Now that this season’s American Idol contestant pool has been narrowed down to just seven, it was time to give the aspiring star performers a real challenge: performing hits from Prince’s catalog. Performers have to be at their absolute best if they’re going to attempt to channel Prince’s musicality and stage presence.
Two contestants mixed it up by choosing songs Prince wrote, but did not make famous: Cade Foehner performed the Time’s “Jungle Love” (co-written by Prince with Morris Day and Jesse Johnson) and Catie Turner took on “Manic Monday,” a hit for the Bangles.
Contestant Jurnee opened up Prince night by performing his song “Kiss,” which was the lead single on Prince and the Revolution’s 1986 album Parade. In the original A-major recording, Prince’s vocals span an entire octave. See how June reinterprets the track here.
Jurnee, as well as Catie Turner (who messed up gravely on some lyrics during her performance), were both eliminated from the competition via fan vote.
Michael J. Woodard continued the round of Prince songs with an exhilarating performance of “I Would Die 4 U” from the classic Purple Rain. Unsurprisingly, Woodard is one of five finalists who still remain in the competition.
Maddie Poppe calmed things down for a bit with the mellow “Nothing Compares 2 U” (originally recorded by Prince’s protege project the Family, later a hit for Sinéad O’Connor) while also showing off her piano chops.
Gabby Barrett and Cade Foehner also advanced to the next round, and will be competing against the rest of the final five. Check out their renditions of some Prince hits, featuring Sheila E. on drums, below. After Sheila E.’s appearance, her new album Message 4 America was offered to viewers as a limited-time free download.
If watching others attempt to emulate the Purple One wasn’t enough, here is video from Prince’s surprise live performance of “Lolita” and “Satisfied” on American Idol back in 2006.