The night of April 8 was an “American Idol” 2018 moment of truth for the first dozen of the Top 24 selected to take the stage in Hollywood for defining performances. With dramatic cuts hanging over all their heads, the talents know that these short moments on stage revolve around much more than a beautiful voice from the person standing in the “American Idol” oval. These performers now have to demonstrate that they can be lasting artists, worthy of being among the 14 left at the end of this round of eliminations. Radio host and entertainer, Bobby Bones, was on hand to mentor each of the hopefuls before he or she hit the stage, and most of his counsel was about being daring enough to be one’s true self.

Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry were all exuberant in expressing delight in how far their chosen performers have already come through the process of shooting for becoming the “American Idol,” but Katy Perry felt the power to the extreme. The gregarious judge could barely speak or move after the final performance of the night, and her parents were there to see it all!

Starting off with style

Being first to take the stage doesn't usually work in the favor of the hopefuls in these situations, sometimes making the first artist forgettable. Dominique did his best with Chaka Khan's “Ain't Nobody,” and got Katy grooving while Lionel Richie dubbed him “quality.” Kentucky girl, Layla Spring, got tips from “American Idol” alum, Lauren Alaina, before her turn with Martina McBride's “A Broken Wing,” and wow, does this girl pack a wallop.

The judges could not help but stand up and rave about her big voice. Lionel Richie asked: “What are you doing?” in near disbelief. Layla ran off stage still on a high from the fun.

Everyone knows that Catie Turner is a redhead, but she went big with the Blondie hit, “Call Me,” and even went sexy with a flip of her hair. Lionel Richie loved that move, and Luke Bryan told Catie that he “couldn't quit watching.” Katy Perry told Catie that she was “taking off.” By the way, the song choice was Catie’s dad’s idea.

Dennis Lorenzo and Bobby Bones found much more in common than anyone might think, and instead of going deeply painful and personal, the young dad decided to go with loving and playful with his choice of “Rude” by MAGIC! Since the song is about proposing to a daughter, Dennis sang to his baby girl being held by his wife, making for a very touching connection.

He has very authentic stage presence, but Lionel Richie told him to ditch the mic stand, and Katy thought his next song should be a stronger one to show off his voice.

Saucy Venezuelan singer, Michelle Sussett, got a taste of home, courtesy of a food truck stop secured by Bobby Bones. She sang Beyoncé's moving “If I Were a Boy,” with her native language mixed into a verse. Katy Perry called that multicultural aspect her “ace,” and encouraged her to use it wisely. Michael J Woodard bowled a bit with Bones before an emotional rendition of the Beatles’ classic “Golden Slumbers” from the “Abbey Road” album. It was moving to the point of tears, and standing ovations from the panel, too. Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie both encouraged Michael to keep the emotion of his performances, relating how that was his “character.” Katy Perry told him never to stop performing because he was “chosen.”

Trevor McBane explained his unique style of dress to Bobby Bones, and that brought out an unexpected emotion that the mentor encouraged McBane to keep as he performed “Way Down We Go” by Kaleo.

Trevor's emotion in the song was raw and real, and Katy Perry compared him to “a thunderbolt in a bottle,” but Luke Bryan admonished: “Let the horses loose,” and Lionel Richie concurred over freeing his feelings.

Smooth and filled with the spirit

6-foot 5” Jonny Brenns opened up about needing a sense of family support since sneaking off for that first audition alone. The statuesque singer chose Vance Joy’s “Georgia” as a dedication to his grandmother overseas, whose health is not well. Ladies love the crooner, and Lionel Richie pointed out that Jonny’s “sexy” is coming out. Katy Perry credited that the selection was the “perfect song,” and Luke Bryan added that the singer had “all the tools.”

Speaking of family, Katy Perry's mom and dad, Keith and Mary, came to see their daughter on the job, and they spilled a little about their little girl always being “a little mouthy.” That trait has certainly turned into a gift for the judge.

Kay Kay came through with what Lionel Richie referred to as “poise” as she delivered Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain.” Luke Bryan announced that “a star is born,” and there was definitely more range to the vocals than ever before. Brandon Diaz perhaps took the biggest risk of the night, singing "Hello” in front of the man who wrote the love song. The nerves were obvious, and Diaz never “owned” the song to the degree that Richie hoped, but Diaz, Richie, and Ryan Seacrest all joined in on the song, as Katy and Luke danced.

Gabby Barrett left no doubt that she knew how to own a song and sell it on a big finish. She sang Maren Morris’ “My Church” with utter conviction, and Lionel Richie let her know that the end was what did it for him.

Little did Katy Perry know the power of the performance that would finish the night -- and nearly finish her. Rodeo rider turned rock 'n roll wonder, Cade Foehner, came out blazing through Jimi Hendrix’ “All Along The Watchtower.” His vocals and guitar literally scorched the stage with power, and Katy Perry couldn’t contain herself or keep her sheer sweater on her body. Katy asked if this brand of rock 'n roll is allowed on ABC before noting that "my minister parents" would shield her from such sensuality. She told Cade that he can “preach to me any time,” before she feigned losing all the air in her body, giving Foehner assurance that “you're a star,” before pretending to pass out.

On Monday night, this same dozen will duet with star talents before facing more eliminations.