The American Idol 2021 Top 5, including Grace Kinstler, Willie Spence, Chayce Beckham, Caleb Kennedy and Casey Bishop will perform original songs on Sunday’s semi-final, along with songs honoring their personal heros and Duets/Trios of songs by Billie Eilish brother and producer, Finneas.
Prior to singing the brand new songs on the show, the singers got the opportunity to work with legendary producers in the studio. And the tracks were recorded early enough to include Top 7 eliminated artists, Hunter Metts and Arthur Gunn. The two won’t perform the songs live on the show, but the songs will be available to stream and download, along with the others.
According to an Instagram post from Grace, the songs will be released on Friday May 14.
A trio of legendary producers entered the studio with the Top 5
Among the writer-producers joining the team for the night, reports Billboard, are four-time Grammy winner Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, known for his work with Beyoncé (“Single Ladies”), Rihanna (“Umbrella”), Justin Bieber (“Baby”) and Mariah Carey (“Touch My Body”), as well as Katy Perry, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears and Maroon 5, among many others.
The contestants also worked with two-time Grammy winner Ian Fitchuk, who has worked with Kacey Musgraves, Leon Bridges, Harry Styles and Little Big Town. The singers entered the studio with four-time BMI songwriter of the year Ross Copperman, known for writing and producing No. 1 hits for Darius Rucker, Florida Georgia Line, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and many more.
American Idol made history, as the contestants recorded songs that will appear on the show and be released while the competition is still going.
Hunter Metts, Chayce Beckham, Caleb Kennedy recorded their own songs
“When [Grace] sings, she really gives you a connectivity to the lyric. And it’s been fun to just work with a singer that understands those things,” Stewart told Billboard about Grace. “Usually you only see [that] in really established artists, but she just seems to have that gift naturally.” Stewart also praised Willie’s song choice and said his voice “is bringing so much to the table, and when we got to the room we just really clicked. It was really, truly sparks.”
Copperman praised the depth of Caleb’s songwriting talent. “He really knows who he is as an artist,” he said, while adding that Chayce is truly an “authentic artist” whose pain clearly comes through on the song he wrote, “23.”
As for teen rock singer Casey, Fitchuk said despite never spending time in the studio before, the 15-year-old had a blast. “That is such a fun experience … to feed off of that creativity and energy,” he said. Fitchuk also had high marks for Hunter’s original, “20,000 Kisses,” which came with a “decent amount” of production in place already.
Arthur Gunn changed the time signature on his song, Copperman thought “it was crazy” at first
As for Arthur, Copperman said after surprising Coldplay singer Chris Martin on the May 9 show by dropping what he thought was the main melody from his band’s “In My Place,” Arthur, unsurprisingly, changed the time signature of the song they worked on. “At first I thought [it] was crazy, but then I realized, he just knows who he is,” he said.
During last Sunday’s broadcast, host Ryan Seacrest announced that producer Finneas (Billie Eilish’s brother and musical partner) will be mentoring The Top 5. And reportedly the Top 5 will perform two of Finneas’ songs at Duets/Trios. The American Idol semi-final will air coast to coast on Sunday May 16 at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT.