Fans Show Love for ‘American Idol’ Season 21 Singer After Surprising Return

American Idol Judges.

Heavy/ABC Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry, Noah Cyrus and Luke Bryan on American Idol.

With ‘American Idol’ hitting the road for Disney’s Aulani Resort to kick off the Top 26, one contestant showed up unexpectedly after fans last saw her falling just short of qualifying following the Showstoppers round.

Paige Anne had last been seen on the wrong end of a sing-off with Megan Danielle that decided their fates in the Showstopper round. Megan was given the edge to earn her a spot in the Top 26 while the Idaho native’s journey reached the end.

That was until she made her return at the start of the Top 26 performances. Ryan Seacrest made the surprise announcement that someone had dropped out, never naming who had left the show. It was later discovered online that Beckett Rex, who had never been shown this season since he was edited out, had been the one to exit. This is when Seacrest shared the news the judges first alternate was given a second chance.

“Now recently one of the Top 26 decided to bow out of the competition,” Seacrest revealed. “So we turned to the judge’s first alternate and gave her the life-changing news. Here’s 16-year-old Paige Anne.”

A Positive Response to Paige Anne’s Return

Paige Anne.

ABCPaige Anne performs in the Top 26 on American Idol.

The announcement was one that many fans appreciated, especially after the tough break she had in the sing off against a strong singer like Megan. The two girls were tasked with singing an Adele song (“Easy On Me”) on the spot.

“I’m happy Paige Anne got invited back,” one Twitter user wrote. “She deserves another chance.”

Another tweet added, “The judges were SO wrong about Paige Ann. She was amazing when they eliminated her. Better than the one that went thru and much better than the last two guys they put through. They put her back because everyone on here couldn’t believe how wrong they were.”

The Judges See That Paige Anne Belongs

With the fans feeling redeemed, Paige Anne still had to prove herself worthy of being given this opportunity. She took the stage with Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and delivered a performance that made the judges second guess their previous decision. She also had the guidance of the former Disney Channel star’s sister, Noah Cyrus, as a mentor for this round.

Lionel Ritchie felt the arrangement was “absolutely perfecto.” Luke Bryan added that sometimes every artist needs a look and to take advantage by bringing “the goods” like she did with her Top 26 effort. Katy Perry was the most floored of the three.

“I just don’t like being wrong. Does your mom pray? Oh, she prayed real hard,” Perry remarked. “You belong here.”

The fate of Paige’s future now rests in the hands of the fans. Live voting began with this past batch of performances with the results being revealed in the next episode. The Top 26 will drop to 20 before another cut takes the field to the Top 12.

‘American Idol’ airs new episodes every Sunday and Monday night on ABC as Season 21 continues on.

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