Caleb Kennedy, Chayce Beckham Both Make ‘American Idol’ Top 5 With Original Songs [Watch]
American Idol whittled its Top 7 down to the Top 5 on Sunday night (May 9), with fans voting live as the remaining contestants on Season 19 each performed two songs: one from the discography of pop/rock group Coldplay and one in honor of Mother's Day.
Country-focused Idol hopeful Caleb Kennedy leaned once again into his songwriting side on both performances, choosing to perform "Violet Hill," a fairly obscure song off Coldplay's 2008 album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. For the Mother's Day segment of the episode, Kennedy opted for an original song -- a tactic he's taken several times over the course of the season, often very successfully.
Once again, Kennedy's talents as a songwriter didn't disappoint. His original song, "Mama Said," drew praise from all three judges for its understated wisdom and heart, with judge Lionel Richie exclaiming, "That's a 90-year-old man writing that song."
Another Idol contestant who has shown a penchant for the country genre during Season 19, Chayce Beckham, also impressed with an original song written with his mom in mind. Beckham's journey to the American Idol stage hasn't always been easy, and in the past, he struggled with a precipitous relationship with alcohol, culminating in a near-fatal car crash.
His song's vulnerability earned praise from the judges, with Luke Bryan offering him a "Way to go" and Richie admitting that the song nearly had him in tears.
Ultimately, Kennedy and Beckham's original material paid off: Both will move forward into the show's Top 5. Meanwhile, another country-leaning contestant, Arthur Gunn -- who was the runner-up contestant on Season 18 of Idol, and made it back into the mix in Season 19 after winning the "Comeback" special -- was eliminated.
Additionally, during Sunday night's show, it was announced that American Idol will officially be returning for a 20th season. Auditions will begin soon.
American Idol will return on Sunday, May 16, when this season's Top 5 will perform. Following that episode will be the show's three-hour season finale, set for May 23. American Idol airs on ABC on Sunday nights at 8PM ET.
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