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'American Idol' - Lionel Richie Saves Uche, Reacts to America's Top 10 Vote

Judge Lionel Richie puts contestant Uche in the Top 10 on "American Idol"
Photo: ABC
It was an emotional night at "American Idol" when the contestants performed for America's vote to land a spot in this season's Top 10.  The 14 remaining Idol hopefuls were widdled down to seven by the nation-wide vote, and then each of the judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan saved one contestant from going home. 

Right after the news was given to the contestant that they advanced to the next week, each had to sing. The Idols getting America's vote were Alejandro Aranda, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Laci Kaye Booth, Laine Hardy, Madison Vandenburg, Walker Burroughs, and Wade Cota.

The contestants put in the "danger zone were Ashley Hess, Evelyn Cormier, Eddie Island, Dimitrius Graham, Uche, Riley Thompson, and Alyssa Ragu. 

When all of was said and done, Lionel saved Uché immediately after his performance, Katy saved Alyssa Raghu, and Luke saved Dimitrius Graham.

Backstage after the show, Lionel Richie commented on hard the decision was in picking the final three who would move forward, sending four incredibly talented artists home. 

“I think that our problem at this point is we’re so much family that sometimes it’s hard to differentiate the fact that these are not our kids; these are contestants," Richie told reporters after the show. "These kids are crushing it.”

Show mentor Bobby Bones praised Richie for the emotional decision to save Uche' immediately after his electric performance of "Diamonds."

"Lionel's authenticity is really amazing on the show. We knew [the contestants] were going to be good. What we saw tonight was something that was real and is needed.  If you feel it, do it. There are different things we watch and it really shows in the performances. People might think everything is planned and calculated but it wasn't. Lionel wasn't supposed to do what he did.  He was moved by that performance so he did something he felt was needed. It was genuine and I think we'll see more moments like that on the show."

One contestant that mentor Bobby Bones was disappointed didn't make the cut was Riley Thompson. The 16-year-old country singer has potential and Bones' vote but the judges chose not to put her through. 

"I work with [the contestants] and I send a lot more time with them than [the judges] do. But listen it was tough for me to even make that pick.  hard for me to pick. I love all of them. I actually do. It just like last night, Riley deserved to stay based on her body of work. But they don't pay me to be a judge. I'm not replacing Katy Perry and no one can be mad at this Top 10." 

For people who think the judges are too soft in their critiques of the performances and are missing the harness of past seasons, Richie would like people to embrace their new way of judging. 

“I always tell people, ‘This is American Idol after Simon Cowell had a kid,'” Richie said. “Tere’s no way in the world you will be able to go and tell your daughter or your son, ‘You know what? You sucked. That was terrible. That’s the worst I’ve ever seen and you don’t belong here.’”


Next up for the Top 10 is a trip to Disneyland for the popular Disney night episode. For this episode, viewers will be able to vote by text, via AmericanIdol.com/vote and on the “American Idol” app during the show. Results will be revealed at the end of the show in real time, across all time zones. The episode will be rebroadcast during its normal time slot on Sunday at 8:00-10:01 p.m. PDT on the West Coast.

"American Idol" airs Sundays on ABC.  

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