It was a night of triumph and tears for Louisiana's three "American Idol" contestants on Sunday's episode.
Although Jovin Webb, Faith Becnel and Robert Taylor III all advanced to the next phase of the competition, solo rounds, which start airing Monday night, Taylor, of Donaldsonville, lost his roommate and duetmate, who the judges sent home after their duet performance. In a first for "Idol," the traditional group rounds, where three or four contestants collaborate on a song, were skipped this season.
"We're from Louisiana and we got soul from our head to our feet," Becnel, of Destrehan but now living in New Orleans, said before she and Webb, calling their duo Soul'd Out, gave their soul-stirring rendition of "This is a Man's World," popularized and co-written by James Brown. See the performance here.
"Me and Jovin we just immediately clicked once we met," Becnel said. " … I think we can rely on each other."
"I love her personality, the way she is, that's hard to find," Webb, a Gonzales native now living in Baton Rouge, said.
"This combination together, you all have got it down," judge Lionel Richie said. "It's your song, it's your feeling, it's your power. It was a great collaboration, which made the duet absolutely powerful. Both of you are going through. Congratulations."
Meanwhile, Taylor had to look no farther than across the hotel room to find his singing partner Tito Rey, of Los Angeles. They called their duo Soul Libre. Rey was born and raised in Chile, and is a bilingual pop and rhythm-and-blues singer-songwriter.
"We met, and it was like … my twin. I've never met somebody like this," Rey said.
"I just felt like together we can do something that will blow people's minds," Taylor added.
The two made "Idol" history, the first time two gay male singers have sung a love song to each other. Rey sat next to Taylor at the keyboards as they gave a run-filled rendition of "Say So," by New Orleans musician PJ Morton, featuring JoJo. To watch the performance, click here.
"What we just witnessed was vocal gymnastics," Richie began when the song ended. "I don't know how to judge it, because it was too acrobatic. It was a chance for us to know that you all personally can hit every possible note there is in the universe.
"I must tell you for your duet, I think it was not the greatest."
The audience gasped.
"Tito, we love you, but you're not going to make it to the next round. Robert, you're going to go forward," Richie said. "It breaks my heart, because we're really pulling for you guys."
"It's not often you meet someone who understands you like that," a distraught Taylor said, tears rolling down his face as he told Rey goodbye.
"I'm pulling for you man," Rey whispered.
The trio of Louisiana singers will be featured when "American Idol" returns at 7 p.m. Monday on ABC. Most local stations will be pre-empting regular programming at that time with the "Governor's Office Statewide COVID-19 Round Table." Those stations expect to rejoin "American Idol" in progress.