‘American Idol’ Favorites Emmy Russell and Jack Blocker Channel Lionel Richie for “Brilliant” Top 8 Duet

It’s down to the top 8 on American Idol, and anything can happen. ABC is pulling out all the stops as we are just weeks away from learning the name of the next American Idol. Judging from the social media posts during Monday’s (April 29) episode, not many viewers had “two top 8 finalists performing an Idol judge’s hit song” on their season 22 bingo card.

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Jack Blocker and Emmy Russell Channel Lionel Richie on ‘American Idol’

Jack Blocker and Emmy Russell have been consistent fan favorites throughout season 22. Each has an intriguing storyline. Judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie initially rejected the 25-year-old Blocker during audition week. However, at the urging of judge Luke Bryan and the Idol crew, Richie changed his vote to a “yes.” As for Russell, country music is literally in her genes. The 25-year-old Tennessee native spent much of her childhood on a touring bus with her grandmother, the late country legend Loretta Lynn. The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” singer always warned Russell against squandering her musical gifts.

Both contestants bring their own distinct — yet vastly different — musical style to American Idol. So many viewers were floored when the two teamed up for a performance of Richie’s “Hello.”

“‘Hello’ isn’t even styled as a duet,” one viewer pointed out on X/Twitter.

The performance yielded mixed reviews online. Many praised the competitors’ vocals but said they lacked chemistry. Meanwhile, one X/Twitter user wrote, “I love that the duets are back! Jack and Emmy’s voices sound really good together.”

Lionel Richie Praises ‘Brilliant’ Duet

Perhaps only one opinion mattered, however — Richie’s. The GRAMMY winner could barely wait until the final note to run onstage and hug the pair. During Monday’s episode, the top 8 performed one of three songs secretly selected by the Idol judges. Richie competed against fellow judges Luke Bryan and Katy Perry for the most songs chosen.

“It should just clarify the fact that I won. I win,” Richie joked after the duet. “Let’s just go home now.”

[RELATED: Lionel Richie Jokes He & Luke Bryan Must Go To Extreme Measures To Keep Katy Perry on ‘American Idol’]

The “All Night Long” singer effusively praised the performance. “Believe it or not… Miss Shy over here in the corner,” Richie said, gesturing to Russell. “And Mr. ‘Oh my God, I’m not sure’ — boy, was I wrong. The two of you together make such a brilliant combination.”

Featured photo via Instagram

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