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American Idol Season 19 - 2020 Comeback Performances


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Last night, you picked your Top 9, but there's room for one more. The contestants from last year didn't really get a chance to do the "Stage" thing. These kids didn't get their big moment in front of the audience. And we feel that was kind of unfair. Plot twist! Tonight, your favorites from last season hit the stage. One will join the Top 10. 10 signers, one spit. We're giving them the stage, but it's up to America to decide who stays, and who goes. You vote, you decide. Someone will get the second chance of a lifetime. This is the comeback show, and this is American Idol!

The live studio is masked up and in their family pods, and we have the idol Judges: Luke Bryan, Lionel Ritchie and Katy Perry! Because we were in heavy lockdown last year at this time, the lights in the studio were dark and we pivoted to Idol @ Home. But the finalists never got to experience the big stage, the lights, the camera, the hair, the makeup, a live band, all the fun stuff. Tonight we are giving them the full treatment as we welcome back 9 familiar faces from last season's Top 20 and they will sing for your votes once again.

Each comeback artist is singing a solo song of their choosing and we are voting in-show with voting open now and through the final commercial break before the results are revealed. The one person who receives the most votes from you will join this season's Top 10. Please welcome back Faith Becnel, Franklin Boone, DeWayne Crocker Jr., Cyniah Elise, Arthur Gunn, Aliana Jester, Louis Knight, Nick Merico, Makayla Phillips and Olivia Ximines!

Let's get started with 2020 Top 20 finalist Cyniah Elise, singing Edge Of Midnight - Midnight Sky Remix (Miley Cyrus featuring Stevie Nicks). Up tempo and full of attitude, her vocal strong but not overpowering, popish with a lot stage movement that may be leaving her a bit breathless. Offering a full package performance, this comeback kid didn't come to play but to slay. Katy says plot twist! Y'all were robbed from the whole star wash. Loved the runs, would have liked to have heard the earlier. Good job. Luke says it is fun to see your stage presence, you were kind of searching at the start but found your stride and it was fun. Lionel says we got to see your attitude and welcome back to American Idol!

Don't worry about rushing to vote tonight. Ryan clarified that while voting is already open, you have until 6am next Monday (4/26) at 6am. There is no Sunday show due to The Oscars.

Next up is confident and Nick Merico, performing the original song, City Lights for this third try at Idol fame. With dramatic lighting and beats, his open is a little underwhelming but builds even with the band, breaking into a rock performance. He grabs the mic and starts working the stage, A strong and solid vocal, his voice intense and focused, ready to rumble. Luke says it was Serious Nick, a good representation of who you want to be as an artist, but vocally, not out of the park. Luke gets boo'd. Lionel says I disagree with Luke; you had stage presence, attitude, confidence and it all showed. Loved the dance moves. Katy says you were good looking with a pretty good voice last year, the original song was good but your stage usage and moshing around, you were feeling it, punching the air, getting in the zone. Don't forget we want to get intot he zone with you.

Next looking to connect with your vote is Aliana Jester singing I'll Never Love Again (Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper from A Star Is Born). Her voice is strong, emotional, powerful, remorseful and intensely honest, a bit of grit at strategic points as she digs deep. This was both tender and passionate performance, without dancing or movements but full of grace and poise. Lionel welcomes her back and says that was a world class performance. Katy says I didn't recognize you, you have a whole new situation, something that should have taken 10 years to achieve but you are fitting in 100%, incredible growth. Luke says elegant, beautiful, a great way to come back, an amazing foot put forward.

School of Rock teacher Franklin Boone is next, singing Meant To Live (Switchfoot). Rockin' the electric, the guitar licks are more grunge than his vocal, which is strong but not powerful, his sandpaper rough voice entertaining and dynamic, climaxing with a big power note. Do you want more that Franklin has to offer? Katy says we thought you were coffee shop and theater and you switched it up. I miss the singer/songwriter but it was great to see new color and shapes. Luke says you're bringing out new things you couldn't do before, way to come out and show another deal. Even the big note at the end, not an attack we heard from you last year. Lionel says I commend you for taking a chance instead of playing it safe, you chose to show another dimension.

We continue with Louisiana's Faith Becnel, singing Cry Baby (Janis Joplin), the song she tried to learned last minute last year for Hollywood Week. Opening with a huge welcome back note, she jumps right into this performance with a nuanced voice, silky smooth, elegant and confident, working the stage, sliding into and through the chorus with ease, leaning into her audience with her intense vocal. Luke says we've always been a fan of your whole thing, great song choice, missed that back-phrase vibrato, your signature. Lionel says you've all already won to make it back to this stage, you have graced us as one of our favorites. Katy says last season we said to balance your voice between the flavors in the food and you did that tonight.

Next please welcome to the Idol another Idol alum, it's Harry Connick Jr with music to heal, composed, arranged and performed ocompletely on his own while in home quarantine, here's Alone With My Faith!

Moving on from the keyboard to a series of percussion instruments, a tuba and trumpet, an arpege, and finally ending up on the piano, he has the whole theater up and clapping to Old Time Religion, bringing us home to Louisiana. 

We return to the comeback performances with 2020 Runner-Up (and fan favorite), Arthur Gunn, singing Iris (Goo Goo Dolls). Unsure up to the point he was talking with Bobby Bones, he takes the stage with his acoustic and his familiar rasp and warble is like butter to the ears, dramatic and emotion-packed, as if he hasn't missed a beat since losing to Just Sam nearly a year ago. Lionel says you struck the right chords in me, what you have is instant artist identity, you are a stylist. Katy says I love you go your own way, doing your own thing, you show up and participate but stay authentic. You only care if the people feel it. You are the real deal with a massive fan group, and they are still out there. Luke says in an overhyped world, you walk out understated and sound overstated; life should give you everything you need in music.

Trying to follow that performance is DeWayne Crocker Jr., singing Voice Of God (Dante Bowe). Returning to his faith roots and playing the grand piano, his voice is intense and passionate, lilty and lavender, the vocal is without frills and fancy antics, humble and powerful as he takes the mic to the stage, taking us to church. Katy says you look grown, like an artist on a journey carving his vibe out who engaged us, connected with our soul. Luke says we didn't see you behind the piano last season and when you stood up, it went to another level. Lionel says you clearly stepped into your light in the last year, whatever it was, you had our attention from beginning to end, you were completely confident you held our attention and you did.

Last season, Makayla Phillips earned the one and only Judges' Save and made it to the Top 11 and AGT Golden Buzzer winner. Singing Anyone (Demi Lovato), her voice is open and honest, her voice soaring out a quiet, passionate, powerful plea. At the end, she nearly gets lost in the emotional toll of her performance. Luke says really wonderful performance, you always had my favorite voice and you really showed up and delivered. Lionel says you have a signature, high end vocal and you got emotional on your high note. Some singers cannot translate feeling to the audience; we felt every bit of that performance. Katy says the run from the second verse to the chorus was magnificent, and then you kept building on top of that. And at the end, when your voice was cracking and you were a little off key, it was everything. You told the story and best storyteller wins.

Next, Lauren Daigle returns to the Idol stage, singing Look Up Child from her Grammy Award Winning album. 

Hoping to showcase her full potential, here's Olivia Ximines, singing Say Yes (Michelle Williams featuring Beyonce and Kelly Rowland). She starts from the back stage, energetically strutting her way to the front with a Caribbean vibe, her voice is lively, confident and full of joy, her vocal full of dynamics and a terrific dance break leading into the climactic celebratory conclusion. Lionel says you danced into our lives and have the ability to have an audience smile back at you simply for smiling at them. Katy says you weren't meant to stay in the living room; you gave us show business on stage, a whole, complete package, your life is large and in charge and meant for the stage. Luke says you make us feel comfortable in your world, you do all these movements and that's a challenge, but you have show biz and entertainment dialed in.

The final performance from our Comeback Candidates is 2020 Top 7 Finalist, Louis Knight, singing his original song, Maybe That, written at the 2020 auditions. At the piano, his unique voice is as serious and row and honest as the lyrics. Powerful, emotional in message, you could hear a pin drop in the audience as his vocal soared out in beautiful flight. Katy says I always thought you were super-authentic and you came out here and bared your soul - whomever you wrote the song for, they had better call you back. Luke says tremendous growth, the runs in the middle were so well done, totally caught up in your moment, a real artist, a real show, I was pulled into your pain. Lionel says you have actually turned into a great songwriter, how far you've come and how great it is to have a band playing behind you. A dream come true, Louis says.

So there you have it - Faith Becnel, Franklin Boone, DeWayne Crocker Jr., Cyniah Elise, Arthur Gunn, Aliana Jester, Louis Knight, Nick Merico, Makayla Phillips and Olivia Ximines have performed for your vote, and now must wait all week for you to vote (6 am ET on Monday, 4/26). Who do you think belongs in your Top 10?

I misspoke earlier - while the vote closes at 6am ET on the morning of April 26th, the results will not be revealed until Idol returns the following Sunday, May 2nd. 

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