Previously, Willie Spence was predicted (according to early odds) to be the winner of American Idol with an 11/1 chance. GoldDerby reported from their date that his closest contender was Grace Kinstler, whose odds were 13/1.
Spence was predicted to break the American Idol “curse” and become the first Black male winner since the “Velvet Teddy Bear” himself, Ruben Studdard. However, that may not be the case now
Although Spence headed into Disney Night as the clear front runner, according to GoldDerby, a new challenger made is now the frontrunner due to a twist that has divided fans. Arthur Gunn was a previous contestant on Season 18 of American Idol. The singer/songwriter fell short of reality glory when he lost to Just Sam.
Gunn received his second chance when producers of American Idol invited him and several others from Season 18 to compete for a spot on Season 19’s Top 10. They were allowed to have a chance to come back because the season took place last year in the heat of COVID-19 pandemic and was primarily virtual. Each Season 18 challenger sang one song. Gunn chose “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls and was selected as the winner of the challenge.
Gunn’s performance of “Remember Me” from Coco on Disney Night won favor from the judges who applauded his ability to give the Oscar-winning ballad rock adaptation. Spence’s performance of “Circle of Life” from The Lion King received praise from the judges. Lionel Richie stated Spence could “sing anything and make it his own.” Luke Bryan “declared he was magic” and Katy Perry “loved his musical arrangement.”
Now, Spence, Kinstler, and Gunn are leading the competition with Caleb Kennedy, Casey Bishop, Chayce Beckham, and Hunter Metts completing the top 10. Previously Casey Bishop rounded out the top three with Spence and Kinstler. Bishop’s odds were at 14/1. She was preceded by Chayce Beckham, whose odds were 18/1.
In all of the seasons that American Idol has been on television, there has only been one Black male singer that has won. The show hasn’t seen a Black male runner-up. Spence is still vying to break that curse.