Ryan Seacrest will host the next “American Idol” from home, using the same judges’ desk that Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul sat behind.


Spoiler alert! Contains details about Sunday’s episode of “American Idol” on ABC.

Could this be our next “American Idol?”

The ABC singing competition inched closer to the finish line in Sunday’s second-to-last episode of the season, as four contestants were eliminated and the Top 7 were revealed. Of those singers, one stood out.

Francisco Martin, the 19-year-old son of Filipino immigrants, has wowed the judges – and America – since the very start. Luke Bryan called him a “front-runner” back in February, and the San Francisco native has earned millions of views on YouTube for his performances. (His cover of Maggie Rogers’ “Alaska” even earned a shout-out from the singer on social media.)

More: ‘American Idol’: Judges save Makayla Phillips, reveal Top 11 in second stay-at-home show

Martin continued to impress during Sunday’s third stay-at-home episode, in which the Top 7 were each asked to sing one Disney song and another song dedicated to their mom (or mother figure). The college student started with a soaring, charismatic rendition of Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be in My Heart,” from Disney’s “Tarzan,” which Lionel Richie praised as a “transformation” for the humble Martin.

“You were like the king of the jungle and king of ‘American Idol,’ ” Bryan added.

The singer, who also writes original songs, then moved on to a stirring cover of Leon Bridges’ “River,” which Katy Perry applauded for its soulfulness.

“This set of Mother’s Day songs is really separating the pack, it’s showing who deserves that top position,” Perry said. “You are making it difficult for the other contestants, because that performance was so soulful and beautiful and real. It was so heartfelt what you just did.”

“I think he beat the actual record,” Bryan continued. “We have heard that song so many times that, man, from the first note, I would buy that right now, that performance.”

Richie concluded: “The thing I love the most is your confidence is front and center, you’re no longer in your head. … Congratulations, because you have a career and that’s what’s most important, and we saw it happen here on ‘American Idol.’ “

The remaining contestants:

  1. Julia Gargano, 21, Staten Island, New York
  2. Arthur Gunn, 21, Wichita, Kansas
  3. Dillon James, 26, Bakersfield, California
  4. Louis Knight, 19, Philadelphia
  5. Francisco Martin, 19, San Francisco
  6. Just Sam, 21, Harlem, New York
  7. Jonny West, 23, Murrieta, California

Next Sunday’s season finale (8 EDT/PDT) will start with two contestants being sent home based on audience votes. The remaining five singers will perform two songs, and real-time voting will determine the next American Idol.


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