‘American Idol': Grace Leer Wins America’s Vote to Round Out Top 20
Amid the many and varied concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic was the perhaps not quite as urgent as some other issues, but still top of mind for reality-show fans, question: Would American Idol be able to continue in this new age of social distancing?
The producers of the show, admittedly, were thrown quite the challenge. Last week was meant to be the start of Season 18's competitive live episodes, but that was put on hasty hold, with a "behind the scenes" clip show buying the series a bit of time to figure out what to do. (A surprising benefit of this: We did get a glimpse at popular underdog Doug Kiker's remarkable new dental makeover.)
Following that, the announcement was handed down that the show would go on, remotely broadcast from the judges’ and contestants’ homes as they socially distance and quarantine in accordance with the current "new normal." How this will play out? Nobody knows yet (it's called "new normal" for a reason). AI bought a little more time on Sunday (Apr. 19) by airing a second two-hour clip show giving backstory on standout contestants.
All fine and well, but the one question that was on pretty much every viewer's mind was left over from two weeks ago, when two contestants—who are real-life friends—were told that they were up for America's vote for the final slot in the top 20.
Host Ryan Seacrest set the stage right away, intoning that this would be the night "When we find out together who rounds out your top 20. Will it be Grace Leer with her classic country sound? Or Lauren Mascitti, with a penchant for songwriting?"
Truth be told, it was a hard decision for the judges' panel, so no doubt it was tough on America as well. As judge Katy Perry said simply, "We love you both." Leer's song choice went a bit out of the country realm with a rootsy, sexy, soulful "Natural Woman," which had Bryan noting that she "checked all the boxes." Meanwhile, Mascitti swerved more country with "Two More Bottles of Wine" by Emmylou Harris.
The two women responded with appropriate fluttery exclamations. "Oh, my gosh! What? This is insane. I don't know how America's even gonna decide. We thought it was up to the judges. Now it's up to America!"
By the time Seacrest flashed remotely onto the isolating contestants (in California and Tennessee, respectively) at the very end of the broadcast, everyone was more than ready to know who was rounding out the top 20.
After both women admitted, to no surprise, that they were nervous, Seacrest revealed that Leer would be moving on. Leer accepted a huge hug from her mother, but was quick to give credit to her rival and friend. "Lauren, I love you," she cried out.
"I love you, too. Congratulations, girl," replied Mascitti.
That settled, Seacrest told viewers: "Next Sunday, get ready to do it all again as our top 20 perform for your votes. We are determined to stay on the air from home in the safest possible way. We're gonna be coming to you from 25 different locations all across the country, and we even have a person in Canada."
Viewers will get a special treat as they are allowed inside both the contestants and the judges' own homes, to have a unique glimpse at everyone's personal life. History is truly in the making!
American Idol airs (now from home) on Sundays at 8 PM ET.
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