As one of the many guest performers who took the stage during the American Idol finale on Sunday night (May 23), Mickey Guyton joined forces with Top 10 finalist Alyssa Wray for a powerful duet performance of Guyton’s “Black Like Me.”
Wray performed the first verse of the song, with Guyton emerging onto the stage soon after. The two women had an easy camaraderie as they performed the song, with Guyton beaming with pride as she watched Wray sing. In the first chorus, Guyton changed the ending of the line “If you think we live in the land of the free / You should try to be Black like me” to “You should try to be Black like us,” as she smiled at Wray.
“Black Like Me,” which is included on the track list of Guyton’s 2020 EP Bridges, addresses the racial discrimination the singer has faced in her personal and professional life, as well as the widespread inequality she sees in society at large. Guyton has said that she wrote the song as a form of therapy, and didn’t necessarily intend for others to hear it. But during 2020, country music and the U.S. as a whole began to experience a race reckoning following the death of George Floyd, as an increase in nationwide protests began to call for an end to police brutality against Black people.
However, both the overarching message of the song and Guyton’s previous televised performances of it — including, memorably, her performance at the 2021 Grammys — is one of hope. That uplifting and unifying message was once again at the front and center of Guyton and Wray’s performance as they took the stage together for the Idol finale.
While she was eliminated on the show’s Disney night, just before making it into the Top 7, Wray made a big impression during her stint on the show. She was a favorite from the start, and her audition earned high praise from all three of the show’s judges, with some publications likening her performance to Carrie Underwood‘s Idol audition and saying she won the auditions for this season overall.
Though she typically leaned more towards the pop and soul genres, Wray dipped her toes into country music on at least one occasion prior to teaming with Giuyton for the finale. Back in April, she covered Underwood’s “Something in the Water.”
Guyton was one of a long list of guest stars who took the stage during Idol‘s blowout finale episode. Also among the performers was Luke Combs, and all three judges — including Luke Bryan — took the stage during the episode, too.
Three contestants went into Idol‘s finale episode still in the running: Grace Kinstler, Willie Spence and Chayce Beckham. Kinstler was eliminated halfway through the finale episode, leaving Spence and Beckham remaining in the running to win the title of Idol champ.
See Country Stars On American Idol, Then + Now: