Tonight, the American Idol 2021 WINNER will be revealed. Each of the Top 3–Chayce Beckham, Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence–will perform three songs: A homecoming song that prefaces clips from their recent hometown visits, Favorite Moments on the Show, which are reprises and Judges Picks.
The 3 hour extravaganza will air coast-to-coast, allowing fans all over the country to vote in real time. One contestant will be eliminated after the first two rounds, so start voting early. The winner will be crowned at the end of the show.
Questions about voting rules? Click the link below. Y’all can start voting AT THE TOP OF THE SHOW:
Willie Spence – Text 2 to 21523
Chayce Beckham – Text 5 to 21523
Grace Kinstler – Text 10 to 21523
Check out song spoilers and guest star and celeb contestants duets below. Plus, PREDICTIONS
American Idol 2021 Finale Song Spoilers – What Will The Top 3 Sing?
American Idol Finale: Murphy Returns! Celeb Contestant Duets Revealed (UPDATED 5/22!)
American Idol 2021 Finale Power List: Predict the Season 19 WINNER!
Macklemore opens the show with “Can’t Hold Us” and the Top 3 join him. The performance takes place on a rooftop somewhere. Obviously, it’s a pre-recorded performance. Even the fireworks look like they were created by CGI.
Ryan introduces the judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry. Katy is brunette tonight.
Bobby Bones is back after disappearing for weeks. The judges supposedly chose these songs for the finalists.
Grace Kinstler – All By Myself by Celine Dion
Bobby and Grace chat about how she overthinks her performances sometimes. He tells her to go out and sing for her late dad. This song is so overdone on singing shows. But then again, they’re overdone for a reason. Because people like them. She’s changing the melody up a bit, which helps. Her tone and vibrato are beautiful. She finally hits the big notes on the bridge. Eh. It’s so pageanty, this performance. I prefered the earlier, more subtle parts of the song. This would have killed in 2003. Katy picked the song for Grace. She calls it “vulnerable power.” She says “I felt you.” Lionel calls her a storyteller with a great voice. Grace tells Ryan she was a little nervous when she learned the song choice.
Willie Spence – Georgia on my Mind by Ray Charles
Willie says he lacked confidence at the beginning of his Idol journey. Losing his grandfather during the competition almost made him quit. The song is a tribute to Willie’s home state. His phrasing on the song is perfect. His delivery is conversational. Like he’s telling us all about his hometown. He sings the big notes like an open embrace of a place he loves. He sounds a little strained on the high notes, however. These kids must be tired. “I can smell magnolias” says fellow Georgian Luke Bryan. “You have delivered since you walked into the audition. Lionel calls him a “religious experience.” adding “That was a great performance. “Hallelujah, I needed my hankey!” declared Katy.
Chayce Beckham – Blackbird by The Beatles
Bobby says his strength is connecting to folks. Chayce sees himself representing blue collar people. The song is re-arranged. It’s still a folk song, but the tempo is changed a bit, with the addition of blues elements. An iconic song like this needs to be changed up, but not too radically! He’s walking that fine line pretty well here. It’s a good song choice for him. Chayce’s fans will be pleased with that performance. Lionel is standing. “You have an identifiable voice….you gave us that identity. You’re going all the way.” Saying the quiet part out loud? Katy calls him “Chayce the Ace.” Luke invites Chayce on a bass fishing trip, saying he’s earned it. After, Ryan says “That might involve some beer.” Did Ryan miss Chayce’s entire backstory about how alcohol nearly destroyed him? Wow! “That’s the point of fishing,” quips Luke. “Who cares if you’re fishing, as long as it’s icy and cold, says Ryan.” OK then. Good for Chayce, blowing the remarks off with good humor. (Watch the exchange HERE)
I think Willie won that round. His song choice fit him perfectly, and he sang the crap out of it.
Ryan insists that the voting is very close. The first elimination happens after the next round.
