American Idol 2021 Recap Season 18 Singers “Comeback” for Your Votes
Tonight, 10 singers from the Season 18 Top 20 will perform on the American Idol stage for YOUR VOTES. After a week-long vote, the winner will be revealed when American Idol returns on May 2 for Disney night. The victor will join the Top 9 to make a Top 10. The singers will perform for the judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. Ryan Seacrest hosts, Bobby Bones serves as in-house mentor.
Tonight’s performance order (Via @IdolSpoilers) and voting numbers. Voting is open until January 26 at 6 am ET.
Cyniah Elise – C1 to 21523
Nick Merico – C2 to 21523
Aliana Jester – C3 to 21523
Franklin Boone – C4 to 21523
Faith Becnel – C5 to 21523
Arthur Gunn – C6 to 21523
DeWayne Crocker, Jr. – C7 to 21523
Makayla Phillips – C8 to 21523
Olivia Ximines – C9 to 21523
Louis Knight – C10 to 21523
The judges explain how last year’s contestants didn’t get their moment on the big stage because of COVID. It wasn’t fair! But you know what? Sometimes life isn’t fair.
By the way, this episode was taped days ago. NOT LIVE. Harry Connick Jr. and Lauren Daigle will also perform tonight.
Cyniah Elise – Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix) by Miley Cyrus ft Stevie Nicks – Cyniah picked a rock song for tonight, because she wants to show America a whole different side. Uhhhh. This is really pitchy and boring. She’s clearly not a rock singer, and not bringing a proper R&B vibe to the performance either. Bringing back singers who couldn’t even break out of the Top 20. Whhyyyyyy. “Y’all were robbed,” cries Katy. She liked the ending runs. “Good job.” Luke thinks she seemed a little lost in the beginning, but caught her stride eventually. Luke urges everyone to vote. Bobby is so proud of Cyniah. Bobby, hanging out in the contestants’ lounge, will get his two cents in as well.
Nick Merico – City Lights by Nick Merico – After his elimination last year, Nick took a road trip. Then he began to write. He’s singing an original, written for a “special someone” in his life. His hair is very…short. Singing an original is a big risk, and this song is just OK. I thought this guy went farther than he should have, with limited vocal ability. Luke calls him “the serious Nick” and felt he delivered a good representation of his artistry. However, Luke says straight up that he may not cut it vocally. HE IS CORRECT. However, Lionel disagrees. He loved Nick’s stage presence and confidence. Katy believes Nick has taken the time to find his “instant identity.” Bobby calls Nick “an artist” and applauds him for his vulnerability.
Aliana Jester – I’ll Never Love Again by Lady Gaga – Aliana struggled with confidence last year, but feels she had a turning point in Hawaii, during the showcase performances. Man. Aliana did the glow up. SHE LOOKS BEAUTIFUL. She didn’t make much of an impression last year, but she really has improved. Girl has been working on her thing in the meantime, for sure. It’s a beautiful performance. Very passionate, great tone and phrasing. The judges give her a standing ovation. Lionel says “welcome back…that was a world class wonderful performance.” Katy did not even recognize her. “You have turned a whole new situation!” Katy compared her to Mariah and Celine. “Incredible growth.” Luke calls it a “great way to come back…you really have a chance to be in that Top 10.” Bobby doesn’t even recognize the woman from last year! He almost “got a tear.”
Franklin Boone – Meant to Live by Switchfoot – Franklin admits that his family was going through some crazy difficult stuff last season during the At Home performances. They had moved into a new place, and were invaded by black mold. His wife is eight months pregnant right now. He’s 29, and it’s last shot at American Idol. I truly thought Franklin was robbed last year. I might even vote for him. However, I do prefer his acoustic stuff, vs the rock stuff. The song is a little low for him and is causing him pitch problems. The last chorus is the best, when he kicks into a higher gear. Katy calls his performance “curve ball.” She misses the acoustic stuff too. Luke appreciates that Franklin did something different. Lionel commends him on taking a chance. Franklin chose a rock song, because the big stage demanded it. “This stage is not too big for you,” says Bobby.
Faith Becnel – Cry Baby by Janis Joplin – Being on Idol changed Faith’s life. And she feels like she’s changed a lot. Oh. She sang “Cry Baby” as a last minute song pick in Hollywood. She forgot all the lyrics. So this is redemption. Well, that first note was a little pitchy! But Faith has an interesting tone. It’s an acquired taste kind of tone. But she intrigues me, and I was a little sad she got so little screen time last year. She did remember all the words this time. Luke compliments the song choice. “I loved the performance,” he says. Lionel says, “To make it to this point, you’ve already won.” Katy feels she’s learned balance when it comes to her vocals. Bobby calls her “authentic.”
Now, former American Idol judge Harry Connick Jr. takes the stage. He sings a medley of songs from his latest album, which he wrote, produced, and played every instrument on in his home studio. I like Harry singing standards. Anything else…meh. Harry tells Ryan that he played 30 different instruments on his album, which he illustrates in a very weird musical interlude in the middle of the performance. So gimmicky.
Arthur Gunn – Iris by Goo Goo Dolls – THE RUNNER UP HAS RETURNED. It seems unfair, doesn’t it? Bobby notes that Arthur doesn’t talk much. Arthur had a hard time deciding what to sing. He considered an original, a Bob Dylan song, but then settled on….the Goo Goo Dolls? This doesn’t seem very Arthur-like. Look at Luke’s big grin during Arthurs performance! Actually, I have followed Arthur since his season ended. I think he’s talented. This performance doesn’t really do him justice. But he is so popular, he may advance anyway. Lionel says, “You struck the right chords in me…your voice is totally identifiable…you are definitely a stylist.” Katy loves that Arthur goes his own way. She calls him an “anarchist.” She “locks in” so much with him. Luke calls him both understated and overstated. Whatever that means. Bobby loved the song choice. “Keep killing it,” he says. Ryan asks him if picking a song so late caused stress. “Not really,” he says.
ARTHUR GUNN IS TRENDING. Not very high, but he’s the only Idol related trend right now.
DeWayne Crocker Jr. – Voice of God by Dante Bowe ft. Steffany Gretzinger & Chandler Moore – Oh right. His great grandmother is a Lionel Richie stan, and she met him at DeWayne’s audition. He considers himself a gospel artist. He regrets the James Brown song choice for his At Home Top 20 performance. Tonight, he is choosing a gospel song, because it reflects who he is as an artist. Good for DeWayne going for what he is rather than what’s popular. This is a good performance. Very heartfelt. He most certainly loves Jesus. Katy feels he’s on a journey to “carve his whole vibe out.” She felt those “church chills.” Luke doesn’t remember him playing the piano last year (I think, actually, he did.). Lionel says, “You have stepped into your light.” Bobby is so happy DeWayne got to show America who he is.
Makayla Phillips – Anyone by Demi Lovato – She earned a judges save last year. She made the Top 11, but was then immediately cut. She was also on America’s Got Talent a few years ago. She anticipates singing tonight will be very emotional. And indeed, she’s laying it all out on the stage. Very emotional performance from Makayla. And she’s hitting those high notes cleanly. The judges are on their feet. Luke calls it a “wonderful performance.” She’s close to tears. Lionel calls her high note memorable. “We felt every bit of that performance.” Katy compliments her runs, and the way she built the song. She thought the shaky emotional last note was “everything.” She dedicated the song to her sister, who lost her father last year. Bobby felt she connected not only to the room, but to America.
Now, it’s time for former American Idol contestant Lauren Daigle to sing “Look Up Child” from her most recent album. It’s amazing that Lauren competed on two seasons and couldn’t break through. She’s got such a unique sound.
Olivia Ximines – Say Yes by Michelle Williams ft Beyonce & Kelly Rowland – Oh lord. She did a Tina Turner tribute in Hawaii, and it wasn’t great. Olivia confesses she wasn’t comfortable singing from home. She’s more comfortable on a stage. The performance is youthful and high energy. A little pitchy, though. She adds a cute dance break. Olivia is pretty adorable. Lionel loves the way she makes the audience smile. Katy says, “you gave us moments, you gave us show business. You are meant for the stage.” Luke likes that she makes the audience comfortable in her world. Bobby notes that she choreographed the performance. Fun Fact: she’s her high school class valedictorian.
Louis Knight – Maybe That by Louis Knight – Louis has been busy all year pumping out original songs. I’m not sure he needs American Idol at this point. But it sure couldn’t hurt. He and Bobby talk about how he struggled during the competition. Hawaii was a low point. He’s like Alejandro Aranda, he needs to stick to his own songs to make an impression. This tune is another good one. He pours himself into the performance, and it could nab him a place in the Season 19 Top 10. Katy says she “really felt that.” Luke thinks Louis has grown tremendously. “It pulled me in, I felt your pain, this may be my favorite American Idol moment I’ve had with you.” Lionel believes he’s turned into a great songwriter. “I’m so grateful to be back,” says Louis. He wrote the song after his DC audition, and it encapsulated everything he had been going through at the time.