AMERICAN IDOL - "217" - The journey to find the next superstar continues as the remaining five Idol hopefuls leave it all on the stage, singing their hearts out to win America's vote and land themselves a spot in the coveted "American Idol" season finale. In this episode, each contestant will perform three songs: a pick from in-house mentor, Bobby Bones; a song dedicated to their heroes in honor of Mother's Day; and a selection from Elton John's world-renowned catalog. To help prepare for this week's theme, contestants will be the first to watch the highly anticipated feature film "Rocketman," an epic musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Elton John's breakthrough years. The jam-packed Idol episode airs SUNDAY, MAY 12 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT/5:00-7:01 p.m. PDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) LUKE BRYAN, KATY PERRY, LIONEL RICHIE
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

‘American Idol’ notes: show is back in 2020 but what about the judges?  Also - Sunday finale details, Adam Lambert, who will win?

Originally posted Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

“American Idol” is returning in 2020 but ABC spent a boatload of money for Katy Perry and Ryan Seacrest and to a lesser extent, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. So there is hardly a guarantee the judges will be back. 

Deadline.com said the network and the judges are “thought to be far apart.”

ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke told Deadline that she is “hopeful” of signing the trio back up and would renew conversations after Sunday’s season two finale.

Seacrest is such a team player, I’m sure he’ll take a pay cut if the judges aren’t paid more than him. (The outsized $25 million a year payout to Perry made negotiations with Seacrest more difficult last year.)

To me, none of the judges are crucial to the show. They did a good job in my mind finding talent but they aren’t the most compelling trio. (I loved Keith Urban, J. Lo and Harry Connick Jr. the most though the original three of Simon, Randy and Paula will always bring me warm memories.)

ABC is going to try to trim costs for sure. While relatively successful, it’s hardly the barn burner it used to be. The show peaked at 30 million average viewers a week season five. In its 17th season, it’s down to about 8.9 million viewers (Live+7) in Nielsen ratings on Sundays and 8.3 million on Mondays. 

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AMERICAN IDOL - "217" - The journey to find the next superstar continues as the remaining five Idol hopefuls leave it all on the stage, singing their hearts out to win America's vote and land themselves a spot in the coveted "American Idol" season finale. In this episode, each contestant will perform three songs: a pick from in-house mentor, Bobby Bones; a song dedicated to their heroes in honor of Mother's Day; and a selection from Elton John's world-renowned catalog. To help prepare for this week's theme, contestants will be the first to watch the highly anticipated feature film "Rocketman," an epic musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Elton John's breakthrough years. The jam-packed Idol episode airs SUNDAY, MAY 12 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT/5:00-7:01 p.m. PDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) RYAN SEACREST, ALEJANDRO ARANDA, MADISON VANDENBURG, LAINE HARDY
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

This is how I think the final three will play out Sunday:

1- Alejandro Aranda. The man is different and “Idol” has never crowned anyone like him. And his fan base seems relatively rabid. So there’s no doubt he will have a chance for a solid career given that he’s fully formed as an artist already. 

2- Laine Hardy. He’s got the looks, the charisma and the youth to win. He could use a little grit that life will bring him to become a true artist. But what he has now might be enough for the win.

3- Madison Vandenburg. She is so young with a bright future ahead of her if she keeps her head on straight. But she isn’t quite ready for the crown. She needs more percolating. 

The poll I posted on Sunday shows Laine is favored to win among my readers, at least but Alejandro is not far behind. 

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Adam Lambert’s new single “New Eyes” is out. He will perform the song during the finale Sunday. It’s super cool, sort of EDM, sort of pop, very Adam. He will also sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Dimitrius Graham

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Other details for Sunday’s finale:
Carrie Underwood will join in, singing he rnew single “Southbound.”

Country singer Jon Pardi will sing a medley of “Night Shift” and “Dirt On my Boots” with Laine

Kool & the Gang will join Uche for a medley of “Ladie’s Night,” “Hollywood Swingin’ “ and “Celebration.”

Country duo Dan+Shay will sing “All To Myself” and “Speechless” with Madison

Country singer Kane Brown will duet “Good As You” and “Lost in the Middle of Nowhere” with Alyssa Raghu

Weezer joins Walker Burroughs and Wade Cota for a medley of “Africa,” “Take On Me” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

No word if Alejandro gets a celebrity duet.

Montell Jordan will sing “This is How We Do It” with some of the non-finalists such as Margie Mays and  Austin Michael Robinson.

Luke will sing “Knockin’ Boots” and “Every Breath You Take” with Laci Kaye Booth.

Katy will duet “Unconditionally” with Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon.

And Lionel joins the entire top 10 for “Dancing on the Ceiling.”

Blind contestant Shayy returns to sing “Rise Up.”

Maddie Poppe is going to pop by to promote her new album, out May 17. 

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Chart check from Mediabase 24/7

Danny Gokey Christian AC #4 “Haven’t Seen It Yet” (still rising)

Carrie Underwood Country #34 “Southbound” (still rising)

Laura Alaina Country #39 “Ladies in the ‘90s” (peaked at #34)

Kelly Clarkson Hot AC #16 “Broken & Beautiful” (still rising)

Maddie Poppe Hot AC #41 “Made You Miss” (still rising)

Fantasia Urban AC #24 “Enough” (still rising)

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After Kelly Clarkson won the past two seasons on “The Voice” with her picks, she is shut out of the finals this year. None of her picks made the final four, who will compete for the win next week. Blake Shelton has three of the four finalists with John Legend holding the final slot.

According to USA Today: 

Team John Legend's Maelyn Jarmon was the first singer to advance to the finals. For the second week in a row, the Texas native was the most streamed "Voice" artist overnight on Apple Music, with her performance of Rihanna's "Stay." 

Former top 10 “American Idol” contestant and Shelton team member Dexter Roberts (seventh place season 14) is in the final four on “The Voice” as well. Shelton's Gyth Rigdon did a nice job of pandering by singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” and also landed in the final four.

The Instant Save went to country singer Andrew Sevener

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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