The “American Idol” 2018 hopefuls who sang duets with star partners on April 16 were already under the gun as the last 12 of the Top 24 were going for making that last cut of seven singers. As if that stress wasn’t enough, two had to contend with planning a song with a partner for a full week, then learning that their star singer would not be showing up. Everything was on the line, knowing that only seven singers would stay by the end of the night.

The show must go on, and major talents stepped up to ensure that “American Idol” contenders had their duet moments on stage.

Katy Perry let the excitement get to her shimmering pant ensemble, and called for some tape to pull her and her wardrobe through the evening.

Lionel Richie exclaimed, “Save the children!” but it was the “American Idol” night that was saved. Despite the challenges, there were some very memorable moments in song.

Soothing and stunning

Caleb Lee Hutchinson joined with Bebe Rexha on "Meant To Be,” and the performance was Hutchinson's most relaxed and “at ease” with anyone on stage yet. Luke Bryan noted the “relaxing” tone, and Lionel Richie called Caleb “endearing to watch.” Rexha has been a real giver lately, sharing her voice and spirit everywhere from the ACM awards to Coachella, singing with Eminem.

Ada Vox teamed with “Glee” star Lea Michele for a dazzling display of vocal prowess on “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway musical, “Wicked.” It was a WOW moment for sure, with Lionel Richie whispering “so good” long before the panel’s turn to critique. Katy Perry told Ada, a.k.a. Adam that his gift “transcends words,” and Luke Bryan reiterated how the singer always brings the house down.

The performance truly did seem a match of vocal equals.

Maddie Poppe had a near-insurmountable case of nerves before singing with Colbie Caillat on “Bubbly,” but the patient singer-songwriter said they would “take deep breaths” and share the pressures, and sitting on a stool seemed to help Maddie. Luke Bryan is still a big Maddie fan, calling her the “most complete artist” of the competition.

Katy Perry loved how the partners “complimented” each other.

Perry's enthusiasm was so overwhelming that a boisterous laugh was followed by “I split my pants,” necessitating an assistant to rush in with tape. At least nothing like that happened to Maddie.

Liverpool native Michael Joseph Nelson, better known as Banners, encouraged Ron Bultongez to go without his guitar on this performance of “Someone To You,” and it was good advice. The singer showed more movement and audience engagement than ever before, so much so that Katy Perry called it an “adventure.” Lionel Richie also loved the “lose control” element of the performance, and Luke Bryan reminded Ron, his “second chance” protégé, that he was “anointed to be special.”

Amelia Hammer Harris brought a good vibe to Bebe Rexha’s hit, Me, Myself & I.” Harris has to work on showing her true self, and this was a good first step.

Rexha thanked Katy Perry for the invitation to join her tour in Brazil, and Katy Perry said she wished she had “more time” to work with Amelia. Lionel Richie reminded that the singer “has the platform,” and now just needs to hone her craft.

Shannon O'Hara was beautifully matched with country singer-songwriter, Cam, on her own breakthrough song, “Burning House.” It was a touching and tremendous moment through the chorus, and Luke Bryan deemed the pair “mesmerizing.” Katy Perry was glad to see Shannon showing that she was not shy with her beautiful voice, and Lionel Richie praised that this pair had given “a clinic in how to sing a duet.”

On a different note

Coldplay's “Yellow” was a big song for Alyssa Raghu to run with, but Banners encouraged the sprint, and it was a song familiar to the singer.

Her English mentor reminded Alyssa to “open your eyes,” and she partially did. Katy Perry said that the performance was a good display of “push and pull,” while Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie were disappointed that the song didn't offer Alyssa’s voice a chance to shine.

Marcio Donaldson had planned for performance with Toni Braxton, but being under the weather meant that plans had to change. R&B singer-songwriter Allen Stone came through in a flash, suggesting Marvin Gaye's “What's Going On,” with Donaldson learning the song in very little time. There was a true roar of applause after the performance, and Katy Perry said that she could finally feel that Marcio was having fun and felt he deserved this “American Idol” stage.

The panel danced during the song, and at the close, Lionel Richie let out “My Brotha!” to the singer in approval. Lionel Richie only noted the growth of the young father through the process.

Run To You” is a standard for Lea Michele off her “Places” album, but the stage veteran said that she had never been more excited than now to sing the song with Jurnee. At just 18, the “American Idol” contender has performed with a lot of struggles, but she and Michele seemed to form their own mutual admiration society. They were completely in sync with tone and emotion through the song, getting standing ovations. Luke Bryan felt the emotion, and Katy Perry commended the “effortlessness” and flow that always happens for this hopeful.

Lionel Richie reminded that her name will be her title forever.

Colbie Caillat did some good with Garrett Jacobs, getting him to let go of nerves and feel the fun on “Lucky.” Luke Bryan noted that it was a step in the right direction, and his fellow judges agreed that there was a new comfort level from the stage. Another person who cheered Garrett on was his girlfriend, brought in as a surprise. It was a nice touch.

Rachel Platten brought Mara Justine to tears just while rehearsing “Fight Song” with the 15-year-old, and more tears came from every eye when the two sang the song on stage. Mara once again discovered the power of staying in place and letting her voice carry the emotional energy.

Platten suggested the stripped-down “piano and vocal” only approach, and the impact was powerful. Lionel Richie reminded that Mara had “found her center,” and Katy reminded that Rachel Platten had given her a gift. Luke Bryan capped off the comments with “way to shine!”

Effie Passero didn't hide her disappointment at not being able to sing with Jessie J very well, but she did put in a good dose of spirit and effort when Cam offered to sing her current single, “Diane.” Effie confessed that she learned the song in just 15 minutes, but the partners were equal pros on the sailing choruses.

After wrenching deliberation, the judges called the seven singers staying in the competition. Mara Justine, Jurnee, Maddie Poppe, Ada Vox, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Garrett Jacobs, and Marcio Donaldson can hold their dreams a little longer, as part of the Top 14.

The votes will now be up to the public, and after next weekend, the count will already be down to 10.

If it's any consolation, Bebe Rexha and Colbie Caillat never made it into “American Idol” top contention, and they are both doing just fine. So the lesson for the ones remaining is to never stop sticking to it.