‘American Idol’ Season 18 Finalists Return to Fight for Slot in Top 10 (RECAP)

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In an American Idol twist, 10 finalists from Season 18 were given a second chance to realize their dream. It was also the first time these alums took the Idol stage before a live audience after performing from their homes remotely all last year due to COVID.

Speaking of homecomings, Harry Connick Jr. and Lauren Daigle stopped by with guest performances. Connick Jr., who put on a musical tour de force, has been a mentor and sat in the judge’s chair for three seasons. Daigle auditioned on the singing competition before making it to the early rounds in 2012. She gave an uplifting performance of “Look Up Child,” returning to Idol a Grammy-winning success.

Viewers have a week to vote for which familiar face they want to stick around and complete the Top 10. Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie got reacquainted with these familiar talents and gave their feedback. Bobby Bones revisited their past highlights with the singers, lending his pearls of wisdom.

But who’s your pick? Here is how Monday’s night of performances shook out in case you need help making your decision.

Cyniah Elise

Cyniah wanted to let loose with “Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)” by Miley Cyrus. Bobby encouraged the 19-year-old to bring out the inner diva within her. Katy loved the last couple of runs in the end. Luke liked her stage presence. Lionel enjoyed the attitude.

Nick Merico

Bobby thought it was the right risk for him to go with his original song “City Lights.” Luke thought it was a good representation of him as a performer, but wasn’t the best vocally. Lionel disagreed and complimented the Miamian’s dance moves. Katy felt he found his original identity in the last year. Will it be the third time’s the charm for Nick on Idol?

Aliana Jester

Aliana shed her insecurities from the past season and killed it on the Lady Gaga cover of “I’ll Never Love Again” from A Star Is Born. Lionel called it a world-class performance. Katy said she didn’t even recognize her and showed incredible growth. Luke felt she took an amazing foot forward with a good chance to be in the Top 10. Bobby almost teared up at her transformation.

Franklin Boone

The music teacher opened up to Bobby about losing much of his belongings due to mold and having to deal with that while doing those “Idol at Home” shows in 2020. Franklin grabbed his electric guitar and rocked out to “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot. Katy thought the song choice was a good curveball. Luke liked the final notes in particular. Lionel commended him on taking a chance by showing another dimension.

Faith Becnel

Faith went into her identity crisis with Bobby last season. Then revealed that she was choosing “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin. Faith felt selecting a song she forgot the lyrics to in the past and nailing it would be quite the redemption story. Luke felt it was a great song choice and loved the performance. Lionel felt the fact she was welcomed back along with the other nine, they’ve already won. Katy felt she found a balance in her vibrato

Arthur Gunn

The runner-up form last season reminded everyone how good he is with a standout cover of”Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. It was a toss-up as the other choice was a tune by Bob Dylan. By the standing ovation from judges, I guess he made the right decision. Lionel called him a stylist with an immediately recognizable voice. Katy thinks he is the real deal. Luke liked hearing him again. Bobby believes he brings the Wow.

DeWayne Crocker Jr.

DeWayne felt one of his biggest regrets was trying to be someone he was not last season. He then took the audience to church on the piano with “Voice of God” by Dante Bowie featuring Steffany Gretzinger and Chandler Moore. Katy felt he looked like an artist. Luke felt it was a solid vocal and good song choice. Lionel said that he stepped into his light. Great-grandma was proud.

Makayla Phillips

Makayla, who was the judge’s save last season, hoped to show she did take the judge’s advice. She dedicated the performance of “Anyone” by Demi Lovato to her sister, who lost her father last year. Luke thought it was a wonderful performance. Lionel felt every bit of the emotion from her singing. Katy thought she was a good storyteller, and that best storyteller wins.

Olivia Ximines

Olivia came back to Idol to demonstrate her true potential. She went from Whitney last year to the ladies of Destiny’s Child with “Say Yes” by Michelle Williams featuring Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland. Lionel enjoyed the dance skills and how the 17-year-old made the audience smile with her smile. Katy felt she needed to be on that stage, delivering show business. Luke added she was dialed in on showbiz.

Louis Knight

Bobby wanted to help Louis bring the artist out. The former pizza slinger turned sing-songwriter performed “Maybe That.” It was one he wrote around the initial audition. Katy felt he bared his soul and was connected. Luke saw tremendous growth. Lionel commended him for turning into a great songwriter and for how far he has come.

American Idol returns with “Disney Night,” Sunday, May 2, 8/7c, ABC



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