Sage Delivers ‘Hypnotic’ Rendition of Dolly Parton Hit On ‘American Idol’

ABC’s American Idol returned on Sunday evening with performances from the Top 24, who were vying for America’s vote for…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

April 10, 2022


8:19 pm

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Sage; Photo Courtesy ABC, American Idol

ABC’s 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. 

Sage; Photo Courtesy ABC, American Idol
Sage; Photo Courtesy ABC, American Idol

“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. 

“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.”

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To vote for Sage visit or Text 5 to 21523. 

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.