Plans in works for 'American Idol' parade in Crystal Lake

  • Lakewood native Grace Kinstler performs "Into the Unknown" during the "Disney Night" episode of "American Idol," which aired Sunday, May 2.

    Lakewood native Grace Kinstler performs "Into the Unknown" during the "Disney Night" episode of "American Idol," which aired Sunday, May 2. Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

By Cassie Buchman
Shaw Media
Updated 5/9/2021 5:20 PM

If Crystal Lake Central High School graduate Grace Kinstler, already a top contender on "American Idol," ends up in the show's top 5, a "Hometown Parade" is set to happen in downtown Crystal Lake later this month.

A concert also would take place either at the Crystal Lake Central High School's football field, RedTail Golf Course in Lakewood or McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock.


The show's producers will choose the best concert venue, according to a supplement attached to the agenda for Crystal Lake's meeting Tuesday. Both Crystal Lake and Lakewood approved the events at recent meetings.

Voting for the top 5 "American Idol" contestants begins tonight and continues Monday.

If Kinstler is successful, the parade would take place either Tuesday, May 18, or Wednesday, May 19, in downtown Crystal Lake, according to city documents. An exact time has not been determined, but it would use the same route as Crystal Lake's Festival of Lights parade.

This would not be a typical parade, with a long line of floats, city staff noted. The only other participants, besides the Lakewood native's car and film crew vehicles, would be Crystal Lake Central High School's cheerleaders, Tiger Buddies and band. Students in the Tiger Buddy program participate in monthly outings to help other students with special needs socialize and build relationships.

"The goal is to provide an opportunity for as many residents as possible to have a socially distanced space to view the parade and provide a wonderful backdrop to the filming of this celebration to be aired on national television," city staff said in the agenda supplement.

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Lakewood Trustee April Runge, speaking at a village board meeting last month, said "American Idol" is committed to having a safe event and adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.

Capacity limits Crystal Lake city staff provided to "American Idol" assume the state will still be in Phase 4 "Restore Illinois" guidelines.

Streets that would be closed at the start of the parade include: Woodstock Street between Walkup Avenue and Caroline Street and between Grant and Williams streets; Caroline Street between Woodstock Street and Crystal Lake Avenue; Crystal Lake Avenue between Caroline and Williams streets; Grant Street between Crystal Lake Avenue and Woodstock Street; and Williams Street between Woodstock Street and Crystal Lake Avenue.

The streets will reopen when the parade route clears.

Kinstler, 20, has had success on "American Idol" since she brought judge Luke Bryan to tears during her audition on the show's season premiere in February. All three of the "American Idol" judges from this year -- Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie -- said they ranked her up with some of the best voices they ever heard on the show.

Most recently, Kinstler performed the song "Into the Unknown" from the film "Frozen 2." Perry raved over Kinstler's performance.

"Oh my goddess!" she exclaimed. "It was like you had the whole room controlled with your voice. It was awesome."

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