‘American Idol': Grace Leer Makes Top 11, Gets Judges’ Praise for ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ Performance
American Idol Grace Leer said she'd take Luke Bryan's critique of her first almost-live, at-home performance to heart if she were to advance past the next round of cuts on the TV singing competition, and she did. During Sunday night's (May 3) Top 11 episode, Leer turned in a soaring performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Leer, who is quarantining with her family in Danville, Calif., and sang from a lush garden, selected "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" because she sang it in elementary school; the Idol band added in pedal steel as a nod to her country leanings. Judge Katy Perry described Leer's performance as "big" and "bold all throughout."
"You have that sweet spot that really makes you sound like that country voice we know and love, but you just showed America that you have a big, big, big voice," Bryan added. "Really excited about what you can do and where you'll end up."
This week, it was judge Lionel Richie who offered Leer some constructive criticism: "Remember the audience that you're singing to," he told her. "If country is your aim ... stay right there. Just hone in on where we're trying to go."
Leer grew up listening to '90s and '00s country music, though her musical tastes are vast these days. However, she recently told media on a conference call, she's committed to representing the country genre during her time on Idol.
"It means a lot to represent country music, especially female country music, along with Nashville," 28-year-old Leer shared. "Nashville is very much a home to me, so it's an honor to represent Nashville and country music."
In addition to Leer, Louis Knight, Julia Gargano, Jovin Webb, Jonny West, Sofia James, Arthur Gunn, Just Sam, Dillon James and Francisco Martin were all voted into the American Idol Season 18 Top 10 by viewers. The three judges voted to save Makayla Phillips, creating a Top 11.
American Idol airs Sunday nights at 8PM ET. Both contestants and judges, along with host Ryan Seacrest and the rest of the show's crew, are working remotely during the pandemic.
See the Top 20 Finalists on American Idol, Season 18: