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Warning! The following contains spoilers for the American Idol's Season 18 episode "Hawaii Showcase And Final Judgement." Read at your own risk!
American Idol completed its Hawaii rounds with this latest installment, and while there are some special episodes on the way, Sunday night marks the farthest Season 18 will progress until further notice. Knowing Season 18 is suspended due to much of the country being on lockdown, it's safe to say many fans weren't expecting any interaction with the show for tomorrow. That all changed by the episode's end, when the big twist was revealed that America would already get to vote to decide who the final Top 20 contestant would be.
For anyone hoping this meant a chance to save their favorite eliminated contestant, not so fast. Voters are only getting two options to choose from for the Top 20's final contestant: Grace Leer or Lauren Mascitti. The two country singers closed the episode, and received the news at the same time that both of their fates were in the hands of fans.
Audiences can now vote for either contestant using the American Idol app, the official website, or by texting the name "Lauren" or "Grace" to 21523. Again, voting is live now, but is set to end at 9:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, April 7.
It's quite a twist for American Idol to drop ahead of its break, especially in the wake of this quarantine period. Of course, the non-live episodes are all planned and filmed in advance of the airtimes, so producers and judges probably wouldn't have guessed what state America would be in during this big reveal. The positive here is that there's probably going to be a more active voting session given the rise in live audience numbers. The bad news, though, is that whoever ends up getting picked may have to wait quite a while to enjoy the benefits of making it into the Top 20.
While production has only been temporarily suspended on Season 18 of American Idol, there's always the question of whether or not future episodes will be produced as originally intended. The remainder of the season could be cut short, put on hold until a later date, or even outright cancelled. There is a potential scenario where none of these individual competitors get to continue on, though the word right now is that this season's delay is still only a suspension.
Beyond all that, it is weird for American Idol to put the fates of exactly two competitors in the hands of America at this point. Grace Leer and Lauren Mascitti are similar competitors with similar styles, but it's hard to deny either are worthy of the Top 20. That's more than can be said for everyone else in the Season 18 Top 20 currently, but I can understand the logic in that having two similar competitors could be problematic.