Which Returning ‘American Idol’ Contestant Will Earn Their Way Back on the Show?

American-Idol-Arthur-Gunn-Louis-Knight-Makayla-Phillips-Nick-MericoABC/Eric McCandless

American Idol announced a shocking twist to shake up the format of the show this season. Ten Season 18 contestants will return to try and earn their place back on the show. The catch is, they are all vying for one spot in Season 19’s Top 10.

‘American Idol’ Brings Back Season 18 Contestants

American Idol has never done a twist like this before. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the live shows of Season 18 to go completely virtual, the producers felt it was only fair to give some of them a second shot at performing live.

The returning contestants will perform on Monday and their song choices are as follows:

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

Who Will be the Frontrunners Among ‘American Idol’s Season 18 Returnees?

Looking at this list of contestants, there are certainly a few names that stand out. Louis Knight had an incredible run on Season 18 and even ended up making it to the Top 7.

He will be performing his original song “Maybe That” as he fights to earn his way back onto the show. We fully expect Knight to be one of the top performers and vote-getters in this pool of contestants.


Nick Merico has also had an interesting American Idol journey. He withdrew from the competition in Season 17 and returned the following year which rubbed Lionel Richie the wrong way.

He had a bit of a redemption arc in Season 18 but was eliminated in the top 20. While Merico has a whopping 221,000 Instagram followers, we have seen a number of contestants with huge social media followings go home this season. He is also performing an awesome original song.

Obviously, we have to make a case for Heidi Klum’s ‘AGT’ Golden Buzzer Makayla Phillips. She is besties with ‘AGT’ winner Kodi Lee. If Lee posts in support of Phillips, that may earn her more votes. Her voice is seriously spectacular and she was eliminated way too early last season. Taking on another Demi Lovato hit is a smart choice that will pay off for her.

Which Returning Contestant Will Earn a Spot in This Season’s Top 10?

Though Knight, Phillips, and Merico all have major social media followings and stunning musical talents, there is one person that will most likely best them all.

Arthur Gunn is a name that you can hear and instantly imagine the groundbreaking performance he will put on. The fact that he was the runner-up last season sparked a lot of outrage because many felt he was robbed.

This comeback is his to win. His fanbase spans throughout America and all over the world. The Nepali singer is humble, likable, and always manages to choose the perfect song to sing. At the end of Season 18, Gunn grew into his own and displayed the confidence that it takes to be the next American Idol. Now, he finally has his second shot, and will certainly not let it go to waste.

Will Gunn earn a spot in the Season 19 Top 10? If he doesn’t we would be very surprised.


Due to the upcoming Academy Awards, American Idol will not air on Sunday, April 25, so voting for which Season 18 contestant will return to the competition is going to close at 6 a.m. ET on Monday, April 26. 


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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