Filipino American singer Francisco Martin advanced to the next round of ‘American Idol’ Season 18 as he secured a spot in the top 7.
For the penultimate episode of the season, the contestants had to perform twice, with the first performance being centered around Disney songs.
Martin, a 19-year-old student from Daly City, California, performed his own version of “You’ll Be in My Heart” from the movie “Tarzan,” impressing judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
“We’re witnessing here a transformation of Francisco,” Richie said.
He added, “I saw several times of that performance. You’re smiling at yourself when you perform. In other words, what you’re doing now is just giving us confidence and enjoyment. And by the way, we as an audience, we’d love to see that kind of emotion. Francisco, congratulations on being on the Top 7, man. I’m really, really proud of you.”
“What you gave us at the end is kind of what I wanted from Louis Knight. This is a competition. Let’s get real. There’s only one Idol and you were spot-on with your performance and then at the end, you let us have it with the talent of your voice. Good for you. You are a good bet,” she added.
Bryan, for his part, dubbed him as the “King of American Idol.”
“My man! Great job. Just in that performance, you were like the King of the jungle and you felt like the King of American Idol in my opinion,” he said.
For Martin’s second performance, he dedicated a heartfelt performance of Leon Bridges’ “River” to his mom.
“From Tarzan to singing ‘River,’ I don’t know what happened but you have grown even more,” Perry noted.
Bryan went as far as to say that Martin “beat the original record.”
Meanwhile, Richie praised the singer’s confidence.
“The thing I love the most is your confidence is front and center. You’re no longer in your head. Congratulations because you have a career and that is what’s important,” he said.
The season finale will be held next Sunday, May 17, starting with two contestants being eliminated based on audience votes. The five remaining hopefuls will perform two songs each as real-time voting will help determine who gets the “American Idol” title.