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American Idol 2022 contestant, Central Illinois native Leah Marlene prepares for finale

Sunday night, we’ll find out who the next American Idol is.

One hopeful, Leah Marlene, is from Central Illinois and made it to the Top 3.

She has wowed the judges at every step throughout this season of American Idol, and now the Normal, Illinois native is getting ready for Sunday’s live season finale!

ABC7’s Hosea Sanders talked to her about the amazing journey to the finals.

Sanders: “When they called your name as one of the top three finalists, that reaction, I’ve never seen anything like that before!”

Marlene: “I didn’t feel a thing. I was riding high — I was in utter shock. The 24 hours prior, I felt like a had this very deep knowing that I wasn’t going to be moving forward. The night before, I had a good cry in my hotel to process through and then show day I was an emotional mess.”

Sanders also asked her about the big hometown parade in Normal earlier this week. Huge crowds come out to see the Idol finalist.

Sanders: “I want to talk about home, how was your hometown visit, it looked just tremendous!”

RELATED: Finalists Noah Thompson, HunterGirl and Leah Marlene gear up for ‘American Idol’ finale

Marlene: “Oh, my God, I don’t even know how to explain. I still, my brain couldn’t compute what was happening in front of me. It was just absolute insanity. I did not expect that many people to show up, it was an infinite pool of people.”

Sanders: “What do you want to say to all your fans here in Illinois, back home?”

Marlene: “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, this is not about me, this is about you guys. I’m in this for you.”

Sanders: “You’re already our winner.”

RELATED: American Idol contestant Leah Marlene from Central Illinois impresses judges

Marlene: “I’m so eternally grateful I got to share myself with America, and I wanna do this for the rest of my life.”

You can watch Idol live on ABC7 Sunday night at 7 p.m.

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