New ‘American Idol’ Crowned During Star-Studded Finale (RECAP)

American Idol
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ABC/Eric McCandless

Dim the lights, and here we go…

After a nationwide vote, Ryan Seacrest revealed Chayce Beckham as the 2021 winner of American Idol during a star-studded grand finale. The former heavy machine operator closed out the season with his first hit single “23.”

It was down to Chayce and Willie as Grace Kinstler finished third. The three sang their hearts out in multiple rounds where they took on a judge’s choice followed by a tune dedicated to their hometown. After Grace’s elimination, Willie and Chayce revisited audition songs.

The talented Top 3 also joined other Idol contestants from this season and top names in the music. We’re talking Fall Out Boy, Chaka Khan, Macklemore, Luke Combs, Mickey Guyton, Leona Lewis, Sheryl Crow, Alessia Cara, and Fleetwood Mac legend Lindsey Buckingham. Judge Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie also joined in on the fun with members of their Idol class of 2021.

Check out these must-see performances from the night.

Chayce Beckham

Bobby Bones, in-house mentor, went through Chayce’s inspirational journey and representing the blue-collar workers out there. The judges gave him the chance to flex his wings on The Beatles’ “Blackbird.” Lionel complimented his recognizable voice. Katy called him “Chayce the Ace.” Luke said he secured his bass fishing trip. Chayce dedicated his hometown song Chris Stapleton’s “Fire Away” to Apple Valley, California. Lionel liked the song choice. Katy told him his world is about to change. Luke can’t wait to see where he is in five years after seeing him grow so much. Chayce closed out his set revisiting Ed Sheeran’s “Afterglow.” Katy told him he had a dream, and now he is living it. Luke told him he had a bright future and hide them forklift keys. Lionel welcomed Chayce his career.

Willie Spence

Bobby went through Willie’s journey and how he didn’t quit despite losing his grandfather during the competition. The judge’s picked a Ray Charles classic “Georgia On My Mind” for the soulful teddy bear. Luke said he has delivered since day one. Lionel called it a religious experience. Katy told Willie the sky’s the limit for him. During the hometown round this Georgia boy took on Sam Cooke’s powerful “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Luke said he brings so much joy. Lionel told him to take the moment and bathe in it. Katy had the feels. Willie closed out his set on a high note with Cynthia Erivo’s “Stand Up.” Luke loved his voice and the jacket. Lionel and Katy felt blessed to be in his presence.

Grace Kinstler

Grace talked to Bobby about the comparisons to Kelly Clarkson, rise in confidence while on the show, and paying tribute to her late dad. She kicked off the solo performances with a powerhouse judge’s choice of Celine Dion’s “All By Myself.” Katy felt she took it a step above Celine and showed vulnerable power. Luke thought it was truly amazing. Lionel called her a storyteller with a great voice. For the hometown round, Illinois’ own went full diva mode on “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. Katy thought Grace sang her heart out. Luke found it beautiful. Lionel said she outdid herself.


Willie, Grace, and Chayce kicked off the show on the rooftop with Macklemore on “Can’t Hold Us. Complete with fireworks.

Mickey Guyton

Idol alum and Grammy-nominated Mickey Guyton brought the house down with Alyssa Wray.

Fall Out Boy

Some of the guys of Idol rocked it out with Fall Out Boy on “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up).”

Chaka Khan

The legend went through a medley of hits “Sweet Thing,” “I’m Every Woman,” “Ain’t Nobody, and “Through the Fire” with Deshawn Goncalves, Casey Bishop, Cassandra Coleman, Grace, and Alyssa.

Leona Lewis

Willie’s mom was in tears watching her son shine with Leona Lewis on “You Are the Reason.”

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow took us back to the 1990s with “If It Makes You Happy” and “Every Day Is a Winding Road” alongside Graham Defranco, who stepped in for Arthur Gunn.

Luke Bryan

After taking Casey to visit the Whisky a Go Go earlier in the week, Luke Bryan sang Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

Lionel Richie

The hit-maker himself Lionel Richie brought out “One World” with some of this season’s singers.

Lindsey Buckingham

The Hall of Famer was joined by Idol‘s Cassandra, rocking a Stevie Nicks look, on the Fleetwood Mac staple “Go Your Own Way.”

Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara dueted with Grace on the body positivity anthem “Scars to Your Beautiful.”

Luke Combs

The superstar sang “Forever After All” with the country superstar in the making Chayce.

Katy Perry

The beloved Idol judge sang with “Thinking of You” and showed her guitar playing skills alongside Hunter Metts.


The Idol hopeful who touched on the heartstrings this season returned with a medley of originals “Am I Still Mine?” and “The Painted Man.”

“Story of the Season”

Jingle master Tom McGovern summed up this season perfectly.

American Idol returns for another season in 2022 on ABC