‘American Idol’s New Twist Polarizing Fans, is the Comeback Fair?

ABC/Eric McCandless

Tonight on American Idol, 10 Season 18 contestants will make their big return to the show. They are all competing for one spot in this season’s Top 10. When this twist was announced, fans of the show were not shy to share their opinions on social media, and the opinions are only getting stronger. Our writers way in: is the comeback twist fair to this season’s contestants?

Yes! Season 18 ‘American Idol’ Contestants Deserve a Second Shot

By: Samantha Agate

Despite the pushback about this year’s comeback twist, it’s hard to forget how chaotic and rushed last season of American Idol was. The auditions went off without a hitch but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the live shows to go completely virtual. We didn’t really get to know any of the Season 18 contestants on a deeper level, which made it hard to connect with them through our television screens.


Now, with ten contestants returning, we will get to see a little bit more of who they are. All of these past American Idol contestants should have the opportunity to feel the thrill of performing live on the stage for America’s votes at least once. For some of the returning contestants, this may be the biggest stage they have or will ever perform on.

The virtual performances last season were pleasant to watch, but lacked the production value of an onstage performance on the hit ABC show. Every contestant should be granted the opportunity. Now, ten of them will finally get that exciting chance.

The Twist Will Push the Season 19 Contestants More

Critics of the comeback twist feel that it might be unfair for a past contestant with an established fanbase like Arthur Gunn to come back into the competition. He is one of the best live performers in the show’s history.

One thing we learned from watching talent shows is to be the best, you have to beat the best. If the contestants of this season want to win, they have to pull out all of the stops and not hold anything back.

Odds may be in Gunn’s favor to make it into this season’s Top 10. He earned the runner-up spot last season with his dynamic performances at home. Fans of Louis Knight or Makayla Philips can always come through with the voting.

However, do not rule out the fanbases that this season’s contestants have already established. Frontrunners like Willie Spence, Casey Bishop, and Grace Kinstler all have growing fanbases of loyal voters who will take them to the end.

Live shows rely on votes and if fans want to prevent more flukes like the elimination of frontrunner Ava August, all they have to do is vote. The twist will push all of the contestants to want to make it to finale night even more. Voters will be able to see a new side of these contestants and do everything they can to ensure their favorites stay in the competition.

American Idol and show business in general are both very unpredictable. But we can’t deny these ten contestants a second chance at making all of their dreams come true.


No! Why ‘American Idol’s Comeback Show is Unfair

By: Jill O’Rourke

The Top 9 were revealed during Sunday night’s episode of American Idol. The final spot on the Top 10 will go to a contestant from Season 18. Showrunner Trish Kinane explained that this decision was inspired by last season’s remote production.

She said last year’s contestants “never had the proper Idol experience,” adding, “Some people really come alive on that big stage. We thought they deserved to have that experience.”


While it’s nice that the show wants to give last season’s contestants a chance to shine on stage, this could put the current contestants at a disadvantage. Some of last year’s singers have had months to build up a fan base — especially runner-up Arthur Gunn, whose loss outraged many viewers.

The Season 18 contestants may not have performed on a stage, but they still got the chance to show off their talent and earn America’s votes over several weeks. Contestants returning for another season isn’t unheard of, but they usually have to go through the whole process again.

Fans Aren’t Happy About This Twist

A number of fans on Twitter have complained about the show’s decision to bring contestants back for another chance. One user mentioned Season 17 winner Laine Hardy, who was a comeback artist himself.


Hardy accompanied his friend Ashton Gill on guitar for her audition, and he ended up getting a Golden Ticket from the judges for an impromptu singing performance. Still, at least he had to go through all the subsequent rounds of the competition to make it to the finale. This year’s comeback singers have a pretty good head start, even if only one of them will make it through.

One fan suggested that the Season 18 contestants should be allowed to return and perform on the big stage, without having the chance to compete in this year’s show. Maybe they could perform throughout the rest of the season to gain exposure and promote their own music, but not for a chance to win the show.

We’ll have to wait and see how far the chosen comeback singer gets in the competition. If they end up winning the entire season after only a few performances, it’s likely to cause a lot of backlash from fans of this year’s contestants.


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is the Talent Guru here at Talent Recap. Her work has been featured at The Blast. Samantha graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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