The “American Idol” finale airs on ABC on Sunday, May 23 beginning at 8 p.m. ET/7 p..m. CT. Each of the Top 3 — Chayce Beckham, Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence — will perform three songs in the hopes of winning season 19. They will also join forces with Macklemore on a performance of their hit “Can’t Hold Us.”
The solo turns by the Top 3 are tied to a trio of themes: hometown visits, favorite moments and judges choices. Song choice is even more important as one of these contenders for the season 19 championship will be eliminated sometime during the three-hour show. This will leave a Top 2 to battle for America’s votes.
The season 19 finale is being broadcast live from coast to coast. Voting begins at the start of the broadcast on Sunday and viewers can cast votes for their favorites by three different methods: via the app, online or by text. Be sure to click on the link below for all of the voting details.
Below, follow along as we recap all the action on “American Idol” season 19 night 19 in our updating live blog.
Refresh this page for our live updates
8:00 p.m. — Macklemore opens up tonight’s exciting finale with a performance of “Can’t Hold Us” with the three finalists joining him. As the lyrics state, “tonight is the night,” and one of them is about to become the next “American Idol.” Let’s go!
8:10 p.m. — The judges enter the building and they are dressed for the occasion. The competition kicks off and voting is open as Grace takes the stage to sing “All By Myself.” She sounds a little nervous in the opening chorus, which is understandable. She quickly settles in, but the verses feel a little rushed over in order to get to the epic crescendo, which she nails. Katy’s jaw is practically on the floor before she says, “You did not just take that one higher than Celine!” Katy says the song from Celine Dion is what made her want to become a singer, so she picked it for Grace to deliver tonight. Lionel says only Grace can create another song out of a standard and that the young singer is a storyteller.
8:15 p.m. — Next up is Willie singing “Georgia on My Mind.” His velvety vocals caress this song beautifully and I especially like the chorus where he takes it up a notch. I think he succeeds more than Grace in singing a song from beginning to end without sort of glossing over the verses. Luke can “smell magnolias” after that performance and says Willie has delivered with every performance since his first audition. Lionel calls him a “religious experience.” Katy says “the sky is the limit” for Willie.
8:25 p.m. — Chayce is the last finalist to sing and he will be performing “Blackbird.” What a brilliant song choice from the judges. His raspy vocals sound great over this melody and I think this performance feels more like watching an established singer than a vocal contest. He’s not the vocalist either Grace or Willie are, but the man has serious stage presence and star power. Lionel says Chayce has an identifiable voice and a “raspy voice of life.” Katy says they chose the song because it’s small but mighty. Luke invites Chayce on a bass fishing trip. #bromance
8:40 p.m. — The second round of competition will be hometown dedications. Grace visited her family in the Chicago area along with trips to her former high school and a parade. Her dedication song is “I Have Nothing,” which she starts off acapella. Handing her Celine first and then Whitney Houston is quite a bit of pressure. I just don’t hear the soulfulness this song requires but it’s rare I’m ever impressed when anyone tries to cover a Whitney song. It’s an untouchable standard. I might be underwhelmed but the judges appear blown away. Katy says Grace just sang her heart out and pleads with viewers to vote. Luke wanted to stand on the desk because a proper standing ovation didn’t seem like enough. Lionel praises Grace for taking a Whitney song up two octaves.
8:50 p.m. — Willie took a trip back to his hometown of Douglas, Georgia. It’s a small town that loves them some Willie! We have seen contestants from these small Southern towns do quite well throughout the history of “Idol,” so it’s not surprise he has done so well. His reunion with his mom was particularly emotional, as she fell into his arms sobbing. His dedication song is “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. He sings with confidence, authority and conviction and this was another great ballad from Willie. The judges have not come up with anything new to say that hasn’t been said already.
9:05 p.m. — Chayce heads back to Apple Valley and is dropped off at his old job in a limo. He’s gone Hollywood! His fellow forklift operators look genuinely proud of him though. He also has an emotional reunion with his family, but I love seeing his dog the most! He sings “Fire Away” by Chris Stapleton, which is just okay for me. It fits his voice and demeanor, but it wasn’t as good as his first round for me. Katy says God turned up the volume on his life to make sure Chayce is listening.