Hometown Songs featuring Hometown Videos
Grace Kinstler – I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston
Grace heads back to Crystal Lake Illinois. She wishes her dad could see the celebration. They visit an empty Wrigley field where Grace once sang the National Anthem. It’s empty, except for her photo up on the big screen. She and her family have a meal together. She thanks them. EVERYBODY IS CRYING. They toast Grace’s late dad, Mitch. Next, Grace visits her high school and then the Mayor of Crystal Lake declares it Grace Kinstler Day. She performs an outdoor concert in the rain. The clip ends with her reminiscing about her dad.
The performance starts a’cappella. Her middle range and wide vibrato are lovely. It might be my favorite part of her voice. It’s a very vulnerable take on the song. Then she hits the big big notes. She’ nailing those high notes. She ends the song quietly, delicately. It’s so delicate, that she sounds a little pitchy. “By the Grace of God!” Exclaims Katy. She begs fans to vote. “Vote right now for Grace!’ Luke says, “If you don’t like this show, you’re crazy.” Lionel says, “You have outdone yourself.” She admits she choked up during her clip. I wonder if being overwhelmed by emotion led to sounding off at times.
Willie Spence – A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke
Willie headed back to small town Douglas Georgia. It meant so much when the town came out to support him. First, it was Willie Spence Day. Then Gov. Kemp overroad it all and declared Willie Spence WEEK. He headed back to his school and entered the room where he recorded his viral “Diamonds” video. His mom is already crying when the limo drops him off at his childhood home. His family breaks out into a rendition of “Amen.” Willie’s got a ton of people out at the high school stadium for a concert. “This was definitely the best day of my life,” he declares.
Next, Willie delivers a simple, yet POWERFUL version of the classic civil rights anthem. Luke says it’s the best version of the song on Idol ever. “I don’t know how these kids are singing after watching those.” Lionel calls Willie inspiring. “Bathe in this moment,” he says. Katy gets choked up talking about Willie and his mom. She’s crying even more in the audience. And now Willie is crying.
Chayce Beckham – Fire Away by Chris Stapleton
Chayce talks about the horrible drunk crash he survived. It helped him hit bottom before finally getting sober. His old co-workers where he operated a forklift greet him. Next, he heads home to his mom’s house. He crashed in his old bedroom. People have told mom that Chayce is an inspiration. He heads to his elementary school where he performed his first show in his fifth grade talent show. He ends his special day with a concert. HE’S CRYING BECAUSE HE’S HAPPY! “Full circle, man,” he says.
Excellent song choice for Chayce. It’s bluesy and easy, but emotional too. The chorus allows his raspy voice to let loose. Lionel calls the song a great choice for his voice. “That grit you have is undeniable.” Katy tells him to stay the guy from Apple Valley. Luke thinks he’s opened up a lot over the course of the competition.
Willie probably won that round. But Chayce was pretty great too. Playing emotional hometown clips before the finalists are expected to sing? That’s just not right.
Lin-Manuel Miranda promotes his new film, “In The Heights.” Jordin Sparks starred in the Broadway version at one point.
Next, Alyssa Wray and Mickey Guyton sing “Black Like Me.” The season 7 Top 50 alum sings beautifully. Alyssa starts off pitchy. But this is a significant duet. Alyssa could probably learn a lot from Mickey about navigating the music business as a black woman. Alyssa is so talented, but she need to work on her vocal control issues.
The Top 3 take the stage. Time to eliminate a contestant. The first person to make the Top 2 is…Willie Spence! Going head to head with Willie is…Chayce Beckham! Grace Kinstler is eliminated. It’s not a surprise. Her song choices should have been much better than overdone diva songs.
Oh. The jingle writer Tom McGovern is back with a ditty about the season. In other words, it’s time for a season recap! This song is so clever. Tom deserved to go further in the competition.
Next, Graham DeFranco chats with Ryan about travelling around to visit all the Idol families. He introduces Fall Out Boy who perform “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” with the Top 10 guys.
Now, Chaka Khan takes the stage with a medley of “I’m Every Woman,” “Ain’t Nobody,” “Sweet Thing” and “Through the Fire” with DeShawn Goncalves, Casey Bishop, Alyssa Wray, Cassandra Coleman and Grace Kinstler. DeShawn sounds INCREDIBLE. Wow. This medley reminds me of the old school group numbers from the FOX days.
