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‘American Idol’ finale live updates: It’s down to 2!

NEW YORK — “American Idol” will crown its winner on a special three-hour live coast-to-coast season finale event airing tonight on ABC!

Grace Kinstler, Chayce Beckham, and Willie Spence will take the stage to perform multiple songs tonight in hopes of securing America’s vote and, ultimately, become the next Idol!

Voting for the next “American Idol” starts at the beginning of the episode on Sunday night at 8:00 ET | 5:00 PT and will be open throughout the live show. One contestant will be eliminated after the first hour.

Here is how to vote:
Willie Spence: Text 2 to 21523
Chayce Beckham: Text 5 to 21523

Other options:
– Go to americanidol.com/vote
– Use the #AmericanIdol app

LIVE IDOL UPDATES

6:25 p.m. ET
Rehearsals have been underway this afternoon. Ryan Seacrest tweeted a photo with one of the special guests, Fall Out Boy.

Other guests performing tonight include renowned music artists Lindsey Buckingham, Alessia Cara, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Mickey Guyton, Chaka Khan, Leona Lewis, and Macklemore on the Idol stage. Celebrity judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie will also perform a hit song during the show.

7:30 p.m. ET
Idol has released the voting numbers. You can begin to vote when the show starts.

7:55 p.m. ET
Behind the scenes with Ryan Seacrest moments before showtime!

8:00 p.m. ET
Macklemore opened the finale with a spectacular performance of “Can’t Hold Us” featuring the 3 finalists. Tonight is the night!

8:05 p.m. ET
Grace Kinstler kicked off the final night of competition. Before her opening number, mentor Bobby Bones encouraged her to go out and sing for her dad, who passed away while she was attending college. The Lakewood, Illinois native performed ‘All By Myself’ by Eric Carmen.

Katy Perry said she picked the song for Grace because she was inspired when Celine Dion sang it.

“You did not just take that one higher than Celine,” Katy said.

“You took this song to another level,” Luke Bryan added.

8:10 p.m. ET
The judges picked the opening songs for the contestants. Willie Spence was challenged to take on a Ray Charles classic, “Georgia On My Mind.” He delivered with one of the strongest performances of his ‘Idol’ journey and had the judges on their feet.

“You have delivered since the day you walked into the audition,” Luke said.

“You are a religious experience and you do it every time,” Lionel Richie added. “That was a great performance.”

8:20 p.m.
Chayce Beckham says put himself on this journey for the blue collar worker. His opening song: “Blackbird” by the Beatles.

“You’ve earned your bass fishing trip,” Luke said. “Win or lose, we’re going fishing!”

8:30 p.m.

Ryan Seacrest says it’s a super close race as we head to the Hometown song segment of the competition. Earlier in the week, Grace returned to her hometown in Lakewood, Illinois including a visit to her high school and a parade. She dedicated “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston, starting off acapella and then taking the song to a new level.

“Grace just sang her heart out,” Katy said.

“You just took a Whitney Houston song and took it up two,” Lionel said.

8:40 p.m.
Willie Spence returned to Douglas, Georgia and a visit to his high school where he first became famous singing a viral cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in 2017. He also had an emotional reunion with his mom and family. The town even threw a pep rally.

He dedicated the civil rights anthem “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.

“We’ve heard this song many times on this show, but we’ve never heard it done like that,” Luke Bryan said.

The performance left all of the judges emotional.

8:55 p.m.
Chayce Beckham, 24, hails from Apple Valley, California. His mom and stepfather signed him up for American Idol after a horrible accident last year that changed his life. Chayce was welcomed home by family, friends and the entire community as he performed during a drive-in celebration.

For his dedication song, Chayce choose “Fire Away” by Chris Stapleton.

“What a great choice for your voice, for your whole demeanor,” Lionel said.

FIRST ELIMINATION
After a salute to the new “In The Heights” movie and a commercial break, the top 3 would become the top 2.

But first, ‘Idol’ contestant Alyssa Wray returned to perform “Black Like Me” with country superstar Mickey Guyton.

And now the first result of the night…

The top 2 are Willie Spence and Chayce Beckham.

9:20 p.m.
A break from the competition featured “Story of the Season” – an original song by jingle master and former Idol contestant Tom McGovern.

Fall Out Boy then took the stage to perform “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” featuring backup vocals from Willie, Chayce, Deshawn Goncalves and Hunter Metts.

The legendary Chaka Khan was next up singing “I’m Every Woman” with Grace, Casey Bishop, and other former contestants.

LIVE IDOL ENCORE
After the new ‘Idol’ is crowned, fans can play a part in bringing back a favorite finalist for an additional national TV appearance: a special encore performance on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” via “Live’s ‘American Idol’ Encore.” Tune in Monday morning! The new American Idol will also appear on Monday’s show.

The search for next season’s Idol has already begun. Visit AmericanIdol.com/auditions to learn more.

You can see every performance on American Idol’s YouTube channel and watch the full episodes anytime on Hulu.

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