9:15 p.m. — Country superstar Mickey Guyton is joined by Alyssa Wray for a duet of Mickey’s Grammy-nominated song, “Black Like Me.” Powerful song and a great performance. Then Ryan calls the finalists to the stage to announce which one has been eliminated in third place. Dim the lights! The singer finishing in third place is Grace. The judges look flabbergasted, but I’m not surprised by this result. Either Willie or Chayce will become the next “American Idol”!
9:25 p.m. — Fall Out Boy is making a special appearance singing “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” to promote their upcoming summer tour. Willie, Chayce, Deshawn Goncalves and Hunter Metts join in to provide some backup vocals.
9:35 p.m. — The Queen of Funk is in the building! Chaka Khan is gracing the Idol stage with a performance of her classic “Sweet Thing.” Deshawn joins her and he looks more comfortable now than he ever did when he was competing. Good for him! Next she goes into a medley of “I’m Every Woman” and “Ain’t Nobody” with Grace, Alyssa, Casey Bishop and Cassandra Coleman serving as backup vocalists. Then Ryan, Katy, Lionel and Luke engage in a group hug to celebrate their ability to touch each other after being separated for so long!
9:40 p.m. — Willie is back on stage singing “You Are the Reason” with multiplatinum singer Leona Lewis. He sounds better than she does if I’m being honest. They frequently cut to Willie’s mom in the audience who is so proud and I don’t think she’s stopped crying all night. I love her!
9:50 p.m. — Grammy winner Sheryl Crowe is hitting the stage with Graham DeFranco to sing her hits “If It Makes You Happy” and “Everyday is a Winding Road.” I kind of wish she was singing “Picture” with Chayce, but this is fine too.
10:00 p.m. — Fan favorite Murphy has been invited back to sing “Am I Still Mine?” and “The Painted Man.” I’m glad to see him return because he was my favorite singer throughout the audition process. I was shocked when they eliminated him prior to the Top 24. He’s so unique and such a cool voice. Happy to see Murphy get some promotion on this finale.
10:15 p.m. — Luke has been wanting to perform with Casey all season and it’s finally about to happen. He takes the teenage rocker to Whiskey a Go Go to rehearse for tonight’s performance. They sing of “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. Then Lionel takes the stage with eight of the finalists to sing “We Only Have One World.” Next, Rock & Roll Hall of famer Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac is joined by Cassandra for a performance of “Go Your Own Way.” These are fun collaborations!
10:40 p.m. — Grace is joining 2018 Grammy winner for Best New Artist, Alessia Cara, singing her hit “Scars to Your Beautiful.” Then country star Luke Combs hits the stage with Chayce to sing “Forever After All.” Next, Katy picks up a guitar to sing her song “Thinking of You” with Hunter. All of the performances were fun to watch, but Katy and Hunter were most impressive. Maybe she will sign Hunter like she did Michael J. Woodard from a few seasons ago!
10:50 p.m. — Chayce hits the stage one last time to sing “Afterglow” by Ed Sheeran. This is a smart swan song as he puts forth one last effort for America’s vote. He sounds great singing a heartfelt ballad and I’m sure plenty of people are swooning over the heartthrob as they text in their votes. Then Willie sings his reprise of “Stand Up,” an epic, gospel-infused ballad by Cynthia Erivo. This was probably my favorite performance of his this season so I’m glad he choice to do this again. This vote could be a nail biter! Who will be the Season 19 champion?
10:59 p.m. — After auditions, Hollywood rounds, weeks of live performances and a three hour grand finale, an idol is about to be crowned! Dim the lights! The Season 19 winner of “American Idol” is Chayce Beckham! That means Willie is the runner-up. Chayce closes out the show with his #1 iTunes chart-topper “23.” I’m not sure it has sunk in for the champion yet, but I love seeing the tears of joy from Chayce’s family in the audience. That’s a wrap for Season 19!