‘American Idol’ Recap: An Emotional Night Celebrating Mother’s Day & Carrie Underwood

‘American Idol’s 17th episode of the season is here and the contestants try to earn their way into the Top 3 by celebrating Mother’s Day and working with country superstar and former ‘AI’ winner, Carrie Underwood. Check out our recap here!

American Idol is back tonight with very special guest Carrie Underwood! The 17th episode of the season brought back the country singer, who is also the winner of the series’ fourth season, to help the current Top 5 hopefuls do their best as they get set to perform and give it their all on stage with the hopes of making it into the Top 3. Check our our recap right here as we once again join host Ryan Seacrest and judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan for another live night of incredible talent!

The contestants open up the show by joining Carrie to sing her song “See You Again” and they all look happy and confident as they stand beside the inspirational singer. Ryan excitingly introduces the show with his mom after wishing her a Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day and the individual performances are set to begin. Each hopeful will be singing one Carrie song as well as one other popular song of their choice and the stakes are at their highest. After meeting and working with Carrie in Nashville, the contestants are ready to show us what they got.

Michael J. Woodard is up first and he sings Carrie’s “Flat on the Floor” with a lot of audience interaction and a feel-good attitude. His high energy makes his version of the country song memorable. Lionel thinks he started off his night on a grand scale with the performance. Katy tells him she loves him and that there’s no one like him. She thinks he brings stage presence and he’s talented singer and that makes him a star. Luke thinks he makes his lyrics believable and tells him he did a good job.

Carrie meets with a starstruck Gabby Barrett next and gives her some helpful advice before she takes the stage to sing her Carrie song, “Last Name”. She gives it her all as she belts out the lyrics and moves around with spunk and attitude. The judges give her a standing ovation. Katy tells her she’s a big hit on the internet and Luke thinks she’s Carrie reincarnated. Lionel thinks she was “just fabulous”.

Cade Foehner gets his chance at a Carrie song next and he chooses “Undo”. He of course brings his epic rock sound to the country tune and looks comfortable and confident as he plays his electric guitar. Lionel tells him he is his authentic self and Katy likes how he showed how good his vocals are but she tells him to know he has more to play with so doesn’t get lost along the way.

Before the contestants continue, Idol’s 15th season winner Trent Harmon stops by to cheer on the hopefuls and promote his debut album, You Got ‘Em All which is being released on May 18.

Caleb Lee Hutchinson takes the stage to sing “So Small” by Carrie and his smooth vocals and tender stage presence has the audience cheering him on. After he ends the performance with emotion in his eyes, he looks to the judges. Lionel tells him he is so real and advises him to keep going while Katy loves his authenticity. However, she tells him there are some contestants who are still outperforming him so he needs to work the audience a bit more.

Maddie Poppe brings out her acoustic guitar for her Carrie cover song, which is “I Told You So”. She brings a heartfelt voice to the sad lyrics and a raw emotion that’s unlike many others. Katy thinks it feels like time stands still when she sings and wants to hear a record of hers so no matter what happens she asks her to put one out. Luke lets her know she tells a story perfectly and has been wanting her to sing a country song for so long. Lionel advises her to not overthink because she’s got it.

To close out the first half of the show, Carrie takes to the stage to sing her new single “Cry Pretty” and she gets a warm welcome. Her glorious stage presence and incredible vocals remind us why she won the reality series back in 2005. She absolutely owns it and later tells Ryan that she’s in awe of the contestants. She encourages them to take it all in because as she knows, being on the show is life changing.

The second half of the show celebrates Mother’s Day by showing sweet moments between the contestants and their mothers before they sing some meaningful songs in honor of the holiday. Gabby is up first as she sings “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston after sharing an emotional behind the scenes moment with her mom. She brings her powerful vocals to the song as her mom proudly looks on from the audience. Luke can’t even speak from how good she was and Lionel tells her he’s so proud of her for successfully taking on a Whitney song. Katy jokingly asks her who she is and where she’s from.

After Cade’s tearful moment with his mom, he sings the appropriate song, “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. His deep and emotional vocals make his performance stand out as he brings a depth to the classic tune. Katy thinks it’s amazing to see a grown man be vulnerable and Luke thinks it was perfection. Michael J. shares a special moment with his mom as he reads her the letter he wrote for her and she touchingly breaks down in tears when he shows her the stage for tonight’s performance. He then sings “Still I Rise” by Yolanda Adams and brings his heart and soul to every lyric. Katy thinks his performance and the moment between him and his mother was so beautiful and Lionel tells him they love him so much. Michael J. then gives his mom a long emotional hug before he leaves the stage.

Caleb has a funny sweet moment with his mom when he gives her the letter he wrote for her before singing “Stars in Alabama” by Jamey Johnson. He brings out his country charm as he strums his acoustic guitar and his mom sings along from the audience. He sings flawlessly as he smiles and takes in the moment. Luke loves the song choice and Lionel tells him he’s proud of him. Katy asks him where he got his sense of humor from and after he tells her it’s from his dad, she tells him she’d love to enjoy a beer with him in two years when he’s 21.

After Luke’s mother leaves him a sweet video message saying she’ll call him later, she totally surprises him by showing up to the live show and giving him a huge hug. Luke is so surprised and can’t believe they all pulled off her unexpected visit. As they continue to embrace, there’s just one more contestant left for the night and it’s Maddie. She sings the unforgettable song “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys after having a sentimental moment with her mom. Her unique and soothing vocals brings a dream-like vibe to the song and she can barely keep it together at the end from her strong emotions. Lionel encourages the viewers to vote and get the talent through as he tells Maddie he’s so proud of her. Katy tells her she’s so incredible and her taste is impeccable and Luke loves her personality and the fact that she got choked up at her own emotional singing.

It’s time for the Top 3 to be revealed as America’s votes are in. The three hopefuls going onto the next round and performing in the finale are…Caleb, Gabby and Maddie! Unfortunately that means we have to say goodbye to Cade and Michael J. What an incredible night!

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