Sunday night’s (May 6) stage of American Idol” 2018 was bound to be painful, knowing that two of the top seven would not be moving forward. For a fortunate few, however, some bold song choices really swung the odds in their favor on a night of free selection from the Prince song catalog. Another beautiful bonus was having the legendary percussionist, and Prince protégé, Sheila E, to offer her innovative sounds to every performer. Each contender had to also choose a song from the year of his or her birth, and those years seemed like a blink away for some in the faithful “American Idol” audience.

Nick Jonas was on hand to counsel the talents, who definitely showed new dimensions, and one, in particular, demonstrated how to recover well when things go wrong.

A big night for big risks

Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan all that into the spirit by showing baby picture faces, and Jurnee was the first singer up for the evening, showing attitude and swagger in the iconic Prince tune, “Kiss.” The “American Idol” band was hot, and so was the singer, brandishing thigh high boots and hitting high notes. Lionel Richie noted that not much can go wrong when Sheila E is in a performer’s corner, and Katy Perry raved that “you look like a snack.” Luke Bryan loved the song choice. Jurnee’s pick for the year of her birth, 1999, was Brian McKnight's “Back At One,” which was her parents’ wedding song.

Katy Perry didn't have chill bumps, but still called the performance “really cool.” Lionel Richie commending that the young singer kept calm amidst chaos, and Luke Bryan noted the effort as a good job.

Nick Jonas was moved by the power of Gabby Barrett’s voice on her choice of the Lee Ann Womack hit, “I Hope You Dance,” from 2000.

The performance reminded him of his father's struggle with cancer, but there was anything but a struggle for the judges, who praised the singer highly. Katy Perry said that if it seemed to her that “there were a lot of Gabby's” before this performance, but now, “there is only one Gabby.” Lionel Richie asked, “You know what was wrong with that performance?

Nothing!” Luke Bryan called it one of the best performances ever on the “American Idol” stage. Going in a completely different direction, Gabby’s Prince selection was “How Come U Don't Call Me,” and the singer brought the blues decked in black. Lionel Richie loved that she “owned it,” and Katy Perry praised that Gabby was ready to tour. Luke Bryan said that the song was “a mic-drop moment.”

Michael J Woodard brought energy never seen before, not just in the emotion of his voice, but through his energy onstage with “I Would Die 4 U.” Prince himself had to be smiling down at the performance that was complete rapid-fire. Luke Bryan commented that “more and more confidence” is coming into the soulful artist, Lionel Richie used “owned it” again in describing the moment, and Katy Perry gave Michael a word of “Wakanda forever” before reminding him that “I'm living for you,” instead of dying.

The bowling alley employee had never even seen 1997’s “Titanic,” but it never showed in his second performance of “My Heart Will Go On,” amidst a star field. Katy Perry predicted that Michael would be a future EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award) winner, while Lionel Richie said he had everything in the way of stage presence. Luke Bryan told the singer he that he consistently “pulls people in” to every song.

Katy Perry also offered to take Michael on tour, but he and all other top seven singers had just received news about being part of the “American Idol” summer tour for 2018, so plenty of audiences will be hearing more from their favorites. Renewal of this “American Idol” incarnation also got the nod for a second season, announced by Ryan Seacrest.

Going forth boldly

Several million votes were in by the time Cade Foehner came on with perhaps the most daring song of the night -- his own version of Jewel’s “Who Will Save Your Soul” from 1996. Lionel Richie praised Foehner as an artist who “knows himself,” and delivered the performance. Katy Perry offered that he “took it to another place” and again, pointed out her mom, Cade’s most loyal fan. Luke Bryan said the singer was “in the zone.” Cade would heat Katy and her mom up even more with “Jungle Love,” the Prince song by the Time with Morris Day. There were definite sparks on stage and off for the rocker, and Luke Bryan reminded that the competition was about “finding people like you.” Lionel Richie noted that Foehner brought “instant identity” and Katy Perry, already dressed in red, could only keep fanning herself and saying, “I could be your babysitter!”

Catie Turner wasn't supposed to listen to Brittney Spears, but clearly, she snuck in a few songs, because her version of Brittney's “Oops I Did It Again,” all dressed in shiny vinyl, was all fun and flirty.

Catie even walked the catwalk for fans. Katy Perry said. It seemed like Amy Winehouse was singing Brittney Spears, and that's pretty grown up. Lionel Richie reminded Catie that she should never let go of her own style, and Luke Bryan built the teenager up more, saying “you are a star.” Catie just has to claim that for herself and learn that she's worthy of looking at Nick Jonas or any other star as a fellow artist. For the first time, Catie Turner hit a glitch with her second song, written by Prince, “Manic Monday.” Catie was lovely and sounded fine on The Bangles’ hit, but she missed her opening cue. She kept going and kept present in the moment. No one at a concert would have noticed, and the judges all noted that, with Katy Perry countering, “it is your night!”

Caleb Lee Hutchinson sees no reason to move from his comfort zone, choosing the Lonestar hit, “Amazed, ” from 1999.

Luke Bryan told Hutchinson that he was courageous for wanting to “work on things” and grow as an artist. Lionel Richie reminded “just do you,” and Katy Perry praised that the performance reminded her of when she fell in love in Nashville. The top five will be going to Nashville to work with Carrie Underwood next week, which is a great fit for Caleb. An “American Idol” producer came out to meet Caleb, and let him know that his song was her wedding song-- it was another sweet addition to the night. A surprise came on Caleb’s turn with Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” The singer kept it country, slowing down the song, and probably making the lyrics more meaningful for many. Luke Bryan raved that Caleb “slayed it, and Lionel Richie said that he was very proud.

Katy Perry praised what Hutchinson has “grown into” artistically.

Maddie Poppe went to the piano on “Nothing Compares 2U,” a song that many would not dare touch after the mammoth talent of Sinead O'Connor on the track. Maddie kept it her own and continues to wow the judges. Lionel Richie loves her versatility, while Luke Bryan called her “mesmerizing,” lacking other words. Katy Perry assured Maddie that “I'm buying tickets to your show.” Maddie went for a suede jacket and Sheryl Crow in her 1997 choice of “If It Makes You Happy.” The judges were certainly happy, with Katy Perry saying that Maddie was showing the world “how to play like a girl.”

In the last moments, the lights dimmed, and the American public's vote was revealed.

Caleb Hutchinson, Maddie Poppe, Cade Foehner, Gabby Barrett, and Michael J Woodard remain as contenders for the title, and Catie Turner and Jurnee move on, sure to be sharing music elsewhere for a long time to come.