‘American Idol’ 2022: Top 9 Turns Into Top 10 After Surprise Save From the Judges

American Idol had quite a memorable evening on Monday, April 25. For the first time ever, the singing competition introduced a little game amongst Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie — Judge’s Song Contest. The game resulted in plenty of hilarious moments as the judges battled it out to earn the most points. And by the end of the evening, the winning judge(s) received the surprise chance to save one lucky contestant, bringing American Idol 2022’s Top 9 to the Top 10. Here are some highlights from the evening and which artist went home.

[Spoiler alert: The following story contains spoilers for American Idol Season 20 Episode 15, “Judge’s Song Contest.”]

Lady K, Ryan Seacrest, and Tristen Gressett on stage on American Idol during the Top 10 results.
Lady K, Ryan Seacrest, and Tristen Gressett on ‘American Idol’ 2022 during the Top 10 results. | Eric McCandless/ABC

‘American Idol’ 2022 revealed the Top 9 after a special Judge’s Song Contest episode

Here’s how the Judge’s Song Contest worked. Katy, Luke, and Lionel each anonymously submitted song selections to American Idol‘s Top 11 contestants. Then, each contestant chose from a list of three tunes, not knowing which judge they came from. The judges each received a point every time an artist picked their submission.

The contestants also got to play a bit of judge trivia and guess which one suggested their song, resulting in some pretty hilarious reveals. For example, almost no one could have thought that Lionel Richie would choose Olivia Rodrigo’s “Traitor” for Lady K. However, he said he wanted to challenge the singer. She almost opted to play it safe with “Jesus Take the Wheel” but decided to move out of her comfort zone.

Lionel delivered a few shocking reveals throughout the evening. Earlier, he chose Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” for Nicolina Bozzo, and Nicolina was surprised the selection didn’t come from Katy. Lionel said he wanted the singer to show off her “fire” and give energy she hadn’t released before. The judges were thoroughly impressed.

Another impressive performance came from Fritz Hager, who sang Oasis’ “Wonderwall” (Luke’s pick). As meme-worthy as the song has become, Fritz managed to turn it into something beautiful, as Katy pointed out.

Voting closed just before the episode’s end, and host Ryan Seacrest announced which artists America pushed through to American Idol 2022’s Top 9. Then, the judges made a save for the Top 10. Here’s who is moving forward:

  • Noah Thompson
  • Nicolina Bozzo
  • Christian Guardino
  • Fritz Hager
  • HunterGirl
  • Emyrson Flora
  • Leah Marlene
  • Jay Copeland
  • Mike Parker
  • SAVED: Lady K

The judges sent 1 ‘American Idol’ singer home after a surprise save to form the Top 10

By the end of the night, Katy and Luke tied for the most points, which meant they could choose one artist together for a save. It came down to Lady K and Tristen Gressett, who delivered a rockstar performance of The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Katy and Luke loved Tristen’s energy, but they ultimately chose to send him home.

After his elimination, the 17-year-old singer took to Instagram to discuss his “beautiful experience” on American Idol.

“Being with this amazing family of singers was such a blessing. I’m so happy to have went [sic] out with a BANG‼️ Thank y’all so much to everyone who voted, and to everyone who has supported me through this journey,” he wrote. “Y’all are the reason I perform, and the reason I will continue to. Huge things are gonna be happening soon ‼️‼️ MY JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN.”

What to expect from the next episode of ‘American Idol’

Next Sunday, May 1, the Top 10 will hit the stage once again for another round of performances. This time, it looks like Disney songs will be the theme. As always, fans should make sure they’re prepared to vote for their favorites. Then, Monday will mark a very special episode as American Idol celebrates 20 years with a reunion concert from faces of the competition’s past.

American Idol airs new episodes on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for more updates.

RELATED: ‘American Idol’: Ava Maybee Thanks Fans for Support After Shocking Top 14 Elimination