The “American Idol” finale airs live nationwide on ABC beginning at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET Sunday, May 19. The Top 3 contestants still in the running for the season 16 title are Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg. Each of this trio of hopefuls will perform three songs on the three-hour final.
We expect that the first will be in tribute to their hometowns, which they returned to this week; the second will be an encore of a performance that went well earlier in the season; and the third will be their respective winner’s singles. But those nine tunes won’t be the only music you hear that night.
Each of the judges will raise their voice in song. Katy Perry will sing with Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, who made it as far as the Top 6. Lionel Richie will be backed by the Top 10 for “Dancing on the Ceiling.” And Luke Bryan will duet with Laci Kaye Booth, who just missed out on the Top 3, on “Knockin’ Boots” and “Every Breath You Take.”
The other Top 5 act, Wade Cota, will sing with Walker Burroughs (who was axed on the Top 8 show) and the band Weezer a medley of “Africa,” “Take On Me” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” And Top 10 artist Uche will jam with Kool and the Gang on “Hollywood Swinging,” “Ladies Night” and “Celebrate.”
Among the other performers will be several of the show’s most successful alumni: season 4 champ Carrie Underwood will perform “Southbound” solo while season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert will duet with Dimitrius Graham, who made it to the Top 10, on “New Eyes” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And Top 8 artist Alyssa Raghu is expected to sing Good As You” and “Lost in the Middle of Nowhere” with rising country music star Kane Brown, who once auditioned for “Idol.”
In addition, Madison is set to sing “All To Myself” and “Speechless” with Dan + Shay while Laine is linking up with Jon Pardi for a medley of “Nightshift” and “Dirt On My Boots.” No word yet on who will duet with Alejandro. Which of the Top 3 do you think will win season 17 of “American Idol”? Cast a ballot for your favorite in our poll below. And be sure to sound off on this ABC revival of “American Idol” in the comments section.