Arthur Gunn Returns to the ‘American Idol’ Stage After Finishing Second in Season 18
American Idol took a stroll down memory lane during Monday night's episode (April 19), bringing back 10 of the performers eliminated during the 2020 season for another chance at stardom. One of these "Comeback" performances will round out the show's current Top 10, joining the nine Season 19 contestants voted in at the end of Sunday night's episode (April 18.)
Among the Season 18 Comeback Singers was a performer who might be a familiar face to the show's country fans: Arthur Gunn. Those who watched last season of Idol may remember Gunn as the Nepalese performer who came to America after high school and landed in Wichita, Kansas, where he picked up a love for bluegrass and country music.
During his audition, he performed Bob Dylan's "Girl From the North Country" and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," the latter of which impressed the judges so decisively that Luke Bryan offered Gunn an opening slot at a show he had coming up.
Gunn continued to dip into country and country-adjacent song choices over the course of his tenure on Season 18 of Idol, including a memorable John Denver cover of "Take Me Home, Country Roads," Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be" and not one but two reprisals of the CCR song that had wowed the judges at his initial audition.
In fact, Gunn almost made it all the way to the top: He was a runner-up, ultimately losing the competition to New York-based singer-songwriter Just Sam.
This time around on the show, however, the singer leaned into his rocker side, opting to apply his characteristic vocal gravel to "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. From the stage, he admitted he'd labored over the song choice, but he got points for his individualism from judge Katy Perry.
"Arthur, I love that you just go your own way. You're kind of like an an anarchist. You're like, 'I'm here, I'm doing my own thing,' you buck the system," Perry noted.
"You happened to strike the right chords in me. I don't know whether it's just the old-school sound or the new-school, old-school mix, but what you have is the artist at hand," Lionel Richie elaborated. "...I say to people every day, 'You can sing a song, but can you be a stylist?' You are definitely a stylist.
Bryan added that one of Gunn's strengths is his ability to grab audience attention without trying too hard to "overhype" himself. "You can simply walk out -- and it's understated, but it's so wonderfully overstated, too. I love hearing your voice on this stage again, love seeing you up there," he said.
The comeback performances will be fan-voted, meaning that viewers will have the final say whether or not Gunn makes it into this season's Top 10. The results of tonight's episode will be revealed on May 2, when American Idol will head to Walt Disney World for its "Disney Night" episode.
American Idol airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8PM ET on ABC.
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