Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Top 3 Season 19 penultimate episode of American Idol. Read at your own risk!
Ryan Seacrest mentioned during the latest American Idol episode that this season boasted the most talented Top 4 competitors that the long-running competition series has seen in a while, and it's hard to deny that claim. Alas, that group was cut down by one to solidify the Top 3 going into the finale, with fan-favorite Casey Bishop getting sent home, and it still remains anyone's game.
Of course, just about everyone was was left going into American Idol's Top 4 could be considered a fan favorite. Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler, and Chayce Beckham have all clearly cultivated strong followings in this wild season. And while Casey Bishop was talented enough to be pegged early on to win it all, she'll now sit on the sidelines while the three remaining hopefuls battle it out for the win. But who's going to be the one to take the victory?
Willie Spence was another competitor that sparked finale predictions with viewers since since his first audition, though Casey Bishop's elimination now has me ready to think Spence could lose out in next Sunday's finale. He has all the talent in the world, don't get me wrong, but his brand of soulful singing is the kind that American Idol's audience tends to champion right up until the end.
Meanwhile, I feel like both Grace Kinstler and Chayce Beckham skirted by in the earlier live shows with serviceable performances, but that both have also delivered some phenomenal performances down the stretch. Kinstler specifically seems to build on her already impressive talents with each passing week, and she even managed to put her own spin on Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" in the ultimate Idol throwback.
The current outcome of American Idol (barring any more contestants being pulled from the competition prematurely) is that either Willie Spence will win, playing into fans' long-held expectations, or he'll be upset by either Grace Kinstler or Chayce Beckham. Which isn't to say that the latter two aren't deserving of a straightforward victory, but even after Casey Bishop's elimination, I'm still giving Spence the slight edge to win it all. That said, he'll probably need to end the season out with his best performances to ensure he emerges on top.
With that being said, I feel this season, arguably more than any others in quite a while, has resulted in a finale where it doesn't really matter who wins American Idol, since all three deserve post-Idol success, regardless. If the main goal of winning Idol is securing a record deal, it's hard to believe any these three (plus Casey Bishop) won't be fielding offers from labels the minute they're available. Sure, winning the competition is nice for the cred, but given the number of contestants that have found mainstream success without a win, it's not at all necessary to walk away a champion to get one's career jump-started. Let us know in the poll below who you think will win it all!