Sunday night's episode of American Idol featured an emotional tribute to the late Nick Cordero and his wife, Amanda Kloots. As the Top 4 contestants took the stage vying for a spot in the grand finale, they were mentored by producer Finneas, the brother of singer Billie Eilish and winner of multiple Grammy Awards, with his song, "What They'll Say About Us," being sung in a duet performance by Willie Spence and Grace Kinstler.
In a pre-packaged tape from their performances, Finneas told the contestants he wrote the song last year as Cordero, a Broadway star, fought for his life in the ICU after contracting the coronavirus. His wife documented his months-long hospitalization. As he followed along the emotional journey, Finneas said he began wondering "what it must be like sitting in a hospital by the bedside of your loved one and looking outside and seeing protests, tanks." Cordero was initially hospitalized in late March 2020 and spent 95 days in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, during which he suffered numerous setbacks, before dying on July 5 from complications of COVID-19 at the age of 41. Finneas said he felt as though he was "losing a loved one that wasn't even my loved one."
"Had I known about your voices I would have given this song right to you when I first wrote it," Finneas told Spence and Kinstler. "They can sing anything and they're making me so proud. They're gonna make Amanda proud. The fact that they're singing this is just a real honor"
Spence and Kinstler's duet of "What They'll Say About Us" not only earned them a standing ovation from the audience, but also from judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie, who praised the performance. The performance was also shown some love from Kloots, who shared a screenshot of the duet performance to her Instagram Story with a heart.
Sunday night's episode came just days after former contestant Caleb Kennedy exited the competition after a video resurfaced showing the teen sitting next to someone apparently wearing a KKK hood. As a result, there were only four contestants singing during Sunday's episode, and Idol moved forward with just a single elimination. Rocker Casey Bishop, 16, was ultimately sent home after performing her new single "Love Me, Leave Me." Kinstler, Spence, and fellow contestant Chayce Beckham were chosen as the Top 3 following the nationwide vote. They will move forward to the grand finale, a special three-hour live coast-to-coast season finale, next Sunday beginning at 8:00 p.m. Along with broadcasting live on ABC, Idol episodes can also be watched for free on FuboTV or on Hulu With Live TV with a free trial. For all of the latest Idol updates, stay tuned to PopCulture!