'American Idol' top 5 prep for semi-finals, face tough competition and COVID

'American Idol' judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie look ahead to semi-final round with top 5 performers

George Pennacchio Image
Saturday, May 14, 2022
'American Idol' top 5 look ahead to semi-finals
'American Idol' is down to the final five competitors; Carrie Underwood offers final mentoring help, while the young hopefuls battle each other, and COVID, to make it to the finale.

HOLLYWOOD -- "American Idol" is now down to five contestants. Getting this far meant they have the opportunity to be mentored by former "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood.

Judge Katy Perry has one key piece of advice for the semi-finalists.

"If you've got any more aces up your sleeve, pull them out! Pull them out!" said Perry.

The Top 5 includes Fritz Hager, Huntergirl, Leah Marlene, Nicolina and Noah Thompson.

When they sing, Perry is often silently coaching from her judges' chair.

"Sometimes, I'm at the desk looking at them going 'draw it out!' I'm such a stage mom," said Perry.

Fellow judge Lionel Richie says these final singers all share one thing in common: Real talent!

"I mean, from here on out, it's not about coaching. It's really about improving," said Richie. "We're throwing off amazing people now to the point where it sickens me."

The contestants are giving their all until the end.

"We just get closer and closer and I feel like, you know, when people go home, it sucks, worst part of the night. But at the same time, it's grind time. It's time to push," said NIcolina.

Last Sunday, the two men still in the competition couldn't do the press line because they were both dealing with testing positive for COVID.

But the women joined forces. Huntergirl once again heard she had a voice that was radio ready.

"I've always wanted to hear my song on the radio and so for them to say that, people I've looked up to since I was young, it just kind of hits you all at once," said Huntergirl.

"I came into the show having no expectations. I came in to just deliver my goods and not change anything about me! Deliver my goods! Not change a thing, just like, maybe that's what people like is that I'm not, I'm not trying to be anybody else," said Leah Marlene.

Two of the Top 5 will be eliminated on Sunday, May 15. That leaves three to move on to the finale on May 22.