ABC/Eric McCandlessLast week, after America failed to vote them into the top 10, the American Idol judges picked Uché, Dimitrius Graham and Alyssa Raghu as wild cards, giving them another chance. Sunday night, Alyssa won over the viewers well enough to make it to the top eight, but Uché and Dimitrius were once again left out in the cold, and were eliminated.
Ryan Seacrest announced that Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie would have the ability to save one contestant, but they could only use that save once before the finale. When asked if they wanted to use their save on either Uché or Dimitrius, Katy asked how many shows they had left. When Ryan told her there were three or four shows left, Lionel announced they were "holding" their vote -- which meant goodbye to the two singers.
Uché's chances of making the top 10 were likely hurt by the fact that he sang "I2I," from A Goofy Movie, a song that none of the judges -- and likely the audience -- were familiar with. Dimitrius gave an emotional performance of "You'll Be in My Heart," from Tarzan, dedicated to his mom, but it wasn't enough to sway the voters.
That means your top eight are Madison VanDenburg, Walker Burroughs, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Wade Cota, Laci Kaye Booth, Alyssa Raghu, Laine Hardy, and Alejandro Aranda.
Sunday night's show was Disney Night and to mark the occasion, Katy Perry dressed as Ursula from The Little Mermaid, complete with purple makeup and a dress with tentacles. Actress Rebel Wilson was the mentor, and reigning American Idol champ Maddie Poppe and her boyfriend, runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson, made a special appearance to sing "A Whole New World."
American Idol season four champ Carrie Underwood also appeared in a spot, wishing the contestants good luck and reminding them to enjoy every moment of their American Idol journeys.
Here's what the top eight sang:
Alejandro Aranda -- “Remember Me,” from Coco Alyssa Raghu -- “Colors of the Wind,” from Pocahontas Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon -- “Candle on the Water,” from Pete’s Dragon Laci Kaye Booth -- “I See the Light,” from Tangled Laine Hardy -- “Oo-De-Lally,” from Robin Hood Madison VanDenburg -- “How Far I’ll Go,” from Moana Wade Cota -- “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” from Toy Story Walker Burroughs -- “When She Loved Me,” from Toy Story 2
Of note: After Laine's performance, Katy said, "Remember when I said you could win it this time? Don't NOT believe that."
In addition, Luke praised Laci for "becoming a Disney Princess right in front of our eyes," while Lionel called Walker's spot "about as close to a perfect performance as I could ever think of."
All the judges raved over Wade's performance, which he enhanced by writing "ANDY" on the sole of his boot, just like Andy does to Woody in Toy Story. They praised Jeremiah for being a "total pro," and complimented Madison on the notes she hit during her performance.
Monday night at 8 p.m. ET, ABC will air a two-hour special called American Idol: Meet Your Finalists, which takes a deep dive into each finalist and their story. The special will include new, never-before-seen songs, stories, performances and footage from the show, as well as a look back at this season's favorite moments so far.
Disney is the parent company of ABC Television and ABC News.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLee Ann Womack's new video for "Hollywood" features custom-made dolls and intricate, stop-motion animation. You can watch the video for the second single from her Grammy-nominated The Lonely, the Lonesome, and the Gone album on YouTube.
Love and Theft's new single, "Gimme Tonight," is available to stream or download now.
If you missed Josh Turner performing the Hank Williams classic, "I Saw the Light," on NBC's Today show, you can check out his performance online. His version is from his gospel album, I Serve a Savior.
Actress Chrissy Metz' new music video for the song she performed on the ACM Awards is out now. "I'm Standing with You" is from the Breakthrough soundtrack, which also features tracks by Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Maddie & Tae and more.
ABC/Image Group LAMorgan Wallen's enjoying his second bona fide country hit with "Whiskey Glasses," the follow-up to his chart-topping collaboration with his pals Florida Georgia Line on "Up Down."
The East Tennessee native says he released "Whiskey Glasses" as a single based on the response it generates in his live show.
"We started playing it live," Morgan explains, "and you definitely take what you see when you play a song live and [ask yourself], 'Would this translate as a radio song? With exposure, could this turn into something big?'"
"And we kinda just started seeing people really reacting to that song [in an incredible way]," he remembers.
Once more people heard "Whiskey Glasses" on the radio, it evolved into the centerpiece of Morgan's set.
"That song has become the highlight of my show," he tells ABC Radio. "I usually put it in the middle of my set somewhere, and right when we play that song, the energy just immediately... it's just like, you can tell that that's, like, the catalyst, and then the rest of the show is just a different level."
From Morgan's perspective, "Whiskey Glasses" is poised to be an even bigger hit than his breakthrough, "Up Down."
"It is definitely rivaling it," he reveals. "It may even [have] surpassed it."
"You know, you have one hit," Morgan elaborates, "and... you've got a lot of pressure that you need another one, you know. I mean, I'm sure that's always the case, no matter if you had twenty or one."
"But it definitely relieved a lot of stress for me," he admits, "just realizing that people really connected with that song."
Both "Up Down" and "Whiskey Glasses" are from Morgan's debut album, If I Know Me.
This summer, Morgan heads out on the Can't Say I Ain't Country Tour with FGL.
Warner NashvilleIn a preview of a new behind-the-scenes video coming on Monday, Blake Shelton talks about the first time he heard his latest hit, "God's Country."
At the time, he was on his ranch in Oklahoma.
"I was shocked," Blake recalls. "I had to stop and just listen to this song, because the song was talking to me about a place that I was in at that moment, which was a place in the middle of nowhere that meant something to me that probably nobody else could ever understand: what that is and what it is inside of me and what my connection is to the land."
He continues: "At that moment, I realized, 'I've gotta record this song.' And I think I even decided before I even recorded it, 'This has got to be the song that I put out.'"
It's a strategy that's proven successful. Even though "God's Country" has only been out a matter of weeks, it's already at top-25 hit.
You can watch the preview of the "God's Country" behind-the-scenes video on YouTube now.
ABC/Image Group LAThere’s no shortage of country songs about smoking weed with Willie, but Brantley Gilbert’s new one actually includes a brief cameo by country music’s most famous advocate of marijuana.
Not only is Willie Nelson featured on Brantley's song “Welcome to Hazeville,” his son Lukas Nelson and country rapper Colt Ford are also on the 4/20-friendly song.
“Get that homegrown ready/That smoke gon' rise/Run the speed limit/Never seen blue lights,” Brantley sings on the track. “Everybody’s chillin’/Well, we always high/Hangin’ out with Willie on that laid-back vibe.”
To hear Willie’s cameo, you’ll need to stick around ‘til the very end. As for Colt's presence on the song, he and Brantley wrote and originally recorded Jason Aldean’s smash, “Dirt Road Anthem.”
“Welcome to Hazeville” is the latest preview of Brantley’s new album, which is expected in the fall.
The Valory Music Co.Thomas Rhett’s giving his fans another sneak preview of his forthcoming Center Point Road album with the new track, “Remember You Young,” which is available to stream or download now.
“Remember You Young” continues the nostalgic vibe TR promises on much of the record, which is named for the street where he grew up.
"We wrote this song about the people in life that we love,” he explains, “and always remembering them in their youth no matter how much time passes and [how much] we all change.”
“There’s something sentimental about remembering your very best friends -- who have real jobs and families now -- tearing it up in college,” TR continues, “or picturing me and my wife with no cares at the Tin Roof back in Knoxville.”
Near the end of the song, Thomas addresses his hopes for the future.
“I love that the last verse is a bit of twist, with it all coming full circle,” he explains. “It actually makes me emotional… It's easily one of my favorite tracks on the album."
The full Center Point Road album arrives May 31. You can check out the lyric video for “Remember You Young” on YouTube now.
Disney Channel/Image Group LAKelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are in a secret feud! Except they're actually not, and Kelly is calling out Star magazine for claiming they are.
Kelly tweeted a photo of the magazine's cover -- which claims that the two American Idol winners' "secret feud" has exploded, and they are "TRASHING each other to friends" -- and complained that the magazine didn't even have the decency to use a good picture of her.
"Someone just sent me this & I'm like why does she get the good pic & I have the worst expression I've ever made w/zero muscles being used in my face ha!" she wrote. "I officially have a feud w/whoever used this pic!"
"At least give me a good pic if y’all are gonna be lying is all I’m sayin'," she added.
When a fan responded, "Carrie didn't get the bad pic because there is no bad pic of Carrie," Kelly replied, "Hahaha touché well, I have PLENTY of rough ones ha! But I guess it builds character and keeps me humble... this is what I tell myself."
As most fans know, Kelly and Carrie are totally cool. Last June, the two even posed together on the red carpet at the Radio Disney Awards, specifically to shut down rumors that they are rivals.
"Everybody always tries to pit me and Carrie against each other," Kelly told Entertainment Tonight. "So, when I saw her I was like, ‘You know what? Let’s just end this right now and get a picture together because we are never in the same place.'”
And last April, the two supported each other on Twitter, with Carrie writing, "I do wish more publications would just celebrate women’s success without pitting them against each other."
Comstock/Thinkstock Fifty years ago this week, Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" was at #2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs tally, while another song by Campbell was #1 on that same chart. Can you name this classic, which shares its name with a town in Texas? ANSWER: "Galveston."
Kharen HillIn 1996, Sheryl Crow wrote the song "Redemption Day" after visiting Bosnia with then-first lady Hillary Clinton, and recorded it on her second album. In 2003, Johnny Cash recorded it. He died that same year; his version was eventually released in 2010. Now, with the permission of the late country legend's family, Sheryl has created a version of the song, as well as a video, which allows them to duet.
The video features archival footage of Cash at different stages of his life, as well as scenes of Sheryl playing piano in a field as a little boy watches her from a nearby house. Its interspersed with scenes of war, destruction, death, terrorism, climate change, political leaders...basically every ill of modern society.
At the end of the video, the little boy stands in what looks like an airplane hangar, watching a screen flashing these terrible images. But then Sheryl appears on screen; she crouches down and holds out her hand. The little boy goes up to the screen and puts his hand on Sheryl's.
In a statement, Sheryl says, "As a mom of two young kids, I see that our kids watch what we do on their behalf and how we shape their future. They're privy to everything visual...and there's no way to shield your child from the roughness of reality. If we could see the world through a child's eyes, we would make different decisions."
"With what's happening in our nation now, and how dire things look, to have Johnny's voice offers some hope," she adds. "I hope that wherever he is, he feels proud to be a part of it."
"Redemption Day" appears on Sheryl's forthcoming new album of all-star duets with artists like Stevie Nicks, Don Henley and Willie Nelson.
ABC/Image Group LAOld Dominion's currently on their own headlining Make It Sweet Tour, but after several summers opening for Kenny Chesney, they're not too proud to admit they've borrowed some of the superstar's best ideas.
OD's backstage area, particularly, is modeled after what you'd see at a Kenny show.
"I think we've ripped everything from Kenny!" lead singer Matthew Ramsey reveals, as the rest of the band laughs.
"We do have a cool vibe [room], yeah," Trevor Rosen adds, "like we have these record players strategically placed and stuff."
"The backstage vibe is sort of similar to his," Matthew explains, "but it's because it works so well. And it creates an environment for people to want to be there, and that's what we want to do. It's a long, long year, and you want people to want to be there for it."
Even more than the comforts of the road, Matthew says Kenny showed the band how to build relationships.