And then a FULLY VACCINATED Ryan, Kelly, Lionel and Luke do a big group hug after an entire season of NO HUGS.
Next, X Factor UK alum Leona Lewis and Willie Spence join forces on “You Are the Reason.” Hm. Their voices aren’t blending very well. Leona seems a little off tonight. But her dress is gorgeous. HA WILLIE’S MOM STILL CRYING IN THE AUDIENCE.
Next, Sheryl Crow sings “Every Day Is a Winding Road” and “If It Makes You Happy” with
Arthur Gunn. Uh. WHAT HAPPENED TO ARTHUR? She’s singing with Graham DeFranco instead. Ryan mentions after the performance that Graham stepped in at the very last minute. No kidding. He was terrible–soft voice, off pitch, a deer in the headlights. Sheryl carries on as best she can. Ouch. So why did Arthur drop out? American Idol 2021 the season of DROPOUTS.
Ryan Seacrest acknowledges how BIG MAD fans were when Murphy was eliminated, which makes me think they ditched him on purpose to create controversy. Hm. I wonder if the show will invite him back next year. The judges point fingers at each other over his demise. Murphy returns to the Idol stage to sing “Am I Still Mine” and “The Painted Man.” These are good songs. I’ll be shocked if Murphy isn’t back next season.
Aw. Carrie Underwood congratulates the finalists! “Just take a moment, look around and soak it all in. American Idol changed my life.” She pimps her Las Vegas residency, as Luke Bryan and Katy Perry just did. Then Celine Dion, who also has a residency at Resorts World congratulates the singers.
Next, Luke Bryan and Casey Bishop head to the Whiskey a Go Go to rehearse their performance. Remember when he told her that she was ready for the rock bars? The two sing Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.” It’s an odd couple on paper, but the performance is high energy, and really fun.
Next, Lionel Richie performs “One World” with the Top 8 contestants. WE ONLY HAVE ONE WORLD Y’ALL CLIMATE CHANGE.
Now, Lindsey Buckingham takes the stage with Cassandra Coleman to sing “Go Your Own Way.” Hm. I think this one could have used more rehearsal. Pitchy notes everywhere. Even Lindsey doesn’t sound good on his own song. Maybe they should look at each other once or twice? The guitar solo is good! The other band members recently kicked Lindsey out of Fleetwood Mac. So there’s that.
Next, Alessia Cara sings “Scars to Your Beautiful” with Grace Kinstler. It’s got to be hard to sing after being eliminated. But Grace is stepping up to the plate, giving it her all.
Luke Combs takes the stage with Chayce Beckham to sing “Forever After All.” Vocally, these two singers are a good match. It’s like a rasp battle! One of the better duets, along with Alessia and Grace.
I have no idea what I missed. But my cable went out for at least 10 minutes. Oh well. ETA: Reportedly I missed this sublime duet from Katy Perry and Hunter Metts singing “Thinking of You.”
Favorite Moments on the Show
Chayce Beckham – Afterglow by Ed Sheeran
Next, it’s a clip of the contestants mocking Chayce and his slicked back hair. This, before he performs his last song, ending his American idol run on a warm and emotional note. At this point, the judges congratulate Chayce and assure him that he’s got a long career ahead of him.
Willie Spence – Stand Up by Cynthia Erivo
Willie judges chickens at home? Also, he’s a major jokester! Who knew. Willie gets the last word tonight with huge performance of “Stand Up.” If key changes determined the winner, Willie would have this, hands down. BIG BIG MOMENT from Willie. “We just love you,” says Luke, who declares that his voice comes from God. Willie is already crying. “Your presence on this show has been a religious experience,” says Lionel. “Thank you for blessing us,” says Katy.
RESULTS WINNER ANNOUNCED
Willie and Chayce exchange “I love you buddy” before the winner is revealed. The winner of American Idol 2021 is….CHAYCE BECKHAM.
American Idol 2021
Chayce Beckham – WINNER
Willie Spence – Runner-up
Grace Kinstler – 3rd place