‘American Idol’ Hopeful Alyssa Wray Brings ‘Star Sparkle’ to a Carrie Underwood Cover [Watch]
In early March, Kentucky native Alyssa Wray made major waves in her audition for Season 19 of American Idol, drawing high praise from judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie and earning accolades from publications who compared her audition to that of former Idol champ Carrie Underwood.
During the show's Top 24 Solos and All-Star Duets episode on Sunday night (April 4), Wray took the comparison one step further, covering Underwood's "Something in the Water" for her solo performance. Matching the country powerhouse's vocal chops was an ambitious feat, but once again, Wray was up to the task: She wowed judges with her vocal precision and control and easily conveyed the emotional weight of the song.
It was an especially appropriate choice for an Easter Sunday performance -- though this was almost certainly a coincidence, as Idol's episodes are pre-taped -- since "Something in the Water" was originally a massive crossover hit for Underwood in the Christian and pop genres as well as country. The song even stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart for 26 weeks (compared to seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart) and debuted at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart upon its release in September of 2014.
Each contestant on Sunday night's episode gave both a solo performance and a duet performance with a star guest performer, and Wray was paired with singer-songwriter and former Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee. They sang Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight," and during her feedback from the judges, Wray got high marks for both performances. However, Perry cautioned her against being too polished.
"One thing to think about is when you're singing, especially in your solo, is don't think about the feeling you should have -- just be the feeling. Because it can get a little, like, polished, perfect," the judge pointed out. "Don't be afraid to get dirty with it."
However, Bryan didn't hold back in his praise for Wray. "You've giving me and all the judges star sparkle. I mean, I watched you, on stage with a star, be your own star. And it was awesome. I loved it," he gushed.
American Idol airs on Sunday and Monday nights at 8PM ET on ABC.
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