The COVID-19 pandemic made Season 18 of American Idol look a lot different than it typically would, with players giving their performances over video call instead of on the big stage. It was an experience unlike any season we've seen before, to say the least, but the producers know that without the option to take the stage, some performers weren't able to give as good of a performance as they might've without the filming restrictions.
“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,” executive producer and showrunner Trish Kinane told Billboard.
“They did so well with the remote production, with their moms and dads helping them and their brothers and sisters holding iPhones and ring lights, but they never had the proper Idol experience. Some people really come alive on that big stage. We thought they deserved to have that experience."
From the previous season, 10 contestants will return to perform and compete for a spot in the Top 10 this season.
Here's who you can expect to see take the stage to compete for that Top 10 spot.
Since being voted off American Idol, Faith has wasted no time making the most of her platform. She's been putting out music as quickly as she can, releasing her debut single "Shhh" in May 2020. She also put out a Christmas single, "The Christmas Song," in December. Faith will be performing "Cry Baby" by Janis Joplin for her Comeback performance. You can follow her on Instagram @faithbecnel.
While Franklin made it to the Top 20, he was eliminated in the final round before the Top 10 were chosen, though he'll be back with a performance of "Meant to Live" by Switchfoot for the Comeback round. Since leaving the show, he's put out a cover of the Christian song "Joy to the World" and continued to record music. You can find him on Instagram @franklinboonemusic.
DeWayne Crocker Jr.
DeWayne hasn't been terribly active on social media since leaving American Idol, though when he does post, it's about his faith and the music he's working on. He's also been doing some charity work, donating to organizations like NAACP for his birthday. You can follow DeWayne for updates ahead of his Comeback performance of "Voice of God" by Dante Bowe @singdewayne on Instagram.
At only 18, Cyniah has been busy with her music. She put out her first single, "Last Chance," following her departure from the show and has also been very active on TikTok. During the Comeback auditions, she'll be performing "Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)" by Miley Cyrus. You can follow her on Instagram at @cyniah.elise.
Runner-up Arthur will also be returning to the Idol stage with a performance of "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. Following his departure from the show, he went on to perform at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu (his birthplace) and released an album titled "Self-Titled." You can follow Arthur at @arthur_gunn on Instagram.
Another Top 20 contestant, Aliana will return to American Idol with a performance of "I'll Never Love Again" by Lady Gaga from A Star Is Born. In the meantime, she's been making covers on her way to work and posting them to TikTok. You can follow her on Instagram (and TikTok) @alianajesterofficial.
Louis has put his nose to the grindstone since being voted off of Idol, putting out six singles since he was on the show. Like the other Gen-Z contestants, he's been putting out snippets of original songs on TikTok as well. He'll be giving a performance of his original song "Maybe That" on the Idol stage. You can follow him on Instagram @louisknightmusic.
Nick's appearance in the Comeback round will be his third season on American Idol. After leaving Season 17 due to family issues, he returned for Season 18 but unfortunately didn't make it past the Top 20. He'll be performing his own original "City Lights" on stage for the Comeback round. You can find him on Instagram at @nickmerico.
Before Idol, Makayla was on America's Got Talent in 2018, and she's spent her time post-show trying to define her online image after competing on two competition shows so young. She's also been busy putting out music, and she'll be performing "Anyone" by Demi Lovato on the Idol stage. You can follow her on Instagram @makaylaphillipsmusic.
Another Top 20 contestant, Olivia will be performing "Say Yes" by Michelle Williams for her Comeback performance. Since leaving the show, she's been posting covers on social media, though she hasn't put out any original music just yet. You can follow her on Instagram at @oliviaximines.