“A Weird Plot Twist”: Did ‘American Idol’ Judges Break the Rules for This Returning Finalist?

The online discourse surrounding season 22 of American Idol is heating up. In Sunday’s (March 17) episode, two-time alum Alyssa Raghu accompanied roommate Julia Davo to set for the first-time contestant’s audition. Judges turned down Davo, but allowed Raghu to sing “for giggles.” Ultimately, Davo left empty-handed while her friend received her third-ever golden ticket to Hollywood.

Videos by American Songwriter

[REJECTED: 3 Stars Who Were Rejected by ‘American Idol’]

Alyssa Raghu’s Third ‘Idol’ Audition Invites Backlash

Judge Katy Perry called Raghu’s third appearance “a weird plot twist.” Online viewers were much harsher.

Some accused the 21-year-old Tucson, Arizona native of hijacking her best friend’s moment. Others were baffled that Raghu was permitted to audition again at all. The alum was among season 17’s top 8 finalists in 2018. Viewers thought a top 10 showing should bar her from ever auditioning again—and, as it turns out, so did Raghu.

“My understanding of the show is that anyone who is part of the live rounds is ineligible from ever auditioning again,” the three-time contestant said in a video posted to Instagram Monday (March 18.)

So, did Idol’s judges decide to bend the rules for Raghu? Turns out that, thanks to a rule change implemented in season 20, her return is perfectly permissible.

When Did ‘American Idol’ Change the Rules?

According to Screen Rant, Top 10 finishers were ineligible for future Idol auditions — through season 19.

However, the show changed that rule during season 20. Now the guidelines state that only winners are barred from competing again.

Therefore, Raghu is indeed eligible even after her Top 8 finish.

Alyssa Raghu Claps Back, Julia Davo Is Grateful for Support

After the episode, Raghu posted a video to her Instagram. In that video, she slammed American Idol editors for painting her as a back-stabber “for the sake of controversy and ratings.”

Raghu claimed she begged the judges to allow Davo to continue alongside her in the competition. “We felt misled in the situation together,” she said.

As for Davo, she posted an Instagram reel Tuesday (March 19) thanking viewers for the support she’d been receiving.

“And I promise this won’t be the last you see of Julia Davo,” the 20-year-old wrote in the text overlay.

Viewers poured into the comment section to offer Davo more support.

Featured image by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts’ Noche de Gala

Leave a Reply

Taylor Swift's Most Earth-Shattering Songs (Literally)

Taylor Swift’s Most Earth-Shattering Songs (Literally)