NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Watch parties are scheduled to take place Sunday night for the American Idol season finale.
For months, Normal native Leah Marlene has survived auditions, cut rounds and live shows to be one of the final three contestants in the popular singing contest.
Marlene a 2019 Normal West graduate has floods of support from her hometown and is winning over the hearts of Idol viewers across the nation.
Sunday, families can take advantage of 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 holding its third viewing party and it starts with activities and food trucks at 5:30.
“We’re going have four food trucks out, we’re going have music playing outside, going be selling tee shirts and face painting then inside we’ll have our 40-foot screen, said social studies teacher and former teacher of Leah Marlene, John Bierbaum.
This comes on the heels of Marlene’s return home which included a stop at her alma mater. Bierbaum said he believed from day one Marlene would win the show.
“Students are so excited, our hometown visit was probably one of the greatest days in our school’s history, kids have really gotten into it,” Bierbaum said.
Down the road, 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 have a good view,” said assistant director of athletics communications Mike Williams.
Williams said it’s not every day someone from Normal is on the national stage. He added ISU wanted to do its part to be a good community partner for Bloomington-Normal’s favorite contestant.
“We’re just excited that one of our own is doing something so big; her brother is an alum, he went to school here so there’s a little bit of a connection there that way,” Williams said.
ISU’s event is free of charge and concession stands will be open.
Normal West’s event costs $3.00 to attend.