American Idol Top 3, Leah Marlene, Noah Thompson and HunterGirl spent Tuesday (May 17) in their respective hometowns soaking up a hero’s welcome. On Sunday’s Grand Finale (May 22), a video package of their respective trips will air alongside their performances (A Bruce Springsteen song, and their original singles.)
The star studded finale will also feature duets. Leah Marlene will sing with Katy Perry, HunterGirl with Luke Bryan and Noah Thompson with Melissa Etheridge. Here are the judges revealing the Top 3 finale duet partners.
The moment when the Top 3 find out who they're singing with on SUNDAY NIGHT! ? #IdolFinale@_LeahMarlene + @KatyPerry! ?@NoahThompsonMu1 + @metheridge! ??@HunterGirlMusic + @LukeBryan! ? pic.twitter.com/bCWtaWC4er
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) May 18, 2022
Leah Marlene Returns to Normal
Leah Malene headed to Normal, IL where she visited her high school, and Mayor Chris Koos presented a proclamation to the singer declaring May 17 “Leah Marlene Day.”
Leah at her Normal West High School “I’m just so freaked out that I’m here!”
At the concert, which occured at the end of a parade through town, Leah remarked, “This is officially the craziest day of my life.” Idol production had trouble getting the correct lighting. It’s pretty annoying to watch, actually.
“The two years leading up to the show were the two worst years of my entire life,” Marlene told the crowd. “Holey moley, if you had told me a year ago I would look out as a sea of thousands of people as a finalist on ‘American Idol,’ I would have never in a trillion, billion, kajillion years believed you.”
American Idol 2022 Top 3 Homecoming Schedules for May 17
She calls American Idol the most “beautiful experience” and was a big step forward in her mental health journey.
1. Wisher to the Well (with her dad on guitar)
2. Make You Feel My Love
3. Happy Together
Leah Marlene Concert Live Stream
Photos and video: Thousands turn out for #LeahMarleneDay in Uptown Normal, including a concert filmed for Sunday's finale of #AmericanIdol, @EricWGLT reports. https://t.co/bLZo4foham #BloNoLovesLeah @NormalILL @uptownnormal pic.twitter.com/rBZgLclcP1
— WGLT (@WGLTNews) May 18, 2022
Leah told the crowd she remembers performing in Uptown Circle when only 2 people were there. ‘But there sure hasn’t been that many people in the circle before.’ #BloNoLovesLeah pic.twitter.com/mi9fuZvK5z
— Eric Stock (@EricWGLT) May 18, 2022
Leah Marlene makes her grand return home to Uptown Normal. pic.twitter.com/KNus1hJKgL
— Eric Stock (@EricWGLT) May 18, 2022
Noah Thompson joined by Kameron Marlowe on stage
Noah Thompson returned to his tiny hometown, Louisa, Kentucky. The town awarded him his very own street sign “Noah THompson Lane” and a proclamation of “Noah Thompson Day” by local politicians and community leaders.
After the parade, Noah performed a concert at his high school, where The Voice alum Kameron Marlowe joined him for a song. Fans will recall Kameron facetiming Noah after the contestant performed his song “Giving You Up” on the show. The two performed the song together.
Noah also sang Blue Side of the Mountain, Painted Blue and his original Idol single, “One Day Tonight.”
Fellow Lawrence County alumni Tyler Childers and Larry Cordle also played a part in the ceremony. Check out a photo gallery HERE.
HunterGirl goes home to Winchester
HunterGirl returned to Winchester, Tennessee. After a parade through town, a special ceremony took place at The Oldham Theatre where thousands of supporters attended. City and county officials awarded the singer with high honors.
“I would love to thank HunterGirl for representing Tennessee, Franklin County and especially Winchester on American Idol,” Amy Dennis, on behalf of Congressman Scott DesJarlais, shared. ”You have made all of us proud and we are here to show all of our support and welcome you home. Thank you again for bringing your light to our community. We wish you all the very best and we’ll be watching you and voting on Sunday night.”
The singer was presented with a key to the city of Winchester, a proclamation that declared May 17th “HunterGirl Day,” a plaque deeming her an honorary professor at her alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and more.
“I’m a professor,” she joked while laughing after receiving the plaque, which proclaimed her an honorary professor of MTSU.
The Mayor of Franklin County, David Alexander, took the stage to thank HunterGirl for her support of veterans through her work as a musical therapist.
Hunter CRIED a lot!
“As a Veteran, I particularly want to thank you for what you do for Vets and your music therapy. Thank you so much. And now, on behalf of Franklin County, Tennessee, we would like to wish HunterGirl a long, fulfilling musical career. Always remember your roots, where you come from, and the ones that supported you along the way.”
HunterGirl tearfully thanks her fans: “Thank you guys, I love y’all, I’ll try not to cry the whole time. Thank you guys for always supporting me,” she said as tears ran down her cheeks. “Thank you for having my back. I wanted to chase my dream for a really long time, but I know I couldn’t do it without any of you guys.”
If any of my #BillsMafia friends don't have a favorite to vote for…Hunter Girl is pretty awesome? @huntergirlmusic @AmericanIdol pic.twitter.com/wRjvRGvOrt
— ? Casey McKelvey ? (@Casey_McKelvey) May 17, 2022
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No videos from her free concert at the Twin Creeks Marina and Resort in Winchester have turned up yet. Feel free to post them in comments if you find them.