The season 20 finale of “American Idol” is just around the corner, and the beloved franchise has an impressive lineup slated to perform. Following Sunday evening’s episode (May 15), PEOPLE exclusively announced the stars that will be gracing the “American Idol” stage in Hollywood.
Talented contestants – HunterGirl, Leah Marlene, and Noah Thompson are the three moving forward to the finale and will be competing for the grand title. The winner of the competition will score a recording contract and $250,000.
Nerves and tension will be at an all-time high during the three-hour-long finale on Sunday, May 22. TV junkies will have to sit through numerous performances before host Ryan Seacrest announces the champion.
“American Idol” judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie are set to kick off the star-studded affair with unforgettable acts. The “Firework” singer will return to the spotlight to join country crooner Thomas Rhett to perform their recently released duet, “Where We Started.”
Fans voting from home can also expect to hear from Idol prodigy Carrie Underwood, alum Gabby Barrett, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ben Platt, Deana Carter, James Arthur, Sara Bareilles, Melissa Etheridge, Flo Rida, and Tai Verdes.
Award-winning artist Michael Bublé will be joining forces with competitor Christian Guardino, who received a spot in the top seven. America will have the power to choose the season 20 winner, but Idol is shaking up the process this time around. ABC called in legend Bruce Springsteen to cast his ballot.
Previously on the hit television show, Underwood appeared as a mentor. In order to make it to the next round, contestants were required to sing a song from her impressive collection. While Underwood’s chart-topping hits could be challenging to cover, she provided a helping hand and individually coached each musician.
Before competitor Noah Thompson could rub elbows with Underwood, he tested positive for COVID-19. Therefore, the two had to connect via video chat. Their heart-to-heart conversation instantly brought the eight-time GRAMMY winner to tears.
“I do feel like this show was created for people like me, for people like Noah who didn’t know to dream that big but knew that they wanted to do something,” she explained to the cameras. “So it’s a beautiful thing. I mean I think back and that’s a decision that changed my entire life — I have no idea where I’d be. And to see contestants get every opportunity they’ve ever wanted is just magical,” she voiced while also reflecting on her own Idol experience.
The music hopeful performed smash single “So Small,” to honor individuals tirelessly working to make ends meet. Thompson’s remarkable rendition earned him a seat in the top three. The hopeful spoke out about his emotional connection with Underwood after the performance.
“We just kind of relate in that way – from a small town and want to make something of yourself, and it’s hard. So for her to say that, to know she felt something for me – that was really amazing,” he shared in a press conference.
The fast-rising star will perform one last time for America and alongside A-listers during the season finale on Sunday (May 22) at 8 PM ET on ABC.