Voting opened for Crystal Lake Central grad Grace Kinstler on ‘American Idol’

Other McHenry County native, Althea Grace of Algonquin, was eliminated

The public voting round of “American Idol” began Sunday, April 4, meaning McHenry County residents have had a chance to vote for one of their own: Grace Kinstler of Lakewood.

Althea Grace, a 21-year-old Algonquin native who graduated from Dundee-Crown High School, was eliminated during the show’s Showstopper round where the remaining 64 contestants performed in front of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan for a spot in the top 24 contestants.

Grace sang “We Can Work It Out,” originally by The Beatles, and while Perry said Grace fought and was good, it “wasn’t the right song.”

“Now is the time we can’t play it safe anymore,” Perry said. “You gotta dig deeper … I’m sorry that I’m going to have to let you go home. But I think you found a new level.”

During Grace’s first performance that got her to Hollywood, she sang a song she wrote for her daughter, Lennon, now 2, who became sick in January 2020 and needed a liver transplant.

Lennon has a feeding tube, which got pulled out when the contestants were rehearsing for an earlier round of the show, so she had to go to the hospital.

“Being away from my daughter like this for the first time ever, was already hard enough,” Grace said. “I was feeling angry and upset that she had to go through that and I wasn’t there. I think it really helped me channel that into the performance.”

Lennon got to go home and is now “feeling great,” Grace said on the show.

For Kinstler’s “Showstopper” round, she sang “Father” by Demi Lovato, which she dedicated to her own father, who died last year.

“The feeling when my dad was gone was the most awful feeling I’ve ever felt in my life,” Kinstler said. “I feel like that’s something that really has made me who I am today. I want to share that with the judges because I feel like that will help them know me a little bit more.”

After her performance, Kinstler told Perry being on “American Idol” still feels “surreal.”

“Grace, it’s real,” Perry said in response. “And it’s getting realer. Welcome to the top 24.”


Cassie Buchman

I cover Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove, Prairie Grove and Oakwood Hills for the Northwest Herald.