UPDATE: Lee grad Beckham one step closer to 'Idol' title

UPDATE: Lee grad Beckham one step closer to 'Idol' title

May 12th, 2015 by Susan Pierce in Local Regional News

Clark Beckham performs on "American Idol" in this file photo.

Photo by Michael Becker/FOX

Story updated at 10:30 p.m.

The Southern soul singer battled a Connecticut pop singer for the title of "American Idol" in Wednesday night's championship round.

Clark Beckham, the Lee University grad from White House, Tenn., moved one step closer to winning Season 14  after AI host Ryan Seacrest announced in the opening minute of the show that finalist Jax Cole had been eliminated by last week's vote. That left Beckham and Nick Fradiani to sing for the title.

Each guy sang three songs: one a reprisal of their choice, one chosen by AI creator Simon Fuller and a "coronation song," which will be the winner's first single. Beckham chose "Georgia" as his favorite to repeat, Fuller chose "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers for him.

Fradiani sang "Bright Lights" by Matchbox Twenty as his reprisal, Fuller's pick was "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz.

Judge Harry Connick gave the first round to Fradiani and the second to Beckham.

Fradiani's coronation song was "Beautiful Life," an uptempo pop song that judge Keith Urban said was "tailored" to Fradiani's style. Beckham's number, "Champion," was an inspirational anthem that built in intensity as it soared to a close, which has been Beckham's trademark all season.

Viewers will learn Wednesday night whether "Champion" proves prophetic.