American Idol returned on Sunday evening with performances from the Top 24, who were vying for America’s vote for the first time ever. Sage McNeely, a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Burbank, California, took to the outdoor stage at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, for a performance of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
Ahead of her performance, Sage sat down with country hitmaker and CMA Best New Artist, Jimmie Allen, who admitted he’d be nervous to sing “Jolene” as well.
“You give me vibes that you’re the type of person who likes a good challenge,” Allen told her.
The “Down Home” singer went on to praise her unique vocals during rehearsals.
“The way [you] made this song her own caught me off guard in a good way,” Allen added. “WOW! Sage, that was a great surprise, you have a special voice.”
Sage confidentially took the stage and delivered a unique rendition of Parton’s iconic hit, which happens to be the most-covered song in her catalog.
Following her performance, Idol judges praised her vocal abilities and showmanship.
“That was a very hypnotic rendition, it was very cool. Showing off your individual core strengths,” Katy Perry said and went on to admit she thinks Sage will “definitely” land in the Top 5.
Luke Bryan agreed.
“I think some of your note choices were really pro, you got so many flavors in your voice and that’s why Katy’s throwing out Top 5,” Bryan said as he went on to compliment her “artistic talent.”
To vote for Sage visit AmericanIdol.com/Vote or Text 5 to 21523.