Lakewood native and “American Idol” finalist Grace Kinstler was one of three contestants who America voted Sunday to proceed to the show’s final round next week.
At the outset of Sunday’s episode, Kinstler won the praise of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan as well as host Ryan Seacrest with her performance of “A Moment Like This,” by Kelly Clarkson.
“You gave us the chills,” Seacrest said. “Watching that was beautiful.”
Kinstler’s success also means she’ll receive a hometown celebration sometime this week. City officials did not confirm when the celebration will take place, only that a parade may happen on Tuesday or Wednesday.
A concert also is expected to take place, although the final details of the full celebration had not yet been announced as of Sunday evening. The show’s producers will choose the concert venue, according to a previous Crystal Lake meeting agenda.
The singers this week were mentored by Finneas, an award-winning songwriter and producer and brother to singer-songwriter Billie Eilish.
“A person as great as Grace is, you know she’ll be inspired she’ll rise to the challenge,” Finneas said during Sunday’s episode.
Kinstler’s performance of “A Moment Like This,” brought judge Lionel Richie to his feet by the song’s conclusion.
“You’ve waited a lifetime for a moment like this,” Richie said, quoting the song’s lyrics.
Clarkson was the winner of the first season of “American Idol” in 2002, and her message is one that Kinstler said she can relate to.
”Kelly Clarkson is another woman in this industry, who’s been very successful,” Kinstler told Finneas in an on-camera interview. “She doesn’t necessarily fit the mold, and I don’t either, and that’s the message that I want to send to the young girls around the world: you don’t have to look a certain way to do the things that you dream of doing.”
Perry also drew parallels between Kinstler and Clarkson, adding that Perry’s own family has said they are rooting for Kinstler’s win.
“I think you are a lot like Kelly Clarkson, and she is a bonafide megastar,” Perry said.
Kinstler also performed a duet of Finneas’ “That’s What They’ll Say About Us” with fellow contestant Willie Spence, who will join Kinstler and co-contestant Chayce Beckham in the show’s finale.
The 20-year-old Crystal Lake Central High School graduate additionally sang her original single “Love Someone,” and a rendition of “Father” by Demi Lovato.
“It is very clear to all of us that you have taken every bit of instruction but that’s not even the point. You came here being you, we just gave you your platform. Artistry: check. Star-power: check. Your future,” Richie said taking a pause, “check.”