AMORY - Monroe County musicians Zachariah Smith and Colin Stough captivated a national audience May 14 with their renditions of songs from popular Disney movies on “American Idol.”
As the result of a live nationwide vote, Stough advanced to the Top 3 and next Sunday's season finale. Unfortunately, Smith did not advance in competition, after exhibiting his big vocal styles and high energy performances.
Stough joins Iam Tongi and Megan Danielle for the top 3 to be featured on the season finale.
Stough performed Sheryl Crow’s upbeat “Real Gone” from “Cars” and The Lumineers’ melodic “Nobody Knows” from the live action version of “Pete’s Dragon.” Celebrity judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry remarked on his increased confidence.
“We’ve been wanting you to get comfortable all year, and I didn’t realize a ‘Cars’ song was going to get you that,” Bryan said of his Sheryl Crow cover.
He and Richie both agreed it was their favorite Stough performance thus far, saying he showed his confidence well. Perry said The Lumineers cover was another life-changing performance for him.
"It is really hard to step out here and hold a room," Bryan said. "You do an amazing job at holding the room. Sometimes it takes years for people to develop that craft. Understand you've got that as an anchor for your career and build on that."
Smith’s take on Tom Cochrane's song "Life is a Highway," popularized by a Rascal Flatts cover on the soundtrack for “Cars,” and the Disney original “Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from “Lion King” received positive feedback from the judges.
“You were, to me, such the underdog and look at you now,” Perry said following his showstopping performance of “Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”
Richie said entertaining is half of the equation in being a performer, adding Smith was on fire with his vocals and stage presence. After his Rascal Flatts performance, Richie drew comparisons to Michael Jackson.
“Zachariah, when that chorus opened up, it’s like you were doing 100 miles per hour. It was just brilliant and perfect for your voice,” Perry said.
The show’s Top 5 contestants, which also included We Ani, spent time last week filming at Disneyland with celebrity mentor Sofia Carson of Disney’s “Descendants” fame.
Video intros ahead of the contestants’ performances focused on family time at Disneyland, taking on special Mother’s Day themes.
Halle Bailey, who stars as Ariel in the upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” and Sara Bereilles both performed live.
The Top 5 contestants joined Bereilles in singing harmonies for “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
Monday night’s "Journey to the Finale" episode was slated to show never-before-seen footage of the Top 3 finalists’ drive from their hometowns to the “American Idol” stage.
The three-hour season finale of “American Idol,” airs live May 21 at 7 p.m. on ABC when viewers will decide the next “American Idol.”
Ahead of the finale, a homecoming for Stough is scheduled for Tuesday, with a 4 p.m. parade on Amory Main Street and a concert at 5:30 p.m. at Hatley High School’s football field, where he graduated last year. Times are subject to change.
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