Judge Lionel Richie started out the season finale of American Idol with singing his own “All Night Long” while being joined with the Top 10 contestants from this season singing backup vocals. Ryan Seacrest told the audience about the upcoming show and also gave a preview to the many artists who would be singing in the finale. Seacrest stated that the American Idol finales over the years have been viewed by over an astounding 665 million people. The three Idol judges appeared on stage to a welcoming crowd and the Top 3 Final Contestants got prepared for the next few hours of live television.
Caleb Lee Hutchinson first appeared back at the judges table and showed his impression of Luke Bryan which was spot on but then surