Season 21 finale American Idol is just days away, which means one of the last remaining contestants, Iam Tongi, Colin Stough or Megan Danielle, will soon take home the top honor in the talent competition.
But which one?
While fans have their favorites — and one of the three candidates appears to be the judges’ favorite, too — there’s really no way to know for sure until the final live vote takes place on Sunday, May 21.
However, there is a way to see how the finalists stack up against each other before the big day.
When Stough, 18, of Gattman, Mississippi, introduced himself to viewers, he talked about his family’s roots in the South, the pain caused by his absentee father and the lessons he learned taming horses. Basically, it was the perfect cowboy backdrop for a young man who loves country music and a heavy edge.
The first song he sang American Idol was his audition bid, a powerful rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” prompting panelist Luke Bryan to declare Stough an example of “what Idol is about.”
Why he could win: There is something in that comment from Brian. Last three of four winners away American Idol they were male country singers. Stough is popular among fans, with more than 4 million views on YouTube, 128,000 followers on Instagram and over 303,500 on TikTok.
Besides, he’s already survived probably better singersso winning wouldn’t be a shock for him.
Why not: The fact is that he is not the best vocalist left in the competition. That honor belongs to Tongi.
At 20, Douglasville, Georgia native Danielle credits her late grandfather with setting her on her current musical path. Before the audition, she explained that when she was performing in bars, her “Paw Paw” told her, “This is not what you should be doing.” He wondered how she could “sing for God” while singing in those institutions.
Then she switched to Christian music, a genre she introduced during her Idol.
Why she could win: Danielle isn’t just a Christian singer – she’s a country-Christian singer, and of course, country music goes a long way Idol. But something else works in her favor. Of the remaining contestants, Danielle has shown the most growth as a vocalist. She may not be better than Stough or Tongi, but she’s a lot better than she was when she joined the show.
Danielle has almost 3 million views on YouTube, almost 89,000 followers on Instagram and 60,400 followers on TikTok.
Why not: To put it plainly, it simply doesn’t measure up to the competition.
Now to Tonga
Tongi, an 18-year-old high school senior, won the hearts of the judges as soon as his audition began. First there was his grief at being “kicked out of paradise” when he was forced to move from his native Kahuku, Hawaii to Seattle, Washington, and then, quickly overshadowing that, there was the fact that he had lost his father just a few months earlier.
His rendition of James Blunt’s father-son ballad, “Monsters,” left Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Bryan in tears and unanimous in their vote to send him to Hollywood. He immediately stood out as an early favorite in the competition, and has since continued to impress with his island-style soulful vocals.
Why he could win: If Tongi’s consistent performances and moving deliveries weren’t enough to propel him to the top, his sheer likability was. This can be seen on YouTube, where his videos have garnered more than 32 million views, and on social networks, where currently has over 489,000 followers on Instagram and 820,500 plus is TikTok.
The judges were raving about him the whole time Idol trip, with Richie calling Tongi a “phenomenon” and Perry heaping more praise on him.
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” she said after his semi-final performances. “I know you’re me, but when I see your name, I see ‘I’m… the next American Idol.’
Why not: Perry’s high praise could be a demotivating factor for the singer’s fans, who might simply assume he’s an up-and-comer and feel no urgency to add their voices. But that’s not the biggest threat he faces.
The public’s aforementioned love of country music might overshadow their love of Tongi.
Forbes – Business