‘American Idol': Riley Thompson Gives Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ a New Sound [Watch]
Covering Dolly Parton's iconic hit "Jolene" is a tall order, but young American Idol contestant Riley Thompson took it on during Monday's (April 1) Top 20 solo's episode.
Judge Katy Perry appreciated her cover, but ultimately wasn't blown away by it, saying: "Um, Riley, that was great. That's one of my favorite Dolly songs ever. Uh, you know, that song is basically begging another woman to say, 'Please, please, I know you're cheating with him, but, please, just stop!' That's how it goes."
Thompson seemed to understand the pop judge's hesitation in dishing compliments, nodding as she listened to Perry's feedback. "It's got a lot of grit, you know, so I want a little bit more when it comes to, uh, just, you know, the delivery of the vocal style," the Idol judge said.
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Judge Luke Bryan offered words of encouragement for the 16-year-old, telling Thompson: "Don't be scared to — to miss a note. Just get it grittier and get more angst and get more — just be like, 'Aah!' Just make it happen. Push yourself vocally every chance you can."
"I have never heard a critique in my life that started off with 'Aah!' But you know what? That's exactly what you need. It's really something you have to experience, and I know that it's just gonna take time, but you are growing right in front of us," Lionel Richie chimed in.
Perry went on to say that she applauded the teen for having the guts to be out there with her cover, but that she should "just throw yourself in some dirt or something, just roll around!"
The country-leaning Thompson performed Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart" on the Top 40 Hawaii episode and received rave reviews.
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