American Idol is throwing a major curveball at its Season 19 contestants: Only nine of them will advance to the Top 10 later this spring, with the final spot going to a contestant from last season.
ABC announced Monday that 10 singers from Season 18 — including runner-up Arthur Gunn — will return to Idol and compete for a spot in the current season’s Top 10. As executive producer and showrunner Trish Kinane told Billboard, the show wanted to give Season 18’s contestants a chance to perform on the big Idol stage, after the coronavirus pandemic forced live shows to happen remotely from singers’ homes last year.
“When it became apparent that things were going to be a bit better this year and that we were going to be able to return to the Television City studio with the big lights, we thought about last year’s contestants,” Kinane said. “They did so well with the remote production, with their moms and dads helping them and their brothers and sisters holding iPhones and ring lights, but they never had the proper Idol experience. Some people really come alive on that big stage. We thought they deserved to have that experience.”
Here’s how it will work: Tonight’s episode (8/7c) will reveal this season’s Top 12. Then, on the April 19 episode, 10 finalists from Season 18 (listed below) will sing for America’s votes, with the winning contestant getting announced on Sunday, May 2. (Idol will be pre-empted by the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, giving viewers a full week to vote for their favorite Season 18 returnee.)
The following singers will be back to perform; song choices were first reported by Billboard.
* Faith Becnel — Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby”
* Franklin Boone — Switchfoot’s “Meant to Live”
* DeWayne Crocker Jr. — Dante Bowe’s “Voice of God”
* Cyniah Elise — Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)”
* Arthur Gunn — Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris”
* Aliana Jester — Lady Gaga’s “I’ll Never Love Again” (from A Star Is Born)
* Louis Knight — “Maybe That” (original song)
* Nick Merico — “City Lights” (original song)
* Makayla Phillips — Demi Lovato’s “Anyone”
* Olivia Ximines — Michelle Williams’ “Say Yes”
Idol fans, what do you think of this twist? Any Season 18 finalists you wish were on that roster? Give us your thoughts in a comment below!