Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie have been searching for the best American Idol contestants (and ultimate winner of the competition) since the new season began in February. With a few months of the competition behind us, only the very best have made it to the live shows after overcoming a grueling schedule of Hollywood Week and various duet challenges.
It’s up to viewers to vote for their favorites now that the judges have gotten us to this point. Read on to find out about the 2021 contestants and their respective experiences so far on American Idol.
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 and Christina Aguilera
- First Idol Experience: Watching as a child with her parents. “I would say, ‘I want to do that one day,’ and my dad would tell me, ‘You will, you will.’”
The fact that Luke tears up while listening to Aretha Franklin’s classic “Natural Woman” while auditioning is a promising sign. Oh yeah, and even more impressive than Luke comparing her performance to Kelly Clarkson or Jennifer Hudson. As Grace sang Sia’s “Elastic Heart” in the top 16 round, we think she has a great chance to win this year. She truly deserves a spot among the Best American Idol Contestants.
Willie Spence, 21
- Born: June 18, 1999 – West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Favorite Alums: Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Sanchez, Ruben Studdard, Katharine McPhee, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Burnell Taylor
- Musical Influences: Whitney Houston, Yolanda Adams, John Legend
- First Idol Experience: His parents loved the show and watched season two together before they played the American Idol game together.
Katy told Willie in the audition round that his voice is one that “stops people in their tracks.” America also agreed with Katy’s assessment by putting him into the top nine and now into the top 5. Willie has delivered so many outstanding performances that it’s hard to single out one!
Caleb Kennedy, 16
- Born: Oct. 21, 2004 – Spartanburg, S.C.
- Favorite Alums: Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Bucky Covington, Gabby Barrett
- Musical Influences: Jason Aldean, George Strait, also Hank Williams, Hank Williams, Jr.
- First Idol Experience: Sunday evening while watching with his family.
At only 16, Caleb has it all – determination, confidence, style, and, most importantly, talent. The country singer stunned the judges with his rendition of “Midnight River” by The Allman Brothers and even sang in a duet with Jason Aldean. The next thing he does is impossible to imagine! He truly deserves a spot among the Best American Idol Contestants.
Casey Bishop, 16
- Born: Feb. 9, 2005 – Fort Myers, Fla.
- Favorite Alums: Alejandro Aranda, Haley Reinhart, Laine Hardy, also Laci Kaye Booth
- Musical Influences: Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith
- First Idol Experience: She watched season 10 at age six.
Casey is likely to win American Idol, Luke predicts. Luke’s prediction also seems to be coming true every time he plays. Every time Casey takes the stage, her vocals, and rock energy are on point.
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: Watching every episode with his family growing up in Apple Valley, Calif.
In the audition round, Katy went for it after hearing Chayce sing for the first time. Despite the stellar lineup of artists, he predicts he’ll end up in the “top 5” this year. The confidence Katy has in Chayce only grew since she made such a bold claim. He also truly deserves a place among Best American Idol Contestants.
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