And then there were three! Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg will duke it out to become the next American Idol during the Sunday, May 19, season 2 finale.
The finalists were announced during the Sunday, May 12, episode of the ABC series. The top five each performed three songs, including an Elton John tune, a track in honor of Mother’s Day and a selection from in-house mentor Bobby Bones. Before the episode’s end, Laci Kaye Booth and Wade Cota were eliminated.
Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie may be surprised by the outcome of the finale, but it would not be the first time there have been unexpected turns this season. “What’s interesting about tonight is that there was a curveball, I thought,” the pop star, 34, told Us Weekly after the May 5 episode, during which the trio had to save a contestant from going home. “[It] threw us through a loop. So that’s why at the end we were like, ‘What is happening?’ I’m not sure, I think, you hear these whispers like, ‘Oh, American Idol is this format, that format.’ It feels like change is in the air.”
The 69-year-old crooner added: “The two or three people at the beginning were the people we were thinking, ‘OK, they’re going to have a shot.’ It threw us off. We were in shock when they asked us for our vote. But, I’m going to say this, they’ve all won now. Don’t think of the winner.”
Perry echoed the sentiment after Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon was eliminated. “I did not love doing that. I’m really tired. I need a double margarita,” she quipped. “But also I want Jeremiah to know, number one, that we love him and we support him. It’s written in the stars for him. And historically, if you look at people that didn’t win and how far they’ve come, he’s OK.”
Scroll to learn more about each of the American Idol finalists!
The season finale of American Idol airs on ABC Sunday, May 19, at 8 p.m. ET.