There have been a lot of changes for reality singing contest American Idol over the years — moving from Fox to ABC, shortening the season, changing the judges again…and again, but some of the shows original staples have survived the test of time. Ryan Seacrest is still hosting, and as always, this season hes sending the contests top three on celebratory hometown tours.
This year, one of them is from L.A. Countys very own city of Pomona. Alejandro Aranda, known before American Idol as “Scary Pool Party,” made his name locally with a distinctive musical style including falsetto vocals and guitar picking wizardry, along with a ton of originality.
Pomonas declaring Tuesday “Alejandro Aranda Day,” and theyre rolling out the red carpet. Theyre closing down streets starting at 10 a.m., with an afternoon parade set to start at 4:30, which will lead up to the historic Fox Theater. The mayor will be making a personal presentation to Alejandro, followed by a free concert around 6:30, on an outdoor stage thats been constructed right in front of the theater.
“It kind of feels surreal, to be honest,” Alejandro told ABC7. “Theres obviously people coming out and showing love, and that means a lot to me.”
Video: Laine Hardy Sings “Cant You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band – Bobbys Pick – American Idol 2019
“We think its incredible,” Pomona Deputy City Manager Mark Gluba told LAist. “We think its done nothing but reflect positively on the community. And Alejandros done nothing but praise Pomona.”
The citys been taking an active interest in Alejandros success, posting about him on their facebook page and calling him their “homie.”
How the American Idol Top 3 Plan to Win the Competition
Alejandros such a hometown favorite, even the police department shared pro-Alejandro sentiments on social media.
-Kool + The Gang will perform a medley of “Hollywood Swinging,” “Ladies Night” and “Celebrate” with the top 10.
Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval is the one who clued the rest of the citys government into Alejandros American Idol fame, after seeing his audition.
“I think [Alejandro] felt all along that he was kind of destined to make the final three and be Pomonas idol here,” Gluba said.
Among the other performers will be several of the show’s most successful alumni: season 4 champ Carrie Underwood will perform solo while season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert will duet with Dimitrius Graham, who made it to the Top 10. And Top 8 artist Alyssa Raghu is expected to sing with rising country music star Kane Brown, who once auditioned for “Idol.”
Video: Alejandro Aranda Sings “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” by Elton John – American Idol 2019
The event had to come together even faster than Alejandros guitar playing. The city got a call from American Idol two weeks ago letting them know that Alejandro had just made the final six — and that if he made it past another round, the finalists communities would all have to plan a parade and free concert for their hometown visits, Gluba said. A couple of those communities wont get to hold those events, thanks to their contestants getting eliminated Sunday night — but Alejandro made it through.
Its a big event — based on feedback and what theyve heard from other communities, Pomona is expecting crowds in the 10,000 range, and Gluba said it could even be double that number.
“Its all speculation,” Gluba said. “Weve anecdotally heard stories of people that are coming in from Washington, from Nevada, from Oregon, driving up from San Diego, flying down from San Francisco. Were planning as if its an extremely large-scale event.”
“This isnt just a Pomona thing,” Gluba said. “Theres folks from throughout the region that are saying, This is our guy. This is the local guy, we identify with him, we want to come out and support him.”
The city had originally been told by Idol to expect five to seven songs, with the clockin in at around half an hour — but Alejandro wanted to do more, according to Gluba. Alejandro is known for being a prolific songwriter, doing a number of originals on the show, so hes got plenty of material — they city has been told the show could now run longer than an hour. Originals often backfire on contestants, but Alejandros tunes have consistently shocked the judges and audiences with their quality, making him an instant fan favorite.
Fellow Pomona singer-songwriter Ben Harper will be appearing alongside Alejandro at the concert. Hes appeared on American Idol before, doing a duet with the younger musician and giving him his seal of approval.
The spring 2019 American Idol finale airs Sunday, May 19. Bryan will sing his latest hit, "Knockin' Boots," and also perform alongside be performing alongside just-ousted contestant Laci Kaye Booth. Additional country performers include Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown (with Alyssa Raghu), Dan + Shay (with finalist Madison Vandenburg) and Jon Pardi, who will sing with finalist Laine Hardy.
