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The first “American Idol”

; live from 2021 turned out to be stormy, as Paula Abdul returned and the dropout Wyatt Pike dropped out.

USA TODAY

The final four American Idol contestants leave everything on stage – although one contestant in particular was absent from this week’s episode.

In Sunday’s live-to-shore broadcast, the four remaining singers sang songs from their own idols, receiving guidance from guest mentor Finneas O’Connell, a singer, songwriter and record producer who is under the mononym Finneas Po. later, the contestants returned to sing original singles, followed by songs they had performed earlier in their Idol travels.

Although the episode was originally scheduled to include the final five, 16-year-old Caleb Kennedy left the race last week after a controversial video appeared on social media. Host Ryan Seacrest barely touched on Kennedy’s absence on the air, saying at the beginning of the show that the high school student “will not continue in the race” even though he is in the top 5.

In a Snapchat post, Kennedy appeared next to someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. Kennedy’s family said the video was recorded when he was 12, and his mother, Anita Guy, said the video was “shot after Caleb watched the movie Strangers: Loot at Night” and they mimic those characters. “

“Caleb has no racist bone in his body,” she added.

Judges Lionel Richie and Luke Brian expressed their views on the controversy in virtual questions and answers after the show. “First and foremost, as judges and as a panel of judges, we love these kids and get emotionally involved,” Brian said. “We want nothing but the best for Caleb, and that really makes for a very, very challenging and frustrating week.”

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Ritchie added that he hopes this will be a learning experience for the teenager.

“We grow up and make mistakes and look at our lives behind us many, many times and say, ‘God, what was I thinking when I did this? “This is one of those situations,” he said.

As usual, Brian, Richie and Katy Perry offered feedback as fans voted at home on who they wanted to see in the final three.

American Idol: Caleb Kennedy leaving the show after controversial posts on social media

Chase Beckham

24-year-old heavy machinery operator Chayce Beckham opened the show with a rough version of “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown Band.

Although Beckham considered giving up the guitar to focus on the lyrics, he changed his mind, accompanied by an acoustic guitar.

And the decision works in his favor, according to Perry.

“You were born an American Idol,” she said. “I knew when, Chase.” I knew when.

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According to Brian, Beckham got into the quartet because he is real and authentic. Ritchie agreed and told the singer that fans “fell in love not only with your voice, but with what you are.”

“It’s a real quality to be a star,” Richie added.

Later on the show, Beckham returned for his original song “23”, followed by Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave”, which he sang during Hollywood Week.

After pointing out that “23” dominated the country music charts after its release, Perry told Beckham that he was apparently already a rock star.

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Casey Bishop

Casey Bishop’s personal idol is a man Phineas knows well: his sister and collaborator Billy Ailish. The 16-year-old sang “I Wish You Were Gay” by Ailish, which Phineas co-wrote.

“The greatest honor as a songwriter is to hear the song, and Casey has an amazing instrument,” the mentor said.

Brian told Bishop that he was “crushing every aspect” of her performance. “I think that was your best,” he added.

Richie praised Bishop for keeping the audience on their feet.

“You were in a moment that made us wonder, ‘What will she do next?’ “” He said. “You killed him, darling.”

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Later in the show, Bishop killed him again with her original song “Love Me, Leave Me” and “Live Wire” by Mötley Crüe, which she sang at her first audition. But unlike her audition, the teenager had to get stuck in a live band instead of singing an a cappella.

Perry marveled at the flexibility of the high school student.

“I just can’t believe you can sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow so elegantly a few episodes ago and then get on your knees for Live Wire,” Perry said. “Check all boxes. You are ready for a party.

Grace Kinstler

Student Grace Kinstler’s personal idol also turned out to be “American Idol”: Kelly Clarkson, who won the show’s first season when Kinstler was just 1 year old.

Like Clarkson, Kinstler said he wanted to become a role model for girls who felt different. She sang “A Moment Like This,” which Clarkson sang in the first finale of the season after winning the show.

“You thought of yourself as an attempt to be something unique,” Richie said. “You’re normal. It’s completely fresh for everything else in the world. That’s what the star does.”

Perry revealed that her cousins ​​are hard-rooted to win Kinstler. “You look a lot like Kelly Clarkson, and she’s a good-looking megastar,” the judge added.

The student later returned to sing her original song “Love Someone”, followed by Demi Lovato’s “Father”, which she sang during the showstopper’s round.

“All our birds are about to leave the nest,” Richie said. “Artistry, verification. Star power, verification. Your future, verification.”

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Willie Spence

Officer Willie Spence, who Phineas said had “one of the best voices I’ve ever heard,” performed an exciting performance of “Glory” by Common and John Legend, Spence’s personal idol.

As usual for Spence, his performance garnered divine praise from the judges.

“I’m so glad you took us to church,” Perry said. “It was connected. It was spiritual … I was speechless.”

Perhaps the highest compliment comes from Brian. “You will literally save people’s lives with your voice,” the judge said as tears streamed down Spence’s face.

Spence is back for equally powerful performances of his original song “Never Be Alone” and “I’ve Been Here” by Beyonce.

Perry said Spence had proven he had “this connection to this next kingdom.”

Who came home?

At the end of the episode, Seacrest revealed Beckham, Spence and Kinstler were in the top three, which meant that Bishop was eliminated.

After the show, the teenager considered how to become more confident through “Idol”. Before her audition, most of Bishop’s singing experience came from the belt in the hairbrush at home.

“I’m really proud of myself and everyone else,” she said. “Earlier, during the show, I wasn’t so comfortable and I think it was noticeable. And now I am.”

The finale of the Idol season airs at 8pm ET next Sunday, when Spence, Kinstler or Beckham will be announced the winner.

Contribution: Ashley Deal, Herald-Journal

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