This set up a special treat for country fans: a Johnny Cash cover by two promising teens.
One of this season's standout singers and personalities, 17-year-old Kentuckian Alex Miller, got teamed with someone younger yet more experienced at performing in the limelight, 16-year-old Tennessean EmiSunshine.
The two performers and fans of classic country music earned an extended stay on the ABC series with a cover of Cash's "I Walk the Line."
As Bryan points out, Miller comes across like he perfected his own take on Cash's Sun Records years, both as a vocalist and a guitarist, when he was knee-high. Bryan adds that Miller will likely need to expand his musical repertoire into other styles to compete in future rounds against the likes of Cassandra Coleman, Grace Kinstler and Alyssa Wray.
EmiSunshine, the other "country little bumpkin" (Bryan's words, not ours), simply did what she's done well since 2014 footage of her yodeling a Jimmie Rodgers song at a flea market landed her an appearance on Today and attention from Music Row in Nashville.
Beyond that early brush with fame, Emi's an experienced touring and recording artist from a musical family. She's also got a new band, The Strong Armed Robbers, featuring her dad, Randall Hamilton, and fellow East Tennessee-based singer-songwriter Fish Fisher. Their debut murder ballad, "Judgement Day,' teases an April 30 album release.
Monday marked the most American Idol screen time so far for EmiSunshine, who'd only been shown in brief clips during the audition phase despite scoring a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Other pairings to make it through to the next round include Laila Mach and Liahona Olayan; Madison Watkins and DeShawn Goncalves; Murphy and Lizzy O'Very; Cassanda Coleman and Wyatt Pike; Ronda Felton and Funke Lagoke; Ava August and Hunter Metts; Anthony Guzman and Adriel Carrion; and Willie Spence and Kya Monee.
A few individuals (namely Graham DeFranco, Hannah Everhart, Chayce Beckham, Sloane Simon and Beane) faired better than their duet partner.
And for better or worse, Claudia Conway getting sent home's gotten more attention in episode recaps than most of these promising young singers' successful duets.
Others eliminated on Monday include Cameron Allen, Kari Erickson, RE'H and Christina Daugherty.