Since American Idol season 4 (19th overall) kicked off in February, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie have been in search of the Best American Idol Contestants and most talented singer to crown as this year’s winner. Now that we’re a few months into the competition, only the very best have managed to survive the grueling schedule of Hollywood Week, various duet challenges, and a nerve-wracking Showstopper round to get to the live shows.
The judges have gotten us this far, but now it’s up to viewers watching at home to vote for their favorites. See below for a full list of the contestants left in the 2021 competition and read a little bit about their respective journeys on Idol so far:
Grace Kinstler, 20
- Born: Aug. 3, 2000 – Woodstock, Ill.
- Favorite Alums: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Jessica Sanchez, La’Porsha Renae
- Musical Influences: Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera
- First Idol Experience: Watching with her parents when she was a young child. “I would say, ‘I want to do that one day,’ and my dad would tell me, ‘You will, you will.'”
You know it’s a good sign when you’re able to bring Luke to tears while auditioning with Aretha Franklin‘s classic hit “Natural Woman.” Oh yeah, and not to mention that Luke compared her performance to Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson‘s auditions. In the top 16 round, she once again pulled out all the stops singing Sia‘s “Elastic Heart.” If we had to guess, we’d say Grace has a great shot at winning this year. She truly deserves a place among Best American Idol Contestants.
Willie Spence, 21
- Born: June 18, 1999 – West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Favorite Alums: Fantasia, Jessica Sanchez, Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, Katharine McPhee, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Burnell Taylor
- Musical Influences: Whitney Houston, Yolanda Adams, John Legend
- First Idol Experience: His family loved the show and he started watching Season 2 and then played the American Idol game with his family.
During the audition round, Katy gave Willie the compliment of a lifetime, saying his voice is one that “stops people in their tracks.” America agrees with Katy’s assessment after putting him through to the top nine and now the top 5. It’s hard to call out one of Willie’s standout performances because they’ve all been so good!
Caleb Kennedy, 16
- Born: Oct. 21, 2004 – Spartanburg, S.C.
- Favorite Alums: Bucky Covington, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett
- Musical Influences: Jason Aldean, George Strait, Hank Williams, Hank Williams, Jr.
- First Idol Experience: Watching with his family after church on Sundays.
Caleb’s got it all at only 16 — determination, confidence, style, and, above all, talent. After performing an original country song in the audition round, Caleb went on to stun the judges singing “Midnight River” by The Allman Brothers and even looked perfectly comfortable belting out a duet with Jason Aldean. We can only imagine what he’ll do next! She truly deserves a place among Best American Idol Contestants.
Casey Bishop, 16
- Born: Feb. 9, 2005 – Fort Myers, Fla.
- Favorite Alums: Alejandro Aranda, Haley Reinhart, Laine Hardy, Laci Kaye Booth
- Musical Influences: Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith
- First Idol Experience: Started watching Season 10 when she was six years old.
Luke said right away that he thinks Casey is going to be the next winner of American Idol. With each passing round, it looks like Luke’s prediction might come true after all. Each time she walks on stage, Casey brings her vocal A-game and powerful rock energy.
Chayce Beckham, 24
- Born: July 16, 1996 – Victorville, Calif.
- Favorite Alums: Ruben Studdard, Chris Daughtry
- Musical Influences: Van Halen, Green Day, Bob Marley & the Wailers, The Doors
- First Idol Experience: Growing up in Apple Valley, Calif., he watched every episode of every season with his family for “a long time.”
Katy went for it after hearing Chayce sing the first time in the audition round. The Grammy-nominated artist predicted straight up that he’ll end up in the “top 5” this year, which is quite the compliment considering the roster of incredible singers. Since making that bold claim, Katy’s confidence in Chayce has only grown. He truly deserves a place among Best American Idol Contestants.
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