidad’s look, telling the 21-year-old: ‘First of all, send a link to the outfit.’
She then insisted: ‘You are becoming an artist in front of our very eyes.
Strong voice: Ryan Hammond was praised for his strong voice following his take on Lauren Daigle’s You Say
Cool outfit: Raquel Trinidad, 21, initially impressed Katy with her outfit
Growing artist: The singer was congratulated for growing as an artist on the show
‘We’re looking for idols, we’re looking for artists, we’re not just looking for singers. And I think you really are showing that you can be that.’
Recovering addict Logan Johnson, 20, had one of the toughest nights – with Katy admitting his performance felt like a rehearsal.
When Luke admitted his take on City And Colour’s Love Don’t Live Here Anymore sounded ‘sleepy,’ Lionel insisted it was supposed to be sexy – but admitted: ‘We gotta bump you up a couple of notches on sexy.’
Strong effort: Recovering addict Logan Johnson, 20, had one of the toughest nights with his take on City And Colour’s Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
Sleepy sound: Luke felt the song started out sleepy
Dimitrius Graham, 27, confused the judges with his wild opening to Adele’s Hello, with Katy joked that he was ‘bringing out Pavarotti.’
‘Every time you open your mouth, we find somebody else inside,’ Lionel told him, insisting: ‘That is the way you are supposed to do this show.’
Katy told him: ‘You’ve got it all. Just know when to use it.’
Confusing start: Dimitrius Graham, 27, confused the judges with his wild opening to Adele’s Hello
High school student Riley Thompson, 16, took on the Dolly Parton song Jolene but was warned that she missed the depth of the heartbreaking classic.
‘It’s got a lot of grit. I want a little bit more,’ Katy told her of her ‘favorite’ Dolly tune. ‘Just throw yourself in some dirt or something.’
Luke agreed, advising: ‘Get it grittier and get more angst. Push yourself vocally every chance you can.’
Teen signer: Riley Thompson, 16, belted out the Dolly Parton song Jolene
Lacking depth: The teenager was warned that she missed the depth of the heartbreaking classic
Lionel teased New York subway singer Bumbly, 27, that she was so nervous waiting to take the stage that ‘four more seconds you would have passed out.’
‘Just relax and sing – you’ve got the goods,’ he told her.
After Ashley Hess, 27, played John Mayer’s Dreaming With A Broken Heart, Katy told her: ‘I thought I was at your show. I was literally lost in that performance. It was really amazing and very believable.’
Subway star: Bumbly was nervous before her solo performance but stepped up
Luke called her ‘mid-range sultry’ voice ‘just world-class iconic.’
As soon as Kate Barnette, 23, finished her version of Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning, Katy shouted: ‘That was dope! That checked so many boxes.’
Luke praised her for having a ‘style of her own,’ while Lionel smiled as he said: ‘Where did you get the funk from? Your style is on point.’
On piano: Ashley Hess, 27, played John Mayer’s Dreaming With A Broken Heart
World classic: Luke told Ashley that she had a ‘mid-range sultry’ voice ‘just world-class iconic’
The top 20 return next week for special duets with stars including Julia Michaels, Brett Young, Shaggy, Jason Mraz, Neil Dorado and Lukas Graham.
Other big names include Chris Isaak, Pat Benatar and Ben Harper who said of frontrunner Alejandro: ‘I heard the kid and I was in.’
Six will be sent home after the All-Star Duetswhen American Idol returns Sunday and Monday on ABC.
Funky style: Kate Barnette, 23, was praised for her version of Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning
Boxes checked: Katy told the singer that her performance ‘checked so many boxes’