The finale of “American Idol” aired on ABC on Sunday, May 23. Chayce Beckham, Grace Kinstler, and Willie Spence — the Top 3 finalists — each performed three songs in the hopes of winning season 19.
In this final chapter, the journey that started months ago and delivered one of the most unforgettable seasons in the history of ‘American Idol’ came to an end. The season finale of American Idol has arrived, and a winner has emerged. After each finalist performed two numbers, the show eliminated Grace Kinstler. Only, Chayce and Willie remained in the race for the Idol trophy. Willie Spence then finished second in the 2021 season of American Idol due to a lack of votes. The winner of the 19th season of American Idol is Chayce Beckham.
Beckham’s victory is reminiscent of a rags-to-riches tale. In his hometown of Apple Valley, California’s San Bernardino County, the 24-year-old, gritty-voiced country singer worked as a heavy machinery operator. Then, after a tragic car crash last year that changed his life, his mother and stepfather signed him up for “American Idol.”
Beckham’s triumph as the “American Idol” has historical significance. He is the first California contestant to win the grand prize. Of course, Californians have come close before — Adam Lambert (San Diego) and Katharine McPhee (Los Angeles) were both runner-ups. But no one from the country’s most populous state had ever won until now.
Beckham closed out his “Idol” run with stirring covers of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Chris Stapleton’s “Fire Away.” He also was joined by Luke Combs on “Forever After All.” In addition, he performed Ed Sheeran’s “Afterglow,” and after being announced as the winner, he reprised his chart-topping hit “23.”
The season finale of American Idol has always had spectacular guest performances. This season didn’t disappoint the fans. The Top 3 received their all-star duets. Kinstler performed “Scars on Your Beautiful” with Alessia Cara, Beckham performed “Forever After All” with Luke Combs, and Spence performed “You Are the Reason” with Leona Lewis.
And those were just a few of the finale’s special guests. Sunday’s send-off featured performances by Macklemore, Fall Out Boy, Chaka Khan, and Sheryl Crow. Also, American Idol welcomed back a handful of this season’s more memorable contestants, including Alyssa Wray, Graham DeFranco, and Murphy.
Casey Bishop returned to the stage for a duet of Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer,” and Lionel Richie performed “One World” with even more beloved eliminated contestants, including Cassandra Coleman and Deshawn Goncalves. Of course, Perry’s lovely “Thinking of You,” a duet with Hunter Metts, was phenomenal too.
ABC recently renewed American Idol for another season. The Disney-owned network is hopeful that judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and host Ryan Seacrest will return next year. According to ABC, American Idol is the number one show in its two-hour time slot. In addition, it is the fourth most-watched unscripted show of the season, with 9.4 million viewers.
You might also want to read Olivia Rodrigo: The Story of An Overnight Pop Star.