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American Idol Red Wine Recap: We finally have our Top 20 … er, 21!

Lauren Mascitti and Grace Leer together
Idol country gals Lauren Mascitti and Grace Leer make Idol’s Top 20 … er, 21. It’s down to America’s Vote! Pic credit: ABC

Monsters & Critics columnist Liz Long recaps American Idol Season 18, Episode 10, with a little help from a glass of pinot (or two)…

Greeting, my Idol-Addicts! After a week off, we are back to recap Part 2 of the Final Judgment in Hawaii, and we now have our Top 20–I mean 21…

Those indecisive judges couldn’t decide between country gals Grace Leer and Lauren Mascitti, and so it’s up to America to finalize the Top 20.

Honestly, I can’t choose myself.

I do lean slightly more toward Lauren because of her rockin’ rendition of Emmylou Harris’s “Two More Bottles of Wine.”

And, because I want two more bottles of wine, and because I like her nanna, who sang along to “Two More Bottles of Wine” …

Lauren Mancitti's nanna dances and sings
Lauren’s Nanna needs a Top 20 slot. Pic credit: Giphy

Now, without further adieu, let’s recap the rest, shall we? I will just go ahead and say, however, that I agreed with most of the judges’ decisions tonight, with one big ol’ exception! (*Cough Shannon Gibbons!*)

Dillon James is Just Happy for Life (and Top 20)

Idol 2020 Dillon James is tearful and happy
Dillon James is just so grateful for life, new friends, and making Idol Top 20. Pic credit: ABC

As predicted in the last recap, Dillon James enters our Top 20.

What’s great about this guy is his gratitude. He is just happy to be alive and have “real friends.” Now THAT, my friends, is precious.

We like you, Sir James. And we’re happy you’re here. Don’t you just feel the love?

Speaking of love …

Sophia Wackerman (Star) Shows Sweet and Sassy Sides

Sophia and her brother sitting and smiling at each other
Sophia Wackerman (Star) and brother James are possibly even cuter than Lauren’s Nanna. Pic credit: ABC

The interaction between Sophia and her brother is enough to want to propel this girl into the Top 20. I loved, especially, when she said, “my successes are his successes.”

From aw, so sweet to shake that hair girl sex kitten … Katy’s face says it all:

Sophia flips her hair and Katy looks shocked
Sophia Wackerman is like an onion, full of layers. Pic credit: Giphy

I like it when contestants aren’t afraid to show new sides to them (Just Sam last week, anyone?).

But apparently, as Katie revealed private judges’ discussions, we learned Uncle Richie and Luke weren’t quite feeling it. Katy must have championed her because she’s now Top 20.

You go Katy (and Sophia!). Oh, to have been a fly on that wall…

Genavieve Linkowski is a Shocking Exit

One person not feeling the love was our little beauty, Genavieve Linkowski.

Genevieve Linkowski on Idol singing
Genevieve Linkowski falls a little short of Idol Top 20… again. At least she looks good! Pic credit: ABC

I’ll admit, I was a bit shocked the judges sent her home given she sounded the best she ever has, and she has that “total package” look.

I mean, how about them brows!?

But I agree with Katy. She could use a bit more growth outside of Idol. Ultimately, her elimination renewed my faith in the judges that they’re not going on looks alone.

You gotta have the chops to back it up.

GREAT fringe jumper, though, Gen. See you next season for a “third time’s a charm” try?

Julia Gargano is a “Definite Yes”

Julia Gargano pointing up saying she always does that
Julia Gargano’s self-deprecation is endearing. Pic credit: ABC

I didn’t realize how much I liked this girl until now, guys. I mean, I’ve always kinda enjoyed her, with her original songs and all, but tonight, she showed an attitude of not taking herself so seriously, yet still had a maturity about her.

Stating that she has only two moves on stage — pointing to the sky or holding her chest — I couldn’t help but watch for these moves when she performed Pink’s “Glitter in the Air.”

And she was right!

Julia Gargano pointing up while singing
I’ll be counting every time now because I’m weird like that. Pic credit: Giphy

Though a little hoarse, the judges called her a frontrunner, and, well, I suddenly agree!

Cheers to a premature “Top 5” ringing (almost) true.

Franklin Boone Makes it for Daughter Zoe

Franklin Boone smiles with his family
Franklin Boone’s daughter, Zoe, is also too cute. (Pictured here without the massive headphones). Pic credit: ABC

We have our first baby with massive headphones of the season, folks! Gets me every time for some reason.

Seriously guys, was it just me, or did you like Franklin’s version of “Daughters” better than John Mayer’s?

I also loved Lionel’s spot-on critique of the uber-talented, yet humble music teacher: “Give yourself permission to have an attitude now.”

Hmmmm… maybe he could borrow some “showmanship” from Robert Taylor.

