‘American Idol’ Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Night Decides Top 12 & Gene Simmons Mentors (RECAP)

TV Shows

(Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Season 22 • Episode 12

[Warning: The below contains spoilers for American Idol.]

American Idol competition rolled on into a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-themed night. These talented singers and budding artists took on legendary music from inductees over the years. Helping them ahead of Sunday’s performances was their mentor, KISS icon Gene Simmons, who watched the live program from a trademark throne.

The Top 14 had to face the judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie but it was the people who they had to win over. That’s because America’s votes during the live show ultimately decided who made up the Top 12 and who would leave the competition. Luke got the party started with a performance of John Mellencamp’s “Small Town,” looking to have recovered from falling off the stage during a Vancouver concert the night before.

Adding to the evening’s festivities was host Ryan Seacrest and Lionel breaking the news of the upcoming 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees. Performer Category: Mary J. Blige, Cher, Dave Matthews Band, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Kool & The Gang, Ozzy Osbourne and A Tribe Called Quest. The Musical Influencer Award: Alexis Korner, Big Mama Thornton, and John Mayall. The Musical Excellence Award: Dionne Warwick, Jimmy Buffett, MC5 and Norman Whitfield. The Ahmet Ertegun Award will go to Suzanne de Passe.

Find out how the show panned out below.

Triston Harper 

The 15-year-old dynamo, who went to Graceland at 13, decided on Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel.” Gene noticed he was without his guitar. His only comment for the teen was to be physically him. The McIntosh, Alabama native ditched the trademark cowboy hat to bring something new. Katy was impressed, if a little scared. Luke called it tremendous and perfectly done. Lionel said Gene was right and movement was key.

Julia Gagnon 

The 22-year-old from Maine went with Whitney Houston’s “Run to You” because it got her thinking about how she found love with her fiancé Nate. Gene was stunned by her voice. He said she should be at Madison Square Garden performing. Adding, “You’re only going to get the respect you demand.” Luke described it as the butterfly leaving the cocoon. Lionel said she commanded the stage tonight. “Confidence is a mental decision, and you decided to switch it on,” Katy said.

Roman Collins 

The 24-year-old who took the final Top 14 spot was motivated further to earn his spot and not end up almost eliminated again. Gene loved his runs. He encouraged him to finish big. The worship leader sang Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s hit  “You’re All I Need to Get By. Lionel said he was on fire and made the song his own. Katy called him her favorite person to watch and hear right now. Luke said his talent level and what he could do with his voice were as good as anything he had heard while sitting in the judging chair.

Kaibrienne “KB” Richins

The 20-year-old wanted to show she could do more than ballads with “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Gene wanted her to find the physicality of the words and move around the stage. Katy said this was a level she needed to see tonight and called her a rock star. Lionel added it had a concert feel and morphed into a whole new human being. Lionel said showing that “ugly” face was what was needed.

Jayna Elise 

Gene encouraged her to loosen up when they first met. The 22-year-old decided between “Best of You” by the Foot Fighters and Whiney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Gene was blown away by each and asked what was in her heart to help with the decision. She went the diva route with The Bodyguard hit. Luke said, “Way to show up.” He called the overall presentation perfect. Lionel said she was a star. Katy thought it was the right song choice with big star energy.

Mia Matthews 

The 19-year-old Centre, Alabama stuck to what brought her to the dance with “Those Memories of You” by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt. Gene’s advice in their mentoring session was to emote the lyrics of the song with more body movements. Lionel said it was fantastic. Katy thought she bumped up her performance and was authentic. Luke liked that she stayed true to who she was.


The 23-year-old singer-songwriter loved the Gene dad jokes in their meeting. He decided on “High and Dry” by Radiohead, which was his first cover song of the season. Gene told him to dig deep into the emotion of the song. Katy thought he went for a high bar with Radiohead and did it justice. Luke thought he made the song his. Lionel was impressed by his versatility.

Emmy Russell 


Disney/Eric McCandless

The 25-year-old decided to tackle “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. Gene could see the tightness and jitters. He gave the Nashville singer a confidence boost, which was needed after she read some comments online that said Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter should stick to songwriting. Luke could hear the realness of her voice and had chills. Lionel thought it was great. Katy told Emmy she was competing against herself in the competition, and she won.

Jordan Anthony 

The 19-year-old decided on “I Want to Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston, which he sang in high school. Gene helped the Aussie work through nerves before hitting the stage. Lionel could see him let go when he grabbed the microphone. Katy thought it was his best performance so far. Luke said he nailed it from top to finish.

McKenna Faith Breinholt 

The 25-year-old was under the weather and couldn’t do her mentor sesh with Gene. She shined on  “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago. Gene told her there is such a thing as innate talent. Katy said she looked like a rock star tonight. Luke thought she delivered. Lionel called it a sexy-sounding performance.

Jack Blocker 

Jack Blocker 

Disney/Eric McCandless

The 25-year-old chose  “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan. Gene called him a brave young man to take on Dylan. The legend hoped the graphic designer could latch on to the subtlety of the song. Luke said he was growing like crazy and thought he did a good job. Lionel loved it. Katy called him the coolest.


The 28-year-old chose “I Say a Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin. Gene said for her not to be afraid to point at the camera and do what she did with him, only bigger. Lionel called her amazing. Katy thought it was the Broadway singer’s best, top to bottom. Luke found it effortless and smooth.

Will Moseley 

The 23-year-old went with Bob Seger’s “Night Moves,” which he listened to in his Uncle Willis’ car. Gene suggested he brought it down a notch when he got to the summertime lyric to get that feeling out. Katy liked how he got in touch with his sensitive side and gave his best performance. Luke felt he was picking songs that were true to him. Lionel found it to be the perfect song and he killed it.

Abi Carter

The 21-year-old closed out the show on a high note with an Elton John classic in “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Abi told Gene she was not allowed to listen to rock & roll music as a child. Gene got the hopeful thinking about the lyrics and their meaning during the mentoring session. Luke was impressed by the complexity of the performance between the piano and the vocal versatility. Lionel thought she made the song her own. Katy said from Day 1, it has always been her, and tonight it has always been her. High praise from the pop star, who also added that she sang with such angelic frequency.

The Results

Ryan dimmed the lights and revealed Jordan Anthony and Nya were sent home. The Top 12 who remain link up to Meghan Trainor for the “Billboard #1 Hits” episode on Monday. Idol runner-up David Archuleta will also perform his new single “Hell Together.” Ryan also announced earlier in the show that the late alum Mandisa, who passed away recently, will be celebrated during a musical tribute next week. News also broke that Jon Bon Jovi will serve as the guest mentor for the finale on May 19 as the Top 3 take on the Bon Jovi songbook.

American Idol, Sundays and Mondays, 8/7c, ABC

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