‘American Idol’ Crowns Its 2020 Winner — Did America Make the Right Choice?
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 3 finale of American Idol.]
American Idol made history on Sunday, May 17 when the ABC singing competition crowned its first winner remotely in the show’s 18-year history.
The evening kicked off with a group performance from the Top 7 of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” before the Top 5 was unveiled. Dillon James, Jonny West, Arthur Gunn, Francisco Martin, and Just Sam were the lucky contestants chosen to move forward, vying for America’s live vote for the night. Louis Knight and Julia Gargano were eliminated before the performances began.
First up was Dillon James who performed Eric Clapton’s “Change the World” to much praise from judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. After that, Francisco Martin took on Harry Styles’ tune “Adore You” and was commended for his improved stage presence.
Just Sam turned to former Idol champ Kelly Clarkson for her performance of “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” giving the tune her own special twist that earned high praise from the show’s judges. Arthur Gunn was up next, singing Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be,” impressing the judges with his powerful rendition. And Jonny West finished out Round 1 strong with his version of “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down.”
In a brief intermission, mentor Bobby Bones and host Ryan Seacrest discussed the success of this year’s finalists before things moved into Round 2 with the contestants reviving their best songs of the season. Dillon James was up first once again, singing Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” After that it was Francisco Martin performing Maggie Rogers’ “Alaska,” Just Sam singing Andra Day’s “Rise Up,” Arthur Gunn’s unique take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” and Jonny West’s original tune, “Makin’ Love.” The songs performed in this round represented their first single should they take the Idol title.
To give America a chance to vote before the big reveal, viewers got about an hour of pure entertainment from a range of performances like judge Luke Bryan’s new tune “One Margarita.” After that, Bryan surprised one of this year’s eliminated hopefuls, Doug Kiker, via video chat, revealing that he’d be performing “Bless the Broken Road” alongside Rascal Flatts.
For another moving musical moment, Just Sam teamed up with Lauren Daigle to sing a showstopping rendition of Daigle’s hit “You Say.” Katy Perry then did a trippy virtual reality-inspired performance of her new single “Daisies,” before Oscar-nominated actress and singer Cynthia Erivo stopped by (in a sense) for a medley of Aretha Franklin hits, joined by the Top 11 —Gunn, James, Martin, West, Sam, Gargano, Knight, Makayla Phillips, Sophia James, Jovin Webb, and Grace Leer.
After their performance, Seacrest announced that Arthur Gunn and Just Sam were America’s choices for the Top 2, bidding the rest of the contestants farewell. In the end, an ecstatic and emotional Just Sam was crowned this year’s American Idol before she joined judges Perry, Richie, and Bryan and the Top 7, as well as alums Alejandro Aranda (aka Scarypoolparty), Fantasia, Gabby Barrett, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Laine Hardy, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Ruben Studdard, and Scotty McCreery in a performance of “We Are the World.”
Catch Just Sam’s performance of “Rise Up” which will serve as her first single and see the moment she learned that she was the newest American Idol. Let us know what you think about the results below.