American Idol

Song by song grades for the American Idol finale

The American Idol Season 21 Top 3 of Colin Stough, Megan Danielle and Iam Tongi (ABC Photo)

The American Idol Season 21 Top 3 of Colin Stough, Megan Danielle and Iam Tongi (ABC Photo)


The Top 3 on American Idol square off one last time Sunday night.

And by the end of the three-hour American Idol Season 21 finale, Iam Tongi, Colin Stough or Megan Danielle will be the new American Idol.

Anticipate at least three performances from every member of the Top 3 tonight, including a performance of their new singles.

But this being an American Idol finale, it wouldn’t be complete without guest stars, many of whom will perform duets with members of the Season 21 cast.

Those guest stars will include former Idol judge Keith Urban, Pitbull, TLC, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Daigle, James Blunt, Ellie Goulding, Jazmine Sullivan, Jellyroll, Kylie Minogue, and REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin. Season 2 finalists Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken will also perform a special duet.

Oh, anyone want to guess who Lauren Daigle and James Blunt (of “Monsters” fame) might sing with?

Check back when the show starts for song by song grades for the Top 3.

Meanwhile, here are lots of links previewing tonight’s festivities.

See also
Ranking the Top 3 on American Idol
Check out chart performances for the new singles
The meaning behind those new singles
A look back at Iam Tongi’s Idol performances
A look back at Colin Stough’s Idol performances
A look back at Megan Danielle’s Idol performances

Keith Urban Round:

Megan Danielle, “God Whispered Your Name” — Talk about pressure. Having to open the finale. But Megan is in fine voice. She delivered one heck of a glory note midway through the song. And I really strong ending. Personally, I would have liked something a little more emotional considering she has two rounds to leapfrog either Colin or Iam. Grade: B+

Iam Tongi, “Making Memories of Us” — Iam says this was one of his mother and father’s favorite songs and that his father was a big fan. Damn, that voice. Great song choice by Iam, who delivers it with emotion. A wonderful ending too. And the crowd immediately starts chanting Iam as soon as he finishes singing. Luke called it “perfection.” Grade: A–

Colin Stough, “Stupid Boy” — Another nice song choice. Colin sounds very, very nervous on this. It might have been better if this song had been pure acoustic. Colin dug a little deeper near the end, but what was up with that chuckle near the end. That sorta doesn’t fit the song. Sorry, but that was just okay. Cassadee Pope brought me to tears with that song on The Voice. Grade: C

Hometown visit round:

Megan Danielle, “Faithfully” by Journey — At first, I’m like what, a Journey song? But that might have turned out to be my favorite version of that song I’ve ever heard. Megan sounded fabuluous on the opening. I sorta hoped the song would stay quiet. But it soared and Megan did too. Excellent job. Especially after watching one of those emotional hometown visit packages. Grade: A

Iam Tongi, “Cool Down” — Iam sings. The chants begin again. Nice to see Iam having fun on stage with a less serious song. And one with an island vibe of course. This won’t make a huge impact, but I’m pretty certain Iam is headed to the final two anyway. Grade: B

Colin Stough, “Either Way” by Chris Stapleton — This time, he got the “love you mamma” out of the way at the start of the performance. Again, he sounds nervous at the start of this song. He finds his groove on the chorus, digging in vocally. And that was a nice strong ending. Grade: B

The Top 2

I had Iam Tongi and Megan Danielle ranked one and two heading into the finale. And the first two performance rounds of the night merely convinced me that was correct.

With 13 million votes in … the Top 2 are Iam Tongi and Megan Danielle. Wow, that, folks, is a very nice surprise! Great job, Idol voters.


James Blunt and Iam Tongi, “Monsters” — Wow, that was powerful. Iam teared up halfway through the song, but powered through. Kudos to him for that. Kudos to James Blunt for carrying the last half of the song and supporting Iam. This time, Katy couldn’t hold back her tears. Grade: A

Lauren Daigle and Megan Danielle, “Thank God I Do” — The solo parts of that were wonderful. The harmonies needed some work. Naturally, it couldn’t possibly pack the emotional punch of Iam’s duet. Grade: B

The originals

Megan Danielle, “Dream Girl” — This is my favorite of the Top 3’s originals. It’s a great song and Megan sounds great on it. I wish she had cut loose a little more on this performance. She seemed just a little tight on stage. Grade: B

Iam Tongi, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” — Iam sounds great as always on this. It’s a bit more emotional for the moment. Of course, I’m pretty sure American Idol fans have already picked their favorite at this point. I think Iam carried the night. Grade: B+

And it’s time for the big news at the end of another well-produced, emotional American Idol finale.

Dim the lights! The winner is — Iam Tongi. A well-deserved victory!

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