WATCH: Top 3 ‘American Idol’ Finalists Surprised with Superstar Finale Duet Partners

The American Idol finalists, Noah Thompson, Leah Marlene, and HunterGirl, will soon share the stage with special duet partners during…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 18, 2022


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Leah Marlene, Noah Thompson, HunterGirl; Photo by ABC American Idol

The American Idol finalists, Noah Thompson, Leah Marlene, and HunterGirl, will soon share the stage with special duet partners during the season finale of the popular singing competition show.

Luke Bryan and Katy Perry surprised the Top 3 contestants with finale duet partners following the latest Idol episode. 

On Wednesday (May 18), American Idol shared a video of Bryan and Perry with Thompson, Marlene and Huntergirl showcasing the moment the superstar judges revealed the news to the fan-favorite contestants. 

YouTube video

Perry told Marlene 

After seeing a video of Marlene singing her 2010 hit, “Firework,” on the internet, Perry decided to have Marlene join her for a duet of the chart-topping hit on the final episode. 

“They asked us ‘what do you want to do?’ and I was like ‘well, you know, I did see a video of Leah Marlene singing ‘Firework’ when she was like 9 years old.’ I watched that video and was like ‘how powerful would that be if we sang that together on the finale,” Perry said to Marlene as she quickly became overcome with emotion. ”Listen, I only save that song for inaugural events and Leah Marlene.”

“Yes, Please,” Marlene, who was all smiles, shouted.

Leah Marlene, Noah Thompson, HunterGirl; Photo by ABC American Idol
Leah Marlene, Noah Thompson, HunterGirl; Photo by ABC American Idol

Following Marlene’s surprise from Perry, Luke Bryan then surprised HunterGirl with an invitation to sing a classic country hit with him during the finale. 

“I don’t have a single to promote or anything that’s about helping my career. You and I are going to perform ‘I Told You So’ by Randy Travis on the finale. Picked by me,” Bryan revealed to HunterGirl.

“Oh my God that’s going to be insane,” HunterGirl gushed.

After Marlene and HunterGirl’s duet partners were revealed, it was Noah Thompson’s turn.

“Noah, our friend reached out and wanted to sing with you. Her name is Melissa Etheridge,” Perry told Thompson, who replied, “Sounds good!” 

After Perry and Bryan, exited the room, Marlene, Thompson and HunterGirl shared their excitement. 

“This is crazy!” Thompson admitted, before Marlene said, “I’m gonna sing with Katy Perry! Oh my God, it just gets crazier and crazier.”

HunterGirl added, “This is wild!”

The Top 3 Idol finalists will face off during the season finale of Idol singing Bruce Springsteen covers and their debut singles for America’s vote for a chance to be crowned the next American Idol.

The three-hour season finale of Idol will feature a star-studded list of performances from the Idol judges as well as Idol alums Carrie Underwood and Gabby Barrett, who previously appeared during season 20 to mentor contestants.

Deana Carter, Ben Platt, James Arthur, Sara Bareilles, Earth, Wind & Fire, Melissa Etheridge, Flo Rida and Tai Verdes will also take the stage during American Idol’s final episode of Season 20.

Top 7 contestant Christian Guardino will also return to the Idol stage for a duet alongside Michael Bublé.

Additionally, Perry will join Thomas Rhett later in the show to deliver the live debut of their duet, “Where We Started,” a track from Rhett’s latest project of the same name.

American Idol’s season finale will air live coast-to-coast on ABC beginning at 8/7c.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.