American Idol: Sophia Wackerman Name Change, Doug Kiker’s New Teeth

(ABC/Karen Neal)

American Idol Season 18 – Meet the Top 21!

ABC is airing two American Idol season 18 clip shows titled ‘This Is Me” Both episodes, part 1 and 2, are described as “deep dives” into the lives of the Top 21.Ten artists were highlighted in episode 1 (April 12) and the remaining singers will be explored in episode 2 (April 19). Also in the second episode, the winner of the face off between Grace Leer and Lauren Mascitti will be revealed.The 10 singers highlighted on Part 1 were: Lauren Spencer-Smith, Just Sam, Jonny West, Olivia Ximines, Sophia Wackerman, Mykayla Phillips, Franklin Boone, Julia Gargano, Nick Merico and Arthur Gunn.

A few of the “joke” contestants were also included, such as Lou Dawg, the guy who didn’t recognize the judges, Sardines girl Eliza Catastrophe, patent leather booted subway singer Gilberto Rivera, and  emo guy, Hunter Gibson. Fans also got updates on hillbilly singer Zack Dobbins and Alabama garbage man, Doug Kiker who GOT NEW TEETH Y’ALL.

These poor kids. They ended up on the wrong season of American Idol. In a parallel universe, where a coronavirus pandemic didn’t halt Hollywood production, the Top 21 would have stayed in Los Angeles after arriving in March to continued the competition. Live Coast to Coast was originally scheduled to start this week with the Top 10. But crap happens. It’s terrible, but as long as everyone stays safe, it’s not a tragedy.

Anyway! Each segment featured a look at the contestants “Idol journey” so far, with commentary from family members. It’s a thing producers would have normally done during the competition. The show shot the footage. They used it! Unfortunately, there were only three unaired performances. I was hoping for maybe full, uninterrupted songs from at least a few favorites. But, alas.

Highlights from American Idol 18 This Is Me Part 1 

Watch Lauren Spencer-Smith’s unaired audition performance, “Always Remember Us This Way” by Lady Gaga, which she performed in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.

Katy Perry kept hounding Sophia Wackerman to change her name. And finally she did! But she’s not using her mom’s stagename Star, as Katy suggested. Her new stage name is Sophia James, after her beloved brother. She explains why here. 

Watch Olivia Ximines UNSEEN Hollywood Week Genre challenge performance, where she sang Adele’s “All I Ask for the judges.

Franklin Boone’s clip features TWO unseen performances! He sang an original song at Katy’s request after performing Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” At Hollywood Week Genre Challenge he sang John Mayer’s “I Don’t Trust Myself (with loving you). Watch both performances.

Julia Gargano checks in from home to gush over Brandi Carlile, who complimented her Hollywood Week performance of  “The Joke.” Earlier in the clip, she worries with mentor Bobby Bones over tackling a cover. 

Doug Kiker shows off his new teeth! The Alabama garbage man check in from home, and he cannot stop smiling. American Idol changed his life, he says. 

The episode concluded with a segment featuring the Americana singer from Nepal, Arthur Gunn. I think the producers really, really like him. In this clip, viewers meet his parents. 

American Idol Will Finish the Season with Streaming “At Home” Competition

After “This is Me” concludes on April 19, the competition picks up again.  On April 26, a “Top 20 Sing” episode airs, followed by two “Live Coast to Coast Feed” shows on May 3 and 10. The finale airs on May 17.  

All the remaining new shows will be streamed from the judges, cast and competitors’ homes to keep within coronavirus mitigation guidelines. Earlier this week, Ryan Seacrest and Luke Bryan spoke about what the “at home” episodes might look like. Check it out HERE. See the current American Idol season 18 schedule HERE.


About mj santilli 34835 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!