American Idol 2023 Episode 12 Recap: More Amazing Live Performances

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan on American Idol 2023
Photographed: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Amerian Idol 2023 kicked off the first round of live performances on Sunday. There were  13 stellar performances that made us super excited for this crop of Idol contestants. Allen Stone helped them ease their way into performing live and for the votes of America. Now Noah Cyrus will help the contestants improve their performances before competing for live votes. We learned on Sunday’s American Idol episode that three contestants from each round will be eliminated, quickly taking us to the top 20 American Idol 21 contestants. Most likely, we will once again only have until 6 am ET tomorrow to vote for these 13 performers, but we likely won’t get the results of the top 20 until next Sunday and Monday’s episodes.

There is a lot of pressure and excitement with these performances, but hopefully, everyone continues to perform at a high level. The first 13 really showed us that these are an impressive bunch of Idol’s top 26. We’ll also find out about the mysterious 26th contestant. Last week, American Idol announced that there would be 26 people competing this year but we only counted 25. This means someone is missing. The rumor has it that someone made it to the top 26 but they dropped out of the competition before it aired. Therefore, the American Idol producers chose to omit them completely from the show. They will, however, be replaced by someone we did see in the competition.

Let’s dive into the next 13 performances.

The Performances

Elijah McCormick is the first to perform. He’s greeted by Noah Cyrus with a lot of enthusiasm. She talks about being excited to meet him. He sings “Good Vibes” by Chris Janson. You can text 14 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Elijah. Lionel Richie tells him that he had a great performance, but he wants him to attack it a little more. Katy Perry said he started the show off with a bang and that he nailed it. Luke Bryan said his song choice was a really cool one. He also said it was a great start to the night.

Ryan Seacrest mentions how someone in the top 26 bowed out so they went to the first alternate, who was Paige Anne. We see her learning that she made it to the top 26. Paige tells Noah Cyrus that she’s singing her sister’s song, “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. Noah said that that’s her favorite Miley song. Paige Anne is really nervous about her performance.  Katy said that she doesn’t like being wrong after Paige’s performance. Katy tells her that she belongs here. Luke said you need a little bit of luck in the music business and then you have to cease that moment. He said she did that with this performance. Lionel said that she nailed it and made them feel like they made the wrong decision (by eliminating her). You can text 15 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Paige Anne.

Photographed: Marybeth Byrd (ABC/Eric McCandless)
Photographed: Marybeth Byrd (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Marybeth Byrd is up next. She talks about being nervous to meet Noah Cyrus and asks her to sing some of her song “Mad at You.” Marybeth is singing “Heart Like A Truck” by Lainey Wilson. She’s nervous about hitting the high notes because of what happened during the Showstoppers round.  Luke tells her that he loves the country-ness that she brings to the music. He tells her that he got a little lost at the end but thinks she is a country star in the making. Lionel tells her that she got a future. Katy tells her that she is a solid storyteller.  You can text 16 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Marybeth.

Ryan confirms that the voting closes at 6 am ET tomorrow. The top 20 will be revealed next week.

We Ani will be singing “Edge of Midnight’ by Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks.  The judges give We Ani a standing ovation. Lionel said she has star quality and he’s in love with what she does. Katy loves a surprise factor. She calls her a star.  Luke said she has command of the stage.  You can text 17 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for We Ani.

Michael Williams is singing “Tuesdays” by Jake Scott as a dedication to his parents who are celebrating their 40th anniversary in Hawaii with him. Noah Cyrus coaches him to go up even higher in his vocal range for the song. You can text 18 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Michael. Katy said she had chill bumps. She said it was well delivered and so beautiful. She said he will be a star with or without them. Luke said it was his defining moment up until now. Lionel said he has the heartthrob thing, voice, and stage delivery. He said he nailed it and took it to another level.

Dawson Wayne is next to go. He knows he’s not one of the bigger voices in the competition, but he takes on a challenge with “Copycat” from Billie Eilish. You can text 19 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Dawson. Luke said that this is such a departure and he prefers his voice in his sweet spot, but it was a solid performance. Lionel said it was a risk. He tells them to vote because Dawson is amazing. Katy said she loved that he freaked her out.

Hannah Nicolaisen on American Idol 2023
Photographed: Hannah Nicolaisen (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Hannah Nicolaisen sings “Glitter in the Air” by P!nk. Hannah talks about being a little sick during her performance. Lionel tells her way to fight through it. Katy said the lyrics are so beautiful. Luke said that the voters really need to watch her growth. She’s shown the most growth, according to Luke. You can text 20 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Hannah.

Megan Danielle talks a lot about struggling with confidence. Noah Cyrus advises her to just enjoy herself because that’s the most important thing. She sings “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. Katy said that her voice really stood out tonight. Lionel calls her a stylist because it makes someone have a distinct voice and singing style. You can text 21 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Megan.

Malik Heard is up next to perform. Mickey Mouse and him have a dance battle.  He’s sing “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore. Noah Cyrus tells him to eliminate some of his runs. She tells him to connect and save his tricks. Luke said this was his best performance thus far. Katy called him a dark horse. She said she had some doubts about him before but not anymore. She said “he could” win the show but it’s up to the votes. Lionel said he lit the stage on fire. You can text 22 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Malik.

Olivia Soli is next and decides to change things up by singing “Emotions” by Mariah Carey. He called her crazy talented. Luke tells her that she’s probably a couple of steps above a lot of people in the competition. Katy tells her that she strutted all over the stage.  You can text 23 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Olivia.

Noah Cyrus performs “Everybody Needs Someone.”

Tyson Venegas on American Idol 2023
Photographed: Tyson Venegas (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Colin Stough struggles with his confidence and performance issues, so Noah Cyrus gives him some advice on how to connect with the audience. He sings “Midnight Train to Memphis” by Chris Stapleton. You can text 24 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Colin. Katy calls him a fish out of the water, but she loves him. Katy said he came in and out because of his confidence. She wants him to fake it until he makes it. She wants to see his teeth. Luke says he’s in the middle of figuring himself out. He said he’s learning a lot. Lionel was taken on a ride, but he came in it. He said it was perfect for tonight but his career is onward and upward.

Tyson Venegas is singing “It Will Be Rain” by Bruno Mars. He dedicates it to his family. You can text 25 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Tyson.  Lionel and Katy tell him that he was playing too much to the audience, but he can sing circles around them. Luke tells him that he needs to learn to do everything and not let the song suffer.

Nutsa is the final performance of the night. She’s singing “Paris (Ooh La La) by Grace Potter and Nocturnals. Luke said the performance embodied why they love her. He said she leaves is all there when on the stage. Lionel said she allows people to be affected by her energy and it was fun to watch. Katy said she like glitter bombs the stage. Katy tells her to not bring glitter to the stage next time. This results in Katy being booed. She then explains that she just wants Nutsa to change things up and pull them in with her heart. ou can text 26 to 21523 or vote on or the app to cast your votes for Nutsa.

That’s it for the week.

Join us next Sunday to see who advances to the top 20. It will be a special three-hour show. Add us on Facebook and Twitter for more American Idol recaps, spoilers, exclusives, and much more.