Alejandro is gaining folk-hero status in Pomona — local artists even painted a 20-by-30-foot mural of him on the side of the Alley Gallery, which is along the parade route. The Idol crew is already in town filming the mural and shooting more footage around town, with highlights from the event set to air during Sunday nights episode of the show. A chalk art mural of Alejandro is also planned for the front of the Fox Theater.
Video: Laine Hardy Sings “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John – American Idol 2019
The parade has a relatively short route, focused around Alejandro — its set to include him and perhaps a couple more vehicles, along with the Garey High School Band and police escorts, according to Gluba.
Who Is Alejandro Arandas Hero Twin Shadow? Heres What American Idol Hasnt Shown
They are encouraging the public to start lining the parade route early, starting at 3 p.m. The city is also offering free shuttles to and from the parade and concert areas, as well as making all downtown public parking free for the duration of the event.
American Idol: Wade Cota was robbed of a place in the Top 3, say 56% of season 17 viewers
Pomonas street closures could make getting around downtown challenging, according to Gluba. The toughest on the community, he said, will be the closure of Gary Avenue — one of the citys major corridors. A soft closure of the street will start at 3, with a hard closure at 4.
You can find all the details about Pomonas free Alejandra Aranda Day events on Facebook, as well as street closures, shuttles, and more.
On the May 12 episode of “American Idol,” the Top 5 sang three songs apiece: one in honor of Mother’s Day, another picked by mentor Bobby Bones, and a third from the Elton John back catalog. Only three of the five contestants made it through based on their votes from the public: Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg. This result meant the end of the road for Laci Kaye Booth and Wade Cota (Was one of them robbed of a place in the final?)
We asked for your predictions as to which of the three finalists will go all the way to win season 17 on May 19. “Idol” fans remain divided between two of the artists: Alejandro has 49% of the viewers vote as of this writing and Laine is at 39%. Each is up by eight points from last week, as they split the support for Wade. The third contender for the season 17 title, Madison, lags behind with just 12% support. She picked up a little of the love for Laci but is still a longshot to win.
If you haven’t made your “American Idol” winner predictions, scroll down to review the songs that the Top 3 have sung throughout the competition and then cast a ballot for your favorite. And be sure to sound off on this ABC revival of “American Idol” in the comments section.
American Idol finalist takes a risk by honoring a surprising real-life idol
Alejandro Aranda Top 40: “Yellow” by Coldplay Top 20 Solo: “I Fall Apart” by Post Malone Top 20 Duet: with Ben Harper on “There Will Be A Light” by Harper Top 14 Song 1: “One Dance” by Drake Top 14 Song 2: “Cholo Love” (original song) Top 10 Song: “Remember Me” from “Coco” Top 8 Song: “Under Pressure” by QueenTop 6 Song 1: “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane Top 6 Song 2: “Poison” (original song) Top 5 Song 1: “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” by Elton John Top 5 Song 2: “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers Top 5 Song 3: Original song, “Blesser”
Laine Hardy Top 40: “Come Together” by The Beatles Top 20 Solo: “Bring It On Home” by Sonny Boy Williamson Top 20 Duet: with Elle King on “The Weight” by The BandTop 14 Song 1: “That’s Alright Mama by Elvis Presley Top 14 Song 2: “Hurricane” Top 10 Song: “Oo-De-Lally” from “Robin Hood” Top 8 Song: “Fat Bottomed Girls” by QueenTop 6 Song 1: “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Ray Charles Top 6 Song 2: “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck BerryTop 5 Song 1: “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John Top 5 Song 2: “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band Top 5 Song 3: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles
Madison VanDenburg Top 40: “Who’s Lovin’ You” by The Miracles Top 20 Solo: “Domino” by Jessie J. Top 20 Duet: with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo on “We Belong” by Benatar Top 14 Song 1: “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys Top 14 Song 2: “You and I” by Lady Gaga Top 10 Song: “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” Top 8 Song: “The Show Must Go On” by Queen Top 6 Song 1: “Piece Of My Heart” by Janis Joplin Top 6 Song 2: “I Surrender” by Celine DionTop 5 Song 1: “Your Song” by Elton John Top 5 Song 2: “What About Us” by Pink Top 5 Song 3: “Make You Feel Me Love” by Adele
American Idols Alejandro Aranda Writes One Song a Day During Hectic Production Schedule
Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and a $100 Amazon gift card. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.