The Top 10 performed Grammy Award hits and two contestants went home Thursday
American Idol honored the Grammy Awards on Thursday – and at least one contestant proved they have what it takes to eventually win one of those coveted awards!
WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
It wasn’t a stellar night for all of the Idol Top 10 – early frontrunner Dalton Rapattoni faltered for the first time with a performance of Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” – but no one could deny MacKenzie Bourg was a standout of the evening.
The former Voice contestant, 23, has received rave reviews since his first audition but he took a big risk on Thursday and performed a slower version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” – and it paid off.
“I’ve never heard a guy sing that song before and it was really cool,” Keith Urban told Bourg after his crowd-pleasing performance.
Later, Urban further praised the contestant to PEOPLE.
“MacKenzie really impressed me tonight,” Urban told PEOPLE. “Whitney did an amazing job but he took that song and made me listen to it in a whole new way. It was really great to hear a guy say he wants to dance with somebody who loves him.”
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On the broadcast, Jennifer Lopez also praised the performance.
“Some switch ups don’t work, but that switch up really worked,” said Lopez. “It had this airiness. I never would have imagined that song this way.”
But Harry Connick Jr. thought Bourg could have pushed the envelope even further.
“I thought it was pleasant, but MacKenzie has a voice that is so amazing that he could have really stripped the song down and done it with just a guitar,” he told PEOPLE. “He is willing to take risks but I just want to see him take his vision all the way.”
Regardless of the feedback, Bourg knows he has at least one person voting for him tonight: his grandmother.
He told host Ryan Seacrest that his performance was dedicated to his “Nona,” who was recently hospitalized – and later told PEOPLE she had loved the performance.
“My grandma texted me right after my performance. She just got an iPhone 4 months ago so she’s texting and doing what all the cool kids do now,” MacKenzie told PEOPLE.
He also explained his strategy in choosing the song.
I don’t have a powerhouse voice like some of the other contestants, so I wanted to do something that let me stand out,” he told PEOPLE. “I love that song and I was glad I could do a little something different with it.”
There were other must-watch performances – like La’Porsha Renae’s flawless rendition of Beyoncé’s “Halo” – but in the end, two contestants were still sent home.
Avalon Young, Olivia Rox and Gianna Isabella were all in jeopardy of going home. Ultimately Young was saved by the judges and Rox and Isabella were sent home.
The Top 8 will perform next Thursday (at 8 p.m. ET) on Fox.