'American Idol' Top 3 Reveal Their Finale Strategies: Being 'Fierce,' Drinking Water & Taking a 'Dope Nap'

Michael Becker/ FOX
Trent Harmon, La'Porsha Renae and Dalton Rapattoni, the top 3 on American Idol, photographed on March 31, 2016.

Thousands auditioned; three remain.

American Idol’s “farewell season” (not the final season, as series creator Simon Fuller has already announced the series will be back) concludes with a two-night finale that begins Wednesday night (April 6) on Fox at 8 p.m. ET. And the winner of season 15 will be Trent Harmon, Dalton Rapattoni or La’Porsha Renae.

Billboard caught up with the top three backstage at Idol for one more round of interviews before their final performances.

The first thing we wanted to know from Trent Harmon was, whose dog was that? When his family showed up to surprise him last week, they had a mini-Schnauzer in tow. “It’s a joint dog between my sister and myself,” Harmon revealed. “But until I get home, they’re watching over her for me.” And how did the pooch handle her visit to Hollywood? “She was not impressed. It must have been her nap time because she slept through the whole show. Which is a good thing because it could have gone two ways. She could have been crazy but she was chillin’.”

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Billboard asked Harmon if he had a plan for the finale. “Get plenty of rest when you can, drink plenty of water, mind your business and learn the lyrics. Those are the four things I try to do every day on Idol.”

And how is Trent handling meeting the 50-plus Idols from past seasons who are joining him on Thursday’s ultimate finale? “I’ve been watching them my whole life. I thought I would follow in their footsteps if I ever got the opportunity, and now it’s my turn. You don’t think about that when you’re in the fifth grade and there’s a tornado drill but you’re wishing that you could go home and watch Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini on American Idol.”

Our first question for Dalton Rapattoni: After being in the bottom two, was he concerned about not making the top three? “I was incredibly concerned about it,” he admitted. “I was 100 percent sure I was going home. MacKenzie [Bourg] and I talked about it because he thought he was going home. We argued about it. I ended up going through and it blew my mind, as it always does.” And his strategy for winning? “You know I don’t strategize. I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I’m going to try my best to connect with my songs. I’m going to talk to America a little bit more. I’m going to take a dope nap. I’m not a social person; I love talking to people but I’m an introvert. I’m going to take a break from communication for two days.” Rapatonni was clearly still on an emotional high after his home visit. “I never cried out of happiness before.”

Like Harmon, La’Porsha Renae has been watching Idol since the beginning and has been looking forward to meeting all of the past Idols. “I’m going to be starstruck and fangirling. I can’t wait to meet Jennifer Hudson, Tamyra Gray, George Huff, Ruben Studdard and I love me some Clay Aiken. I already met Chris Daughtry, but I’m going to fangirl him.”

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La’Porsha says whether she stays or goes, she is prepared for either. “Last week wasn’t my best with rock week. It threw me off a little bit. I was bracing myself [for elimination], and when I went through, I was so humbled and thankful. Now I’m going to show a side of me I haven’t shown before. I’m going to be fierce.”

Billboard asked La’Porsha what it was like to sit onstage with her parents. “It was the best feeling ever. My parents got to see all my hard work pay off. I was so blessed to have them there with me. It was like honoring them for everything they’ve ever done for me.” And did her family enjoy the experience? “My mom hates being on camera. My dad loves it -- he eats it up!”


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