April 24, 2023
The competition is fierce as "American Idol" moves into this season's live results shows, in which the audience determines the singers that advance to the next rounds of the competition.
On Sunday night, New Jersey native Wé Ani delivered a spirited performance of Adele's "Skyfall," the Academy Award-winning theme song to the 2012 James Bond film, after learning she had secured the final spot in the top 20 based on last week's rendition of "Edge of Midnight" by Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks.
Ani, 24, who grew up in Paterson but now lives in New York, will find out Monday night whether viewers deemed her performance of "Skyfall" good enough to advance into the top 12. It garnered praise from all three celebrity judges, who were shocked that Ani appeared to be close to elimination.
"Let me start off by saying I love you," Lionel Richie told Ani. "When I say this, I mean you completely destroyed me when you first showed up on stage and you had this voice that was that big. ... The amount of talent you have is undeniable. I'm so happy to have you on this show, the contestants all deserve to be in the No. 1 category, you all are amazing."
Ani initially impressed the judges when, earlier in the competition, she revealed a deep, soulful baritone beneath her otherwise chipper and girlish speaking voice. Performing Demi Lovato's "Anyone," Ani received a standing ovation from the judges and has continued to be a top contender as the season progresses.
Earlier this month, Ani advanced to the top 24 with a performance of Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way." During her audition, Richie called her voice "ridiculous" and Luke Bryan compared her to Frenchy, the pink-haired character from the 1978 movie "Grease" portrayed by Didi Conn.
Ani made her television debut in 2016, when she auditioned for NBC's "The Voice" with a cover of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good." Performing as Wé McDonald, the singer received a four-chair turn from the judges and worked with Alicia Keys before being eliminated within the final rounds of the season.
Ani released her debut EP, "Frantic," on April 5. It has five tracks, including her recent singles "Disgusted" and "Good For," which she performed on "American Idol" earlier this season. On April 6, Ani released "Won't Take Me Alive," a collaboration with PJAE, a fellow "Idol" contestant who was eliminated during Sunday's show. The two performed a duet earlier in the season.
Sunday's episode brought back Noah Thompson and HunterGirl, the Season 20 winner and runner-up, for performances. Smokey Robinson also sang.
The top 12 will be revealed Monday night. Afterward, viewers will be able to vote off two more singers before next Sunday's show. For more information about voting and to watch performances from the rest of the top 20, check out the "American Idol" YouTube and Twitter pages.
"American Idol" airs at 8 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays on ABC. It is available to stream the following day on Hulu. Check out Ani's performance of "Skyfall" below.