American Idol is one of the few shows that was able to carry on in a virtual format during the pandemic. Although the situation was not ideal for judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and host Ryan Seacrest, the show must go on… and it did. However, it wasn’t only the virtual format that made the finale episode a bit unusual. Here’s a quick recap.
Image Credit: Taste of Country
The show started off with seven finalists being cut down to five. Staten Island singer Julia Gargano and UK pizza delivery guy Louis Knight were eliminated leaving Dillon James, Jonny West, Arthur Gunn, Just Sam and Francisco Martin still standing. The remaining contestants would have the opportunity to perform twice for the finale event.
The first song the contestants would sing is one that celebrates the day when the pandemic is over. For the second song, traditionally contestants are asked to sing an original number written for them by Idol staff songwriters. However, apparently, this was not possible due to the current situation. Therefore, the performers are asked to choose a song they would like to be their first single. Here’s a rundown of how that went down.
Dillon James: James chose Eric Clapton’s ‘Change the World’ for his first number ,which got him positive feedback. For his second song, he played it safe with Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times They are a-Changing’ a song he performed on earlier episodes. Will his repeat performance hurt his chances of winning?
Francisco Martin: This 19 year old California native has been growing in confidence throughout the show and proved it in his performance of Harry Styles ‘Adore You’ and Maggie Rogers’ ‘Alaska’.
Just Sam: This Idol favorite didn’t disappoint when she performed Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’ and Andra Day’s ‘Rise Up’.
Arthur Gunn: This contestant upped the game with his performances of Gavin DeGraw’s ‘I Don’t Want to Be’ and Creedence Clearwater Revivals’ ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain’.
Jonny West: This was West’s first performance that didn’t feature his girlfriend and quarantine mate, Margie Mays. Is there trouble in paradise? Whatever…the contestant still managed to impress singing Bobby Purify’s 1967 soul classic “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down’ and an original called ‘Makin’ Love’.
But where the show truly gets bizarre is in the performances used to fill the space before winners are announced. Luke Bryan is on to sing his song ‘One Margarita’. After the performance, Seacrest asked Bryan to go on to explain the song’s deep meaning to which Bryan simply answers, “It’s a drinkin’ song, Ryan”.
Another bit of weirdness is Katy Perry performing her recently released single ‘Daisies’ while dodging animated household objects.
This is all capped off by a scene of recently axed Jonny West, Francisco Marin and Dillon James being shown on the screen where no says a thing. Crickets.
Cut to a close up of Seacrest looking dazed as he ponders the results. Then he finally announces Just Sam as the winner amidst out of place footage of runner up Arthur Gunn excitedly jumping up and down with his family.
Anyway, the whole thing ends with stunned winner Just Sam celebrating with her grandmother via iPad and a virtual performance of Lionel Richie singing ‘We are the World’ with various past Idol contestants.
The broadcast was followed by Idol fans chiming in on social media wondering if Seacrest is okay. Although we can’t say what accounted for the weirdness that happened on the show, no news has been released regarding his mental or physical state since the finale so we have to assume all is well.
Furthermore, it has been announced that Idol will be returning for another season. Until then, stay safe!