Here’s a mystery from last night’s American Idol finale. Where was Arthur Gunn? The winner of the Comeback competition who exited the show at the Top 7, was scheduled to sing a duet with Sheryl Crow. But instead, Top 16 contestant, Graham DeFranco sang an obviously under-rehearsed rendition of “If It Makes You Happy” and “Everyday Is a Winding Road” with the singer.
Host Ryan Seacrest NEVER mentioned Arthur’s absence, except to note that Graham’s appearance was extremely last minute. No “Arthur is under the weather” or “Arthur is absent due to personal issues.” The preceding examples are two explanations given by several contestants and cast members who missed episodes or bowed out of the competition this year.
UPDATE: An insider told Entertainment Weekly: “An individual with knowledge of the situation tells EW that Gunn decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to perform, so DeFranco stepped in.” Well, that’s not very illuminating.
Graham’s participation was UNBELIEVABLY LAST MINUTE
No wonder he looked like a deer in the headlights.
According to USA Today, judge Lionel Richie said on a virtual Q&A after the show that they “don’t even know what happened.” And as for DeFranco ending up on stage with Crow, it was also a last-minute stroke of luck for the ABC competition (and DeFranco).
“He literally came to cheer,” Luke Bryan said of DeFranco during the Q&A. “He was there to support Chayce [Beckham], and we’re pulling him out of the crowd going, ‘You’re gonna sing with Sheryl Crow.’ And he’s like, ‘Hell yeah!'”
And in the end, fans were still able to enjoy a contestant duet with Crow.
American Idol uploaded a photo of Arthur & Sheryl Sunday afternoon before the finale.
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Arthur is no longer participating in the Live with Kelly & Ryan American Idol Encore contest
Adding to the mystery: Arthur is conspicuously missing from the Live with Kelly & Ryan American Idol encore competition. The winner, Chayce Beckham and runner-up, Willie Spence, automatically nab performance spots on Live. The remaining Top 10 vie for a third performance spot via an online contest. Alyssa Wray, Casey Bishop Cassandra Coleman, DeShawn Goncalves, Grace Kinstler and Hunter Metts are all on the ballot. Also not on the ballot is Caleb Kennedy after American Idol disqualified him recently.
Arthur has not spoken out on social media
So what happened to Arthur? If he were ill or had a personal problem, Ryan would have mentioned it and wished him well, right? As of Monday (May 24) afternoon, Arthur has not spoken out on social media.
Could he have gotten cold feet after the heavy backlash to his presence on the show? Regardless, he travelled to Los Angeles to record a winners single with the rest of Top 6. After 19 Records released it, he promoted the song. On Friday, the group dropped music videos. He was set for a superchat on Youtube, which he may or may not have joined.
His last post, two days ago is an uncharacteristic glamor shot, with no commentary.
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American Idol season 20 absences, dropouts, disqualifications
American Idol 2021 contestants who dropped out: Benson Boone quit, reportedly after he made the Top 24, Wyatt Pike withdrew on the cusp of making the Top 12, Caleb Kennedy was disqualified after a racist video surfaced on social media. Don’t forget that Lionel Richie had to Zoom in from home during the Showstopper episode due to a possible COVID exposure. And then OG Idol judge Paula Abdul stepped in for Luke Bryan who tested positive for COVID for real.
That’s a lot!