Robert Taylor is One Falsetto Too Much

Robert Taylor sings to the audience
Robert Taylor takes it one falsetto too far. Pic credit: ABC

I have been having trouble with Robert Taylor’s falsettos since about three episodes ago, yet the judges kept with it, likely because of Robert’s loveable personality (and hey, he does have a good voice… when not doing the falsetto/scream).

Sporting some Milli Vanilli platinum braids, he sings an Elton John song I’ve actually never heard of, “Take Me to the Pilot,” and it goes waaaaay off the runway, guys.

Katy’s like, “uh oh, he’s doing that thing again.”

If, by “thing,” you mean that mating call of the wild, then, yes, Katy. I agree with you. We love you, Robert. Just baritone-style.

Kimmy Gabriela is Not Enough… Or Is She?

Kimmy Gabriela's dad Gambino kissing her on the cheek
Kimmy Gabriela gets some love from pops, Gambino. Pic credit: ABC

Gambino. Now there’s a name I remember. Kimmy Gabriela? Not so much.

Gambino is apparently a famous musician, and I’d say with a name like that and sunglasses like those, you’d have to be. Now Kimmy just needs to borrow some of that memorability from her pops to go along with the chops.

Because she’s got em.’ In spades.

She also has some really long blue fingernails that I can’t help but notice. (Actually, I noticed a lot of fingernail styles tonight … just me?)

Kimmy is through. But not without a talkin’ to by Ms. Perry and her sudden country accent.

Shannon Gibbons Goes Home. Nooooo!!! Why??

Shannon Gibbons singing
Sending my love to you, Shannon. Pic credit: ABC

Send my love to my little Sha-an-non. Treat her be-eh-eh-ter. See what I tried doing there, guys? (Okay, read it again and think of that Adele tune in your head.)

I won’t rant too long here except to say I think Shannon was robbed.

She has one of THE best voices and is full of Joss-Stone funk mixed with a little Crystal Bowersox of seasons’ past cool. I’ll admit the Adele song might not have been the right choice (it wasn’t that strong on the chorus).

But dang. That one hurt.

‘Divas’ Makayla, Cyniah, Lauren Spencer-Smith, and Olivia Make Top 20

Makayla Phillips singing
Makayla Phillips is one of the divas we saw making it from a mile away. Pic credit: ABC

After getting matching rings (yes, they’re all teenagers), the “divas” of this season bust through on stage booming with all the confidence in the world.

Makayla reminded me a bit of Aubrey O’Day tonight. Looks-wise and confidence-wise.

And Lauren Spencer-Smith isn’t one I’ve talked about too much, but it’s almost as if her new high pony likewise injected her with some confidence.

And then you have Olivia in her trench coat/turned yellow fringe ensemble for a Proud Mary crowd-pleaser.

I don’t have anything against these talented ladies. My heart just doesn’t pitter-patter for them like it does, with, ohhhhh, I don’t know…

Arthur Gunn Exudes Pure Light and Honors Bob Marley

Arthur Gunn sitting before Idol judges
Is this love, Arthur Gunn? Pic credit: ABC

Every time this guy speaks, I love him a little more.

Of course, the written word doesn’t do justice to his Nepal accent, but, can I just say, “One for the Rastafarian.”

At first, I thought Lionel was looney-toons when he compared Arthur to Bob Marley a while back. But now I see it. Not because he sang a Bob Marley song tonight, but because of the persona he exudes.

He is pure light. He is here to anoint us. He is a shining star. And we love him.

Stay humble, Arthur! You got this.

Aliana Rounds Out our Top 20

Aliana and her dad smiling
Aliana rounds out the Top 20. Pic credit: ABC

I haven’t paid much attention to Aliana Jester, but three points for a cool last name.

Her dad waited until the last minute to surprise her. She auditioned with a service dog in tow. And that’s about all I know about her.

At least she provides the element of the unknown… I always have kind of liked those dark horses.

And speaking of ones we don’t know much about, can we just take a moment for the wonder named Grace, who we never heard sing but kept seeing little clips of her?

Idol contestant Grace
In honor of Grace. We hardly knew ye. Pic credit: ABC

Like seriously Idol-producers?

You’re going to put someone all the way to the end here and never once even give a snippet of what her singing voice is like? I mean, I just learned her name tonight!

Ah well. To Grace!

Catch you next time, Idol-Addicts, for America’s vote … whenever that might be! In the meantime, there is a get to know the Idols more tomorrow night… which is an indication to me that ABC is desperate to fulfill this odd little stretch in any way they can.

We also have the whole Lauren/Grace results to look forward to.

I’ll be holding my breath for Listen to Your Heart.

Where you can likely catch me next if it’s not as horrendous as I’m thinking it might be… Did I seriously hear Chris Harrison use the words “life-changing” for this show?!

Or have I officially gone quarantined-crazy?

Idol airs Sunday at 8/7c on ABC (with Live Shows currently postponed). 

Liz is a reality TV junkie, reformed attorney, and mom to Kayla—an 8-year-old who is wittier than she’ll ever be. She decided to mix her... read more
Liz Long

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