Apple Valley singer Chayce Beckham, 24, is one step closer to the top of the “American Idol” mountain after a nationwide audience on Sunday voted him into the Top 9 of the popular ABC show.
During the program, the Top 12 contestants sang Oscar-nominated songs, including the raspy-voiced Beckham, who performed the romantic ballad “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” from the 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”
Toward the end of the show, host Ryan Seacrest assembled the singers on stage and announced the names of each finalist, including Beckham, whom he called “The pride of Apple Valley.”
After singers Ava August, Brennan “Beane” Hepler and Madison Watkins came up short in “Idol” votes, Seacrest announced that the finalists would depart for a weeklong stay at the Disney World Resort in Florida before returning to the show on May 2.
During his performance, Beckham wore a dark blazer, striped shirt, jeans and cowboy boots as he strummed his guitar and sang the Bryan Adams song featured in the motion picture soundtrack and on Adams’ album “Waking Up the Neighbours.”
After Beckham’s performance, judges Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan gave the singer a standing ovation, while a live shot showed his parents in Apple Valley cheering for their son, along with the family dog, Festus, named after a character from the TV western “Gunsmoke.”
‘I think you’re the frontrunner in this thing’
Bryan heaped accolades on Beckham, a United Rentals heavy machine operator who was born in Victorville and graduated in 2014 from Whitcomb High School, a continuation school in Glendora located in the San Gabriel Valley.
“I’m so inspired by how much you’ve grown from the day you walked into the audition until now,” Bryan told Beckham. “And man, that was a — your ability to just be yourself and deliver songs like you do it is just — man, I think you’re the frontrunner in this thing, I really do.”
Ritchie said during the first half of Beckham’s performance, he was holding his breath and waiting for the singer to “let go.”
“The second half of that song, you found yourself — you found yourself, OK?” Ritchie said. “No matter what happens, give us all of you from now on. You got the power, you got the voice — make it happen.”
Perry said she didn’t know who Beckham was singing for, but believes there were a lot of young ladies voting that had “hearts in their eyes” and thinking the singer’s song was performed just for them.
Perry said Beckham delivered his unusual song choice “authentically” and took the song to “the next level” while “pushing his voice.”
During the show, Beckham said he chose the inspirational song because it reflects much of his life before “Idol,” back when he was in “a bad way.”
‘A few drinks too many’
A video showed Beckham playing his guitar somewhere in the High Desert as he recalled the day he “had a few drinks too many” and tried to drive home. One clip showed a damaged truck as Beckham recalled the worst night of his life.
San Bernardino County court records show the crash occurred Oct. 31 of last year. Beckham faces two misdemeanor charges and has pleaded not guilty. On Monday, April 12, a judge continued the case to June 7.
Beckham said he doesn’t know where he’d be if he never started his “American Idol” journey, adding, “I could be dead, I could be in jail.”
In a previous show, Beckham said during the crash, his life flashed before his eyes in the near-death experience that set him on a straighter, narrower path.
Joining Beckham in the Top 9 are singers Alyssa Wray, Caleb Kennedy, Casey Bishop, Cassandra Coleman, Deshawn Goncalves, Grace Kinstler, Hunter Metts and Willie Spence.
For more information on “American Idol,” visit https://abc.com/shows/american-idol, which airs at 5 p.m. PST on Sundays and 8 p.m. PST on Mondays on ABC.
Visit the show’s YouTube channel for full performances. Episodes are available on Hulu.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.