"Probably the most important thing we learned from Kenny is how to treat the people that work for you," Matthew continues, "and the people that are working with you, as far as opening acts and their crew. And that's one thing that he really does an amazing job of."
"So we've built our crew with that in mind, and it's a family vibe, and it's a fun vibe," he tells ABC Radio. "It's hard work, what these people are doing, and we want to make it as comfortable and fun as we possibly can."
OD's next show is Thursday, April 25 at Centurylink Arena in Boise, Idaho. Meanwhile, the song "Make It Sweet" is nearing the top of the chart.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBoth Scotty McCreery and Mitchell Tenpenny are booked to appear at the Budweiser Country Club at Stagecoach Festival April 26-28 in Indio, California.
A pair of Reba McEntire's Reba by Justin boots are featured in the May/June issue of Cowboys & Indians magazine. The Chelsea pearl boot with ostrich accents goes for $380.
You can get a sneak peak at Carrie Underwood's Cry Pretty 360 Tour in a new clip the superstar posted to her socials. In the short video shot at rehearsals, Carrie performs the trek's namesake tune. The tour kicks off May 1 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
ABC/Image Group LAWhat would happen if you mixed Morgan Evans latest hit, "Day Drunk," with Dan Shay's smash, "Tequila?"
You can find out in the Aussie's new performance video, which features him singing a mash-up of the two songs. It's a tip of the hat to his label mates and pals Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, who he toured with this spring on their sold-out tour.
Next up, Morgan hits the road with Rascal Flatts on their Summer Playlist trek May 24 in Tampa, Florida.
You can check out Morgan's "Day Drunk on Tequila" performance on YouTube now.
ABC/Image Group LAYou can count Little Big Town, Old Dominion, Lady A’s Charles Kelley, Kix Brooks, and Martina McBride among the country stars who are willing to drink some wine for a good cause.
They’ll all be a part of Monday’s annual Best Cellars dinner at Nashville’s Loews Vanderbilt Hotel to raise money for the T.J. Martell Foundation.
Celebrity chef Vivian Howard, known for the PBS hit A Chef’s Life and her cookbook Deep Run Roots, will help with the food for the sold-out event, which pairs celebrities with rare wine to help find a cure for cancer.
Of course, Little Big Town also happens to have their own line of wine, known as Four Cellars. The foursome just released their new single, “The Daughters.”
ABC/Image Group LABrett Young’s “Here Tonight” might have ended Luke Combs’ seven-week run at the top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart this week, but Luke can still say he's scored the second most popular song in that chart's history.
Two songs are tied for the longest reign on the Country Airplay chart: 2003’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett and 1999’s “Amazed” by Lonestar both spent eight weeks at number one.
Meanwhile, “Beautiful Crazy” is still hanging on at #1 on a different Billboard chart: the Hot Country Songs tally.
Luke’s fans are now waiting to see how he’ll follow up his monster hit from his debut album, This One’s for You.
Big Machine Riley Green’s debut single, “There Was This Girl,” is number one this week, and the Alabama native is wasting no time capitalizing on his momentum: his second release, “In Love By Now,” is already out, along with its accompanying music video.
While the song finds Riley lamenting the loss of a girlfriend, he didn’t have to do too much suffering for the video: It was shot in the beautiful Central American country of Belize.
The clip starts with Riley playing guitar on the beach under a palm tree, before doing some shirtless deep sea fishing and a little swimming. Eventually, Riley spots his ex at an oceanfront bar, and takes the stage to sing -- perhaps changing the direction of their relationship.
The bar scenes were shot at the Belize incarnation of Losers, a popular Nashville bar that now has a tropical outpost.
“A buddy of mine runs the bar and he invited me down,” Riley tells Billboard. “It seemed like a great place to shoot a music video. We might have saved a little money too, filming in his bar.”
As for the song itself, it may strike a familiar chord if you’re a fan of country’s current fascination with the music of the nineties.
