‘American Idol’ Season 19: How Does the Second Chance Twist Work?

American Idol Schedule

ABC/Eric McCandless

ABC’s American Idol is set to debut the biggest twist in show history, bringing back past contestants for a chance to compete in the current season of the show as a type of second chance.

According to the episode synopsis for the episode airing on April 19, 2021 titled “The Comeback,” there will be ten finalists from previous seasons who will sing for America’s vote.

Only one of the contestants will ultimately return to the competition and merge with the top 9 from season 19.

Which Contestants Are Returning?

Ten contestants will be returning and competing on the American Idol stage in hopes of taking home the title of American Idol this time around.

Here are the contestants you can expect to see again and what they will be performing at the show, according to Billboard:

Faith Becnel: “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin
Franklin Boone: “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot
DeWayne Crocker, Jr.: “Voice of God” by Dante Bowe featuring Steffany Gretzinger and Chandler Moore
Arthur Gunn: “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls
Cyniah Elise: “Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)” by Miley Cyrus featuring Stevie Nicks
Aliana Jester: “I’ll Never Love Again” by Lady Gaga
Louis Knight: “Maybe That” by Louis Knight
Nick Merico: “City Lights” by Nick Merico
Makayla Phillips: “Anyone” by Demi Lovato
Olivia Ximines: “Say Yes” by Michelle Williams featuring Beyonce and Kelly Rowland

Some notable names from season 18 were missing from this list. There were a few contestants who were ineligible to come back; season 18 winner Just Sam was not asked back because she already won the show. Dillon James and Francisco Martin were not asked to return because they have both already signed record deals, making them ineligible to compete on American Idol. 

Voting Will Last For One Week

With only one spot open for the ten contestants, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Luckily, they will have more than enough chances to rally their fans to vote for them. Many of the contestants have large followings on social media, meaning this will likely be one of the highest-vote counts of the season.

Voting will end on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time.

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 that the contestants from season 18 did so well with the remote aspect of the production, which was all they could do because of the global coronavirus pandemic, that they wanted to give those contestants a chance to shine on the huge American Idol stage.

American Idol airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on ABC.

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