American Idol returned on Sunday night (April 17) with its Top 20 results show and 20 hopefuls competing for America's votes. One artist who has managed to make it through this far in the competition is Dan Marshall.

The singer — a former football player for Virginia Tech — told viewers that he felt more confident going into his performance, despite experiencing a rocky round last week, when he had to go up against fellow contestant Dakota Hayden for a shot in the Top 24.

Selecting Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places,” Marshall made it clear he was up for a challenge. Even though getting up to sing the country legend's hit was a tall order, he used his charm to dazzle the audience while singing on his guitar. He also showcased his natural Southern twang on the tune before inviting the audience members to sing along with him.

Afterward, the judges gave their feedback, with Lionel Richie volunteering to be the first to share his thoughts.

“You know Dan, I’m going to just give a quick critique. I want free tickets and backstage passes,” Richie said, applauding Marshall for his performance. “Truth of the matter is, you can take this act right here and go straight on the road immediately. That’s as good as it gets.”

Unlike Richie, Katy Perry admitted that she “didn’t get it at first.” However, she did eventually warm up to the performance, saying she thought it was “so fun” and “you’ve had the best stage presence that was so authentic and so natural of the whole night so far.”

“I think in previous rounds, you may have missed the mark on a song choice here or there. This thing is a fourth-quarter football battle making it through on American Idol. Then you come along, and you pick the right song that really showcases where you’re going to evolve as an artist. Good job on upping your game,” Luke Bryan raved.

As it turns out, Brooks himself also got in on the fandom: The country icon showed up on a large screen behind Marshall, and listened in on his Idol audition of “The Dance.”

“Man, he was cool,” Brooks remarked.

The Top 14 will be revealed when American Idol returns on Monday (April 18) on ABC.

See American Idol Contestants Then and Now

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