Grace Kinstler has been wowing the judges and viewers with her performances for weeks on season 19 of American Idol. From the very beginning, it was clear that she has what it takes to be the show’s big winner. Now, she’s a top three finalist, alongside Chayce Beckham and Willie Spence. From Grace’s background in music to the loss of her beloved father and more, here are five key things to know about the rising star:
1. Grace’s audition made Luke Bryan cry.
Grace started out her American Idol audition by singing “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips. When the judges asked about a second song, Grace sang a beautiful rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. Luke Bryan admitted that this was the first time in the 4 years he’s been doing this show that a person singing made him cry.
2. Grace’s father passed away when she was 19.
During her audition, Grace revealed that her father died. “My biggest supporter was definitely my dad. He passed away last February very unexpectedly, so that was really hard,” Grace told the judges. “I know that he would be here right now with me if he were still here, so I’m going to do this for him today…” Later, Grace showed the necklace of her father’s that she wears around her neck.
3. Grace is currently in college.
Grace is a student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. She is originally from Illinois. Another former contestant on this season of Idol, Anilee List, is also a student at Berklee.
4. Grace has a boyfriend.
Grace is dating musician Joseph Wheatley. He has posted a number of sweet messages about Grace. “I’m so proud of everything you’ve accomplished and who you are. I’ve never met anyone quite like you; I’m a lucky guy,” he captioned an Instagram photo of himself with Grace in January 2021. They celebrated their 1-year anniversary in November 2020.
5. Grace has released her own original music.
Grace has several songs she’s released on her own. She dropped two EPs, Remember the People and Lavender, in 2018 and 2019. She’s also released the singles “Ocean Kisses,” “Make a Choice,” and “The World Doesn’t Wait.”