Fans Love Madison Watkins, but Here’s Why Graham DeFranco Deserved the Save

Madison-Watkins-Graham-DeFranco-American-Idol-BeaneABC/Eric McCandless

Madison Watkins had a big night during the first live episode of American Idol this season. After Ryan Seacrest revealed that she did not earn enough votes to automatically advance to the Top 12, she sang to earn one of the judge’s saves. The 25-year-old hair model, along with fellow contestant Beane, were saved by the judges to move on to the Top 12, ending the show for Graham DeFranco, and two others.

Fans are Mad That Madison Watkins Had to Sing for Her Life on ‘Idol’

Watkins has built up a huge fanbase over the years with 118,000 Instagram followers. The 25-year-old previously competed on ‘AGT‘ in 2016. Her audition was not shown on television as she was eliminated during the Judge’s Cuts. American Idol is a second chance for her to reach stardom.


On Sunday night, Watkins performed “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles. Katy Perry was shocked by this performance because Watkins showed off a more “serious side.”

Despite receiving rave reviews from the judges, she still ended up fighting for the judge’s save. Fans were not happy that she was put in this position and her “Hotline Bling” performance saved her.

“Madison had no business being in a position to fight glad Lionel saved her,” one fan wrote in a YouTube comment. “Madison is one of the best in the competition and I think she has a chance to win the whole thing. She has so much energy and I loved how supportive she was of the other performers when they were performing. I can tell she loves music and I hope she gets to the Finals.”

“I can’t believe she’s vying for the judges’ save after performing the best last night,” wrote another.

“Seriously why does she have to fight to stay?? She is one of the best !!!” another viewer wrote.

While it is true that Watkins is a professional and is a great mentor for some of the younger contestants, her performances usually lack a bit of consistency. It may just be nerves, but her shaky vocals during some performances are hard to miss.

Did Another Contestant Deserve the Judge’s Save?

Some viewers might not agree that the two most deserving contestants received the judge’s saves. DeFranco was a major dark horse in the competition and was consistent every single week.

On Sunday night, his rendition of  “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra was one of the best vocal performances this season.

Then, on Monday it was revealed that he did not receive enough votes to go straight into the Top 12. Instead, he sang for his life with “Cover Me Up” by Jason Isbell.

We even mentioned DeFranco as one of the dark horses of the season in multiple recap shows. It seemed like the judges were all impressed with him and how humble he is.

Seacrest announced at the beginning of the show that some of the contestant’s results were only separated by 900 votes. After DeFranco performed, Perry said that he may have been one of the contestants who landed in the bottom by just a few votes.


The judges truly shocked us when they let DeFranco go.

Many fans took to the comments section on YouTube to say that he was “robbed.” But DeFranco is so much bigger than just American Idol. His smooth tone and killer personality will take him very far despite what the judges may think.


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube with a previous byline at The Blast. She 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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