Arthur Gunn Ghosted the ‘American Idol’ Finale, and No One Knows Why
Arthur Gunn was supposed to perform a pair of songs with Sheryl Crow during the American Idol finale on Sunday night (May 23). Instead, Graham DeFranco filled in after a sequence of events that left even the judges grasping for answers.
During a post-show Q&A, Lionel Richie said he didn't know what happened. Katy Perry joked about the "very colorful season" and all the curveballs of Season 19. Luke Bryan explained how DeFranco ended up being partnered with Crow.
"He literally came to cheer," Bryan said, per USA Today. "He was there to support Chayce [Beckham], and we're pulling him out of the crowd going, 'You're gonna sing with Sheryl Crow. 'And he's like, 'Hell yeah!'"
Together, the impromptu duet partners sang Crow's hits "Everyday Is a Winding Road" and "If It Makes You Happy."
After finishing second during 2020's Season 18, Gunn was asked to return for another chance at the Idol crown during Season 19. He was one of 10 singers brought back, on the premise that the 2020 cast didn't get a real opportunity to compete due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it made fans of the ABC show angry.
Still, Gunn was selected to move on, but was eliminated the next week. Sunday night would have been a chance for him to perform during a second-straight finale, a night on which American Idol attracts its largest audience. But he dropped out, and no one knows why.
The curveballs that Perry was referring to were mostly legal issues involving contestants who were no longer part of the show. Cecil Ray Baker was arrested on April 17 and charged with burglary. Season 18 contestant Doug Kiker was arrested on misdemeanor domestic violence charges in May.
In addition, 16-year-old Season 19 Top 5 finalists Caleb Kennedy dropped out of the show after an old video of him sitting next to someone in a white hood surfaced on social media. Many thought the hood looked like those worn by Klu Klux Klan members, though the teen's mother said her son was only 12 years old at the time and he and a friend were mimicking a horror movie they'd just watched.
At the end of Sunday's show, Beckham was crowned the champion for American Idol Season 19. The show will return for a 20th season, but it's not yet clear who the judges or host will be.
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