ABC’s “American Idol” featured what was dubbed the biggest twist in the show’s 19-season history, the Comeback episode. The episode featured ten contestants from season 18 coming back for another chance at getting to the finale.
The twist was originally designed so the contestants that were in the top 20 of season 18 would have a chance to get onto the “American Idol” stage and perform in-person with the backings of a big band. They also got to experience the entire hair, makeup, and wardrobe part of the show for the first time.
Comeback contestants from season 18 were Nick Merico, Arthur Gunn, Aliana Jester, Faith Becnel, Louis Knight, DeWayne Crocker, Jr., Cyniah Elise, Franklin Boone, Makayla Phillips and Olivia Ximines.
Some Fans Think the Twist Is Unfair
I’m sorry but in what competition is it fair to give the runner up a second chance on the following season? And they get to bypass all the competition and automatically get to go to the Top 10? Not a fan of this “twist”…Seems a bit rigged! #AmericanIdol
— Del (@DelsTweeting) April 20, 2021
Fans have had mixed reactions to the episode, but many expressed that they believed it was unfair, and some even thought that it was ruining the new season of the show.
One fan wrote, “Not sure who’s idea it was for the comebackers but it was a terrible decision! Perhaps one performance was as good as this year’s final 12!”
“Reading a lot about people thinking the #americanidol twist is unfair. I completely agree but if you actually think this you better not have voted for a comeback. Especially Arthur Gunn. No first runner up should have been allowed to do this,” one account tweeted.
Another tweeted, “Ok am I the only one who has a problem with this ‘comeback’ twist? #1 I don’t feel like it was disclosed at the beginning, or at least I don’t remember if it was.”
“I’m sorry but in what competition is it fair to give the runner up a second chance the following season? And they get to bypass all the competition and automatically get to the top 10? Not a fan of this ‘twist’… seems a bit rigged! #AmericanIdol,” another user tweeted.
The twist has been criticized since before the show featuring the contestants aired. After Seacrest announced the second chance twist, fans of the show took to Twitter to express their frustration with the idea.
“I am not a fan of the bringing someone back from last season twist, I just don’t see the point. Why take away someone’s spot from this season & then last season’s contestants just skip the whole contest this year… makes no sense,” one user wrote.
Another agreed, writing, “So this #AmericanIdol twist might actually be worse than #Survivor’s [Edge of Extinction] twist and that is bad!!! Why would you give someone from last season a second chance? Talking to you @katyperry.”
Executives Say the Twist Gave Season 18 Contestants The True ‘American Idol’ Experience
According to executive producer and showrunner Trish Kahane’s interview with Billboard, the executives wanted to give the former contestants a new chance.
“We pivoted pretty quickly to remote production last year because we had to,” Kahane told Billboard. “When it became apparent that things were going to be a bit better this year and that we were going to be able to return to the Television City studio with the big lights, we thought about last year’s contestants.”
She added, “They did so well with the remote production, with their moms and dads helping them and their brothers and sisters holding iPhones and ring lights, but they never had the proper Idol experience. Some people really come alive on that big stage. We thought they deserved to have that experience.”
“American Idol” airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. The show is currently on hiatus and will return on Sunday, May 2.