NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) – Watch parties are set to take place on Sunday night for the season finale of American Idol.
For months, Normal native Leah Marlene survived auditions, cut rounds and live performances to be one of the final three contestants in the popular singing competition.
Marlene, a 2019 Normal West graduate, enjoys the support of her hometown and wins the hearts of Idol viewers across the country.
On Sunday, families can enjoy two community events celebrating the hometown hero’s rise to stardom and watch together in anticipation of Sunday’s results.
Normal West High School is hosting its third viewing party and begins with activities and food trucks at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re going to take out four food trucks, we’re going to play music outside, sell t-shirts and face paint, and then inside we’ll have our 40-foot screen,” said the social studies teacher and former teacher of Leah Marlene. , John Bierbaum.
This follows Marlene’s return home which included a stop at her alma mater. Bierbaum said he believed from day one that Marlene would win the show.
“The students are so excited, our visit to their hometown was probably one of the best days in our school’s history, the kids really had a blast,” Bierbaum said.
Further afield, Illinois State University is also hosting a watch party at Redbird Arena. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
“It’s a four-sided video scoreboard, so no matter where you’re sitting in the arena, you’ll be able to get a good view,” assistant director of sports communications Mike Williams said.
Williams said it’s not every day someone from Normal is on the national stage. He added that the ISU wanted to do its part to be a good community partner for Bloomington-Normal’s preferred candidate.
“We’re just thrilled to have one of our own doing something so important; his brother is an elder, he went to school here, so there’s a bit of a connection there that way,” Williams said.
The ISU event is free and concession stands will be open.
The Normal West event costs $3.00 to attend.