Tonight is the season finale of ABC’s American Idol. The top seven contestants performed for America’s vote last week, and the top five will be revealed at the start of the finale. By the end of the finale, the winner of this season of Idol will be announced.
The two-hour season finale is presented from the homes of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan as well as host Ryan Seacrest, mentor Bobby Bones, and the homes of the contestants and special guests.
In addition to performances from the Top 5, the episode will also feature performances from the judges and special guests. Academy Award nominee Cynthia Erivo will be joined by the Top 11 to perform a medley of Aretha Franklin songs, Lauren Daigle and the Top 5 will perform “You Say,” and Rascall Flatts will be joined by fan-favorite contestant Doug Kiker to perform “Bless the Broken Road.”
Read on to get to know this season’s top seven contestants.
Arthur Gunn, whose real name is Dinesh Pokharel, is a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Nepal and Wichita, Kansas. He has been singing for six years, and his inspirations include John Martyn, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Bukka White, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker.
Before auditioning for Idol, Gunn performed at coffee shops and uploaded some videos to his YouTube channel. The channel now has over 250,000 subscribers and his best performing video has over 2.5 million views.
Gunn is considered to be a fan-favorite contestant and may very well be the winner of this season depending on what he chooses to perform during the finale.
Louis Knight is a part-time pizza delivery driver and singer-songwriter from Philadelphia. His family moved from the UK to America when he was 10 years old, and he has lived in Philadelphia ever since.
Knight was heavily influenced by the death of his close friend, Russell, who died by suicide on January 10, 2018. Knight’s song, “Change,” which he performed at his audition, was written in tribute to Russell.
Francisco Martin made waves at his audition; he was so nervous that he had a tough time starting his performance and had to be calmed down by Lionel Richie before he finally was able to sing.
Martin has come a long way in the season, and the judges have praised him time and time again for his voice and honesty. Prior to the audition and Idol season, he was a college student studying pre-law in San Francisco.
Julia Gargano is a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Staten Island, New York. In addition to being a singer and songwriter, she plays the guitar and piano. She first started performing at just six years old.
At the time of her audition, Gargano was finishing up her last semester at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. She graduated from New York’s famous LaGuardia Performing Arts High School. She was influenced to audition for American Idol by Alejandro Aranda, the singer-songwriter who won season 16.
Just Sam is a young performer from Harlem, New York who previously made a living by performing in and around New York City’s subway system. The short film titled Sam, Underground was inspired by Sam’s life.
Sam is close with her grandmother, who she sees as the only woman on the earth that truly knows her. Her grandmother raised her after adopting her and her sisters. She has become close with all three Idol judges. She calls Katy Perry “Auntie Katy” and Lionel Richie “Papa Lionel.”
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I'm not a singer I just talk in a funny way to make you want to listen to what I have to say I belt and speak behind melody in hopes you'd think I'm cool And by the looks I'd say That I’m the fool I'm not a genius I just use words in a strange technique I was born to push a broom but not to sweep you off your feet I jump around for the crowd to keep you entertained But behind the curtains I'm just plain I'm too young to be feelin old And all that glistens isn't gold but I don't glisten I don't even glow I'm not a hero just someone to hold a hand through I make the beat my own two feet don't know how to dance to I slap the people with catchy singles and act the man on stage But underneath it I'm the same I ain't a savior but a villain with good intentions Writing so many songs but my mouth can't form a sentence And I am living inside a heart of love who's lease Is about to run up I'm too young to be feelin old And all that glistens isn't gold but I don't glisten I don't even glow X
Jonny West is a singer-songwriter from California who only auditioned for American Idol because his girlfriend, Margie Mays, was also auditioning and convinced him to audition beside her.
She made it to Hollywood Week in Season 17 before being cut; in Season 18, she was cut at the end of Hollywood Week as well, but she encouraged Jonny to continue the season because he had made it through.
West has been releasing music since 2014 and previously released an EP before his Idol audition.
Dillon James is a 26-year-old Idol contestant from Bakersfield, California. He is a guitar lover and has previously won songwriting competitions.
James previously struggled with drugs and alcohol, though he says his family was there for him and brought him back from that path. At the time his audition aired, he said he was close to two years sober. The judges have been extremely supportive of his journey and have expressed that they believe he’ll have a career in music no matter what happens.