American Idol is one step closer to naming its winner after Sunday night (April 24)’s episode, when three more artists went home at the end of the two-hour competition.
All 14 remaining contestants performed before the live results were revealed, with 24-year-old former college football player Dan Marshall taking center stage as the fourth showcasing of the evening.
Heading into his performance, Marshall — who chose to sing “She’s Got It All” by Kenny Chesney — appeared visibly nervous while receiving guidance from mentor Gabby Barrett. However, Barrett offered some suggestions that truly made his song choice stand out to the judges.
“We worked in a little spot where we could incorporate the audience [into the performance],” Marshall told viewers during rehearsals as the camera panned to Barrett.
“They want to have that connection with you. So don’t be afraid to kind of be like, ‘C’mon! Let’s go!’” Barrett told Marshall.
Onstage, Marshall looked comfortable as he strummed on his acoustic guitar. He made sure to have fun with his take on the song and even had Luke Bryan singing along from his judges’ chair. The studio audience clapped along to Marshall’s toe-tapping rendition of the tune before he brought things down a little bit and invited them to sing along with him.
“That’s how you do it! That’s how you do it, man! What I am loving is ownership. You actually walked out on the stage, and you owned Kenny Chesney’s song,” Lionel Richie told Marshall afterward. “Kenny Chesney, I love him, but that was your song tonight!”
“I will tell you this, though. You have to get in your head one thing. You’re still going, ‘Oh my gosh. I can’t believe this is happening.’ Not only is it happening, but it’s happening to your best advantage because you are sounding like a star,” he continued. “You are stepping into those boots and I’m loving it.”
“You know, Dan. I think that was a great song choice … But I think you have to always strike a line of fun and keep it pro and remember that. I think there could’ve been a couple more notes that had a little bit more, but you are picking the right songs,” Katy Perry added.
“Your song choices the last three rounds have been spot on, and this was another perfect song choice for you,” Bryan added. “You know, what I did notice, the front part, you looked a little freaking out. You settled out in the middle, and me — I was singing the song. I mean, I know that song in my sleep. You did get yourself in a little bit of trouble with some notes at the end. So when you’re nailing it and when you’re rocking, and it’s feeling great, remember when you got it. You know, you and Gabby talked about the crowd moment. Own that and don’t back yourself into any corners, but great song choice and good job!”
While all three judges enjoyed Marshall’s song selection, it was up to America to decide whether or not the hopeful belonged in the Top 11. Unfortunately, he was one of three eliminated. Contestants Ava Maybee and Allegra Miles were also cut as part of the bottom three.
Bucky, Scotty and More: See Where American Idol’s Country Finalists Are Now:
These Country Singers Tried Out for American Idol But Didn’t Make It!