'American Idol' host Ryan Seacrest announces huge Season 19 twist: "It's the biggest shakeup in 'Idol' history!"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/13/2021
American Idol has announced a huge Season 19 twist that will definitely shake things up going forward!
On Monday night's episode of American Idol in which Season 19's Top 12 singers were determined, host Ryan Seacrest made a surprising and unprecedented announcement about one hour through the two-hour broadcast.
"We have some huge news to share about our incredible two-night Idol event next week. First, on Sunday, your Top 12 becomes 9 as you vote in real-time for the first time this season," Ryan shared, referring to the upcoming April 18 broadcast.
"And then on Monday, [April 19], it's the biggest shakeup in Idol history."
Ryan went on to reveal, "Since they didn't get their moment last year, we're inviting 10 finalists back from last season to finally perform on the big stage!"
Last year's American Idol contestants were restricted to performing in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine and social-distancing regulations that were put into place.
But that's not all.
After last season's group of finalists sing live for home viewers, America will "get to vote one of them into this season's competition," according to Ryan.
Ryan said the new twist will "bring us the most unique Top 10 we have ever had."
"You have the power and you get to do it! It's going to be exciting," the show's longtime host concluded.
It's therefore possible a finalist from Season 18 of American Idol in 2020 could come back and win it all.
Last year's Idol Top 11 included Julia Gargano, a 21-year-old college student from Staten Island, NY; Arthur Gunn, a 21-year-old musician from Wichita, KS; Dillon James, a 26-year-old construction worker from Bakersfield, CA; Louis Knight, a 19-year-old pizza delivery guy from Philadelphia, PA; Grace Leer, a 28-year-old in technology sales from Nashville, TN; and Francisco Martin, a 19-year-old college student from San Francisco, CA.
The other Top 11 finalists last season were Makayla Phillips, a 17-year-old high school student from Temecula, CA; Just Sam, a 21-year-old subway singer from Harlem, NY; Sophia Wackerman, a 20-year-old college student from Long Beach, CA, who decided to call herself Sophia James during the season; Jovin Webb, a 29-year-old musician from Gonzales, LA; and Jonny West, a 23-year-old piano teacher from Murietta, CA.
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Just Sam ultimately won the American Idol competition for Season 18.
"I'm sad to say I won't be a part of tonight's first live @AmericanIdol show," Luke tweeted on Monday, hours before the show.
The country star added, "I tested positive for COVID but I'm doing well and look forward to being back at it soon."
And ABC wrote on its official Instagram account, "Luke will be missed at our first #AmericanIdol LIVE show tonight, but he is resting now in quarantine at home and we're wishing him a speedy recovery."
Luke has served as a judge on American Idol since ABC revived the reality singing competition series in 2018.
Paula joined Season 19 judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie on the panel and watched the Top 16 singers perform, six of whom had to fight for only two Judges' Saves to make the Top 12.
Paula's presence was a trip down memory lane for herself and Ryan given she had sat on the judging panel as an original American Idol judge next to Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson when the series premiered its first season, which was hosted by Ryan, in 2002 on Fox.
Paula critiqued singing hopefuls for eight American Idol editions through 2009.