“I wrote ‘In Love By Now’ with Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Marv Green in Nashville,” Riley explains. “We sat down, and I think I said something about writing a song that sounded like Shenandoah -- a ‘90s country sounding song.”
“They all jumped at the opportunity,” Riley continues, “because that’s kind of their bread and butter too. When it came time to film a video, I somehow talked the label into filming it in Belize, so that wasn’t too horrible.”
Capitol NashvilleThere’s no doubt Carrie Underwood has her hands full these days: She’s rehearsing for the May 1 kickoff of her Cry Pretty 360 Tour and taking care of her nearly-three-month old baby Jacob and her four-year old, Isaiah.
So just how stressed is the “Love Wins” hitmaker?
“Just referred to my time in the dentist’s chair when they give me the gas as ‘me time,’” she joked on Twitter on Thursday.
“I really need a spa day or a night out or something!” she added, along with the hashtags #HelpMe and #ThatsKindOfSad, along with the laugh-until-you-cry emoji.
Earlier this week, Carrie took a break from her busy schedule to induct Kelsea Ballerini into the Grand Ole Opry.
Her tour will keep her pretty busy on the road for the months of May, June, September, and October. She sets the trek in motion May 1 in Greensboro, North Carolina with Maddie & Tae and Runaway June.
AXS TVWillie Nelson joins The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar for the upcoming season four premiere of Hagar's AXS TV series Rock & Roll Road Trip, where the country legend discussed his plans for the future, among other things.
In a teaser clip from their candid conversation on Nelson's tour bus, the 86-year-old country outlaw, who has no intentions of slowing down, says people always ask him when he's going to call it quits.
"You hear that every day...they say that all the time," says Willie, who's learned exactly how to answer them: “Every time, I say, ‘Oh, this is the last one.’”
Of course, the subject of Willie's pot-smoking also came up. "All the years you've been cruising around in this bus smoking dope and stuff, like in the 70s, did you ever get arrested in this thing?" wondered the former Van Halen singer.
“I’ve been arrested in everything I’ve owned,” joked Nelson. When asked if he gets special treatment in the Lone Star State, Willie answers, “They’ll give me a nice cell.”
The show also features Nelson taking Hagar on a tour of Texas that includes a look at Billy Bob’s -- The World’s Largest Honky Tonk -- along with some local bull-riding action.
Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV.
Big Machine Label Group Wednesday afternoon at Cash Cabin just outside Nashville, Sheryl Crow premiered her new video for "Redemption Day" for a small group of music industry insiders.
The new recording is a duet with Johnny Cash, and is the lead single from Sheryl's new album that features collaborations with rockers like Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks, and Don Henley, as well as country legends like Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and Vince Gill.
Sheryl wrote "Redemption Day" in 1996 after visiting Bosnia with then-first lady Hillary Clinton. That same year, she recorded it on her self-titled second record.
Shortly before his death, the Man in Black discovered the tune -- but wouldn't record it until he asked Sheryl in-depth questions about the lyrics.
"Cut to 2003," Sheryl explains, "Johnny Cash recorded it and felt like it would be the cornerstone of his record. He was adamant about knowing what every lyric meant."
"And he really delivered the song in a way that felt like for him it would be the most important song on his record," she reveals. "And unfortunately, a few months later he died -- actually two months later he passed."
While working on her new album, Sheryl reached out to the Cash family for the permission to use the late legend's vocal on a new version. Nearly twenty-five years since its inception, she feels like "Redemption Day" has finally arrived.
"I feel like the song has finally found its moment," she reflects. "I re-recorded it, rearranged it, and Johnny and I are both singing the song."
"And I hope he would be very proud of what we've done and feel like it has met its moment," she adds.
The Crow/Cash duet on "Redemption Day" will be available to stream or download on Friday.
Comstock/ThinkstockThirty years ago this week, this Texas native wasn't just Killin' Time, as the title of his first album suggests, he was making his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Can you name him? ANSWER: Clint Black.