faith becnel

In an 'American Idol' twist, Louisiana singer Faith Becnel, who competed in 2020, will return to the show Monday night and could become a finalist for the current season.

When Baton Rouge native and former "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson called in to the show on Monday night, it was just the start of Louisiana's infusion into the ABC reality singing competition series this season.

Jackson said he was "just home watching the show" and Facetimed in for a quick chat with old buddies Ryan Seacrest, host, and fellow former judge Paula Abdul, who was filling in for judge Luke Bryan, in quarantine after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

During the same episode, "Idol" also revealed yet another of its "twists": 10 finalists from the 2020 season, including New Orleans' Faith Becnel, will return to sing for America's vote on the Monday, April 19 episode titled "The Comeback."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all performances last season were virtual, so this will be the 10 "Idol" alumni's debut on the actual "Idol" stage in Los Angeles.

"After a week-long vote, only one will remain in the competition this season, rounding out the top 10," according to an ABC news release.

Two more familiar "Idol" faces from Louisiana will be guest performers on "The Comeback" episode, Billboard reported Wednesday.

Former judge and mentor Harry Connick Jr. will sing a medley from his new album, "Alone with My Faith," which he recorded during the pandemic. Christian music singer Lauren Daigle will perform her 2019 hit, "Look Up Child."

New Orleans native Connick Jr. mentored contestants on "Idol" in 2010 and 2012, and sat on the judge's panel from 2013 to 2016, "Idol's" 15th and final season on FOX.

Daigle, who considers Lafayette her hometown, competed as a contestant in 2010 and 2012, neither time cracking the top 10. Despite that, her career took off. She returned as a mentor in 2019, coaching Louisiana's Laine Hardy, who went on to win Season 17. 

Could country singer Hardy be the next Louisiana product to make an "Idol" homecoming?

"American Idol" airs at 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday on ABC.


Email Judy Bergeron at jbergeron@theadvocate.com.