Alanis Sophia Delivers ‘Range-y’ Brandi Carlile Cover on ‘American Idol’ [Watch]
American Idol hopeful Alanis Sophia earned her spot in the show's Top 16 on Sunday night (April 11), with a performance of Brandi Carlile's "The Story" that led to a standing ovation from judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.
In a performance that Perry praised as "a great song choice for your voice," Sophia proved her stratospheric vocal range, moving effortlessly from low to high notes without ever straining to hit the right pitch. Perry's critique also made mention of how calm and at home the young singer appeared onstage.
"You're so young and you're keeping it together. Good for you," Perry noted.
While Bryan was impressed by her vocal acrobatics, he encouraged her to hone her skills on the lower end of her range. "I mean, that was a range-y song. Just make sure, on that lower end stuff, to get your breath," he told Sophia. "Your high end is so amazing, and it surprises us any time you're in front of us."
Meanwhile, Lionel wondered if maybe the performance had launched Sophia from her place in the middle of the pack to a frontrunner in the competition.
"Did we just witness an explosion? I don't know. Something happened. You were down in the valley, as I say, in the mud, and all of the sudden, you exploded," he pointed out, urging her now to start using every inch of the stage to her advantage. "Don't get lost inside yourself. Play the stage. Work it. Because other than that, star power is all over you."
It's Sophia's second consecutive week dipping into the country genre: During last Sunday's Top 24 Solos and All-Star Duets episode, she teamed with duet partner Jimmie Allen to perform "Shallow," from the A Star is Born soundtrack.
During her critique from that performance, all three judges agreed that Allen's presence onstage overpowered Sophia's, but there was no mistaking her star power during her Sunday night performance of "The Story."
"The Story," which was originally written by Carlile's bandmate Phil Hanseroth, is the title track of her 2007 sophomore project. It became the singer-songwriter's breakout hit, and was featured in the soundtrack of television drama Grey's Anatomy the same year it came out. LeAnn Rimes released a cover version of "The Story" in 2016, and in 2017, Dolly Parton's rendition of the song was included on a charity tribute album called Cover Stories, which featured a number of different artists performing the songs on The Story.
American Idol airs on Sunday and Monday nights at 8PM ET on ABC.
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