Fire Wilmore, American Idol
Credit: ABC via Getty Images

As one of the most talked-about contestants this season, it’s understandable why viewers want to know what happened to Fire on American Idol and where she is now.

Fire Wilmore was one of dozens of contestants who made it to Hollywood Week on American Idol season 21. American Idol premiered on FOX in 2002 as a reality TV singing competition with original hosts Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman and judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. The show was cancelled by FOX in 2016 and rebooted by ABC in 2018. Seacrest returned to host, while Katy Perry, Luke Bryant and Lionel Richie joined as the reboot’s new judges.

Fire, a 23-year-old single mother with a 4-year-old daughter, auditioned for American Idol season 21 in March 2023 and impressed the judges with her performance of Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon.” But what happened to Fire on American Idol and where is she now? Read on for why her appearance divided viewers.

What happened to Fire Wilmore on American Idol?

Fire Wilmore, American IdolFIRE

What happened to Fire Wilmore on American Idol? Fire didn’t make it to the top 24 of American Idol season 21 after she was eliminated in the first part of the “Showstopper: The Final Judgement” round on April 9, 2023, following her performance of Duffy’s “Mercy.”

“Fire, it’s the end of the American Idol journey. But I think that, truthfully, your fire is never going out, ever again. We’re so proud of you. You have done great and have grown so much. We hope that you take that home and you’ll just build on that,” judge Katy Perry told Fire during her final judgement. Judge Luke Bryan added, “Keep your chin up, OK?”

In a confessional interview after her elimination, Fire reacted to her elimination and told producers she was “not OK” with being sent home. “I’m not OK with going home. I just feel like I needed this a lot more than other people did, but it doesn’t matter,” she said. “I’ll always be a fighter and this week isn’t any different.”

After Fire’s elimination, many viewers took to Twitter to slam the judges for their decision. “I know fire didn’t have the best voice but she’s such a fighter. if not for her, for her daughter. to show her daughter to never give up on her dreams. You are great FIRE. You were the reason I was still watching idol. You are my idol. #AmericanIdol #Fire,” tweeted user @iamcharnequa. Twitter user @united4todos wrote, “@AmericanIdol where can I sue your a—s for sending FIRE home?” Twitter user @deborah14455339 wrote, “#American idol so mad at you now. You saved the guy that forgot his words and sent home Fire who gave a great performance and deserved her shot. She was worth her shot.”

Other viewers, however, agreed with the judges that Fire wasn’t strong enough to make it to the top 24. “Feel bad, but Fire did not have strong vocals compared to the rest and u can’t send someone through because she had a tough life or she needs the $ #AmericanIdol,” tweeted user @beemergirl07. Twitter user @carsonroberts0 wrote, “I know she’s super hyped up as this season’s main character for some reason but Fire just is not good. Sorry. She sounds so plain. Not a performance of hers I’ve enjoyed much. I know they’ll keep her on as long as they can but there’s so many better contestants. #americanidol.” Twitter user @ranemmanuel wrote, “#AmericanIdol Nope. Fire should not be in the top 24. Weak vocal performance.”

Before her elimination, Fire looked back on her performance and her journey on American Idol. “I’m glad I got to be my whole self and just let go and dance and sing. I feel like that was a dream in itself that came true. I feel like a lot of people use this as a stepping stone. This is everything to me. This journey is my lifeline,” she said in a confessional interview. During her final judgement with the judges, Fire told Perry, Bryant and Lionel Richie, “This has been the hardest, hardest thing actually. The most important thing has been to show I’m not scared to put up a fight. This is what I need to be doing,” Fire said.

Perry responded, “I just want to tell you that we have seen you this whole time. More than ever before, you are and you have found your fire. I think there’s been a lot of times in your life where you wanted to be this, but the truth is a lot of things put you out. You’re like, ‘Yeah, I want to get back up. I have no choice. I have to do this for my baby. I have to do this for myself.” Bryan added, “We have learned by watching you. We have learned as judges to let people show their sides too.”

Will Fire Wimore come back on American Idol?

Fire Wilmore, American IdolFIRE

Will Fire Wilmore come back on American Idol? After her elimination, host Ryan Seacrest reminded Fire that she can still audition for American Idol again next year. “Hopefully, after a little bit of time, you’ll feel better about what you’ve learned here and maybe there’s another shot,” Seacrest said. “This too shall pass. Good luck, OK?” Fire responded, “I just want to see my daughter.”

Fire also seemed to confirm that she doesn’t return to American Idol season 21 as a wild card in an Instagram post after her elimination. “I may not have made it to the Top 24 but this Fire has never been put out and will NEVER be put out! You haven’t heard the last of me❤️‍🔥 #AmericanIdol #firewilmore #fireonidol Also don’t come for me because I kept rolling my eyes lol I do that to stop myself from crying,” she captioned a photo of her in the outfit she wore for her last American Idol performance.

Fire also “liked” tweets from Bryan, Seacrest and Richie after her elimination. “You’re a fighter @imfireofficial , we know you’ll make your own way and you should be proud of all the work you’ve put in to make it this far #AmericanIdol,” Seacrest tweeted. Bryan tweeted, “Don’t let anything hold you back from your future @imfireofficial . We love you. #IDOL.” Richie tweeted, “We are so proud of how much you have grown. You have built yourself up, and the sky is the limit. I know we will see you again soon @imfireofficial . #AmericanIdol.”

American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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