'American Idol' Comeback Twist: How It Will Work and Who Is Returning?

American Idol's 2021 season (Season 19) has already been full of drama, from Wyatt Pike suddenly dropping out to Paula Abdul returning to the judges' panel after Luke Bryan was diagnosed with COVID-19. The drama will continue with Monday's episode, which sees a line-up of finalists from last season competing for a second chance at the title.

The American Idol comeback twist will allow 10 of last year's top 20 contestants to perform on the Idol stage for the first time, with one of them set to win the chance to join this year's top 10 on the ABC show.

"They did so well with the remote production," American Idol showrunner Trish Kinane said of last year's contestants to Billboard, "with their mums 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."

How the American Idol comeback twist will work

american idol comeback twist
'American Idol' 2020 runner-up Arthur Gunn is among those taking part in the Season 19 comeback twist. ABC

One place in the top 10 remains empty following the three eliminations from the top 12 on April 12. This slot will be filled by one contestant from last year's Season 18.

On the Monday, April 19 edition of the show (which airs at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT on ABC), 10 contestants who made the top 20 of last year's season will get to sing on the Idol stage proper for the first time—something they did not get to do last year as coronavirus forced everyone to perform from home.

Voting for the contestant viewers want in this year's top 10 will open on that show. Though voting on Idol is usually announced on the Sunday show, there will be no Sunday show next week due to the Oscars taking its place in schedules.

Voting lines will therefore close at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, April 26, with a winner revealed the week after that on Sunday, May 2.

Who is returning for the comeback twist?

Performing on American Idol on April 19 are:

Faith Becnel

Season 18 placement: Top 20
Song performing: "Cry Baby" by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters / Janis Joplin

Franklin Boone

Season 18 placement: Top 20
Song performing: "Meant to Live" by Switchfoot

DeWayne Crocker Jr.

Season 18 placement: Top 20
Song performing: "Voice of God" by Dante Bowe featuring Steffany Gretzinger & Chandler Moore

Cyniah Elise

Season 18 placement: Top 20
Song performing: "Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)" by Miley Cyrus featuring Stevie Nicks

Arthur Gunn

Season 18 placement: 2nd
Song performing: "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls

Aliana Jester

Season 18 placement: Top 20
Song performing: "I'll Never Love Again" by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

Louis Knight

Season 18 placement: Top 7
Song performing: "Maybe That" (original song)

Nick Merico

Season 18 placement: Top 20
Song performing: "City Lights" (original song)

Makayla Phillips

Season 18 placement: Top 11
Song performing: "Anyone" by Demi Lovato

Olivia Ximines

Season 18 placement: Top 20
Song performing: "Say Yes" by Michelle Williams featuring Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland

American Idol Season 19 airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT on ABC.