‘American Idol’ Top 3 Are Revealed Heading Into the Finale (RECAP)

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ABC/Eric McCandless

The Top 4 on American Idol had one last chance to impress viewers and be voted into the finale. Caleb Kennedy exited the competition after an old video surfaced of him with someone who looked to be wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Each of the final four kicked off the festivities by choosing a song inspired by his or her own personal idol. This week, the hopefuls were first mentored by FINNEAS and later put in pairs to perform two of his own creations. The Grammy-winning songwriter, producer, and artist (and brother of Billie Eilish) also took the stage to perform “Till Forever Falls Apart” with Ashe. Meanwhile, Idol 2019 winner Laine Hardy and 2018 alum Michael J. Woodard were in the house to watch the current crop of finalists.

In an Idol first, the hopefuls went into the studio with top producers Tricky Stewart, Ross Copperman, and Ian Fitchuk to record original singles, which they sang live on the show. Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie gave the emerging talent high marks. Luke also showed how it’s done with his latest hit “Waves.”

By night’s end, Ryan Seacrest announced Chayce Beckham, Grace Kinstler, and Willie Spence will be heading into the finale next week. Casey Bishop, a favorite, reached the end of her journey on the show.

Did America make the right decision? Let’s check out the highlights.

Casey Bishop

Casey tells FINNEAS how much his sister’s music means to her, which is why, for this round, she chose to perform Billie’s “wish you were gay,” a song FINNEAS co-wrote. He’s impressed by the 16-year-old’s talent, especially at such a young age. Luke feels she crushed it, calling it her best performance. Lionel says she now owns her persona and killed it. Katy says she found her stardust and instant identity. Next, Casey sings her original, “Love Me, Leave Me,” and revisits her bedroom audition song “Live Wire” by Mötley Crüe. Lionel is blown away by her range. Katy agrees and feels she checks all the boxes. Luke rocks out.

Chayce Beckham

FINNEAS is feeling Chayce’s tone, describing it as earnest. His advice for Chayce? To focus on the lyrics and the camera while not letting the band overtake him. The 24-year-old performs “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown Band for his personal idol song. Katy says the guitar looks good on him and that he was born on the Idol stage. Luke appreciates his realness. Lionel wants Chayce to know that people genuinely like him. In the next round, Chayce performs his original single, “23,” and “You Should Probably Leave” by Chris Stapleton. Luke likes the production specifically on the original. Lionel says he underwent a complete transformation. Katy calls him a rock star.

Grace Kinstler

For her personal idol song, Grace picks original Idol winner Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This.” The 20-year-old calls Kelly an inspiration for not fitting in a specific mold. Lionel says there are many young ladies who just need her to tell them it’s OK to be themselves. Kelly thinks it was a cool song choice and that she is a lot like Kelly Clarkson. Luke calls her voice “vocal pyro.” Grace then performs her original single “Love Someone” followed by “Father” by Demi Lovato, dedicated to her late dad. Luke feels the Demi song was made for her to sing and the melody on the original. Lionel sees artistry, star power, and a bright future. Katy likes the original song and is touched by it.

Willie Spence

FINNEAS tells Willie that he has one of the best voices he has ever heard. Willie’s personal idol song is “Glory” by John Legend. There’s a LOL moment when FINNEAS says, “You know [John Legend] is on The Voice,” and Willie responds with, “I know, but I like this show more.” It turns out to be a good song choice in the judges’ eyes — Katy feels like she was taken to church, Luke says he will literally save people’s lives with his voice, taking them out of dark places, and Lionel gets chills. Willie then premieres his original “Never Be Alone” along with a cover of “I Was Here” by Beyoncé. Lionel calls him a giant of a voice and presence. Katy says he is stepping into his power. Luke says he is a teddy bear that flips into beast mode when the cameras are on for him to perform.

Idol Duets

FINNEAS tells Grace and Willie how he wrote the 2020 single “What They’ll Say About Us” as a tribute to the late Broadway star Nick Cordero, who passed away from COVID last year. Later, Casey and Chayce take on ”Break My Heart Again” from FINNEAS’ 2019 debut EP Blood Harmony. FINNEAS mentions he was listening to a lot of Frank Sinatra during that period. Casey and Chayce no doubt close the jam-packed show on a high note.

American Idol, Season Finale, Sunday, May 23, 8/7c, ABC