American Idol 2021 Twist: Season 18 Alums Return for Second Chance? (UPDATED 4/5)

AMERICAN IDOL 401 (Auditions) American Idol, the iconic series that revolutionized the television landscape by pioneering the music competition genre, will return to airwaves during its season premiere SUNDAY, FEB. 14 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC/Christopher Willard) KATY PERRY
(ABC/Christopher Willard) KATY PERRY

Well…this is weird. According to the Idol Pad spoilers, the big twist this season is that 10 contestants from season 18 (last season) will return in some capacity for a second chance. The site has no details beyond a list of former contestants rumored to be returning. At this point, we’re likely at the “grain of salt” stage of the rumor.

UPDATE 2: According to the schedule at Futon Critic, The Top 12 will sing Oscar Nominated Songs on Sunday April 18. The Monday April 19 schedule is titled “The Comeback.” So, it appears that the “second chance” twist is a real thing. (See the updated American Idol schedule HERE).

The Idol Pad (@IdolSpoilers) reports that the 10 second chance performers from season 18 will compete on Monday April 19. The voting results will serve as a cliffhanger over the Oscar break. The winners (just a “few” reportedly) will be revealed and merged with the remaining finalists on Sunday May 2. So it looks like there will be a Top 14 or something like that going into the finals. That’s reasonable. Sill unnecessary to bring old contestants back. But not completely terrible. 

My theory about the Top 20 being bumped up to a Top 24 and so on is to account for possible disqualifications if one more singers test positive for COVID-19. Just think if there is a mini-outbreak on set. The show needs the extra contestants. 

UPDATE: Reportedly, the returning season 18 contestants will perform in some sort of wildcard setting, fans will vote, and a few will join the season 19 contestants.

All of the participating singers were in the Season 18 Top 20, but does not include the winner, Just Sam or finalists signed to American Idol affiliated 19 Records: Dillon James (Top 5), Francisco Martin (Top 5), Julia Gargano (Top 7), Grace Leer Top 11).

Here is the list of contestants rumored to be participating. Oddly, runner-up Arthur Gunn is on the list!

Arthur Gunn – Runner-up
Louis Knight – Top 7
Makayla Phillips – Top 11
Aliana Jester – Top 20
Cyniah Elise – Top 20
DeWayne Crocker Jr. – Top 20
Faith Becnel – Top 20
Franklin Boone – Top 20
Nick Merico – Top 20
Olivia Ximines – Top 20

Remaining Top 20 contestants not participating for one reason or another (declined, ineligible, wasn’t asked, etc): Jonny West (Top 5), Jovin Webb (Top 11), Sophia James (Top 7), Kimmy Gabriela (Top 20), Lauren Spencer Smith (Top 20).

American Idol has been promoting a twist all season, so I would not be surprised if some version of this rumor…or something else entirely is on the horizon. 

About mj santilli 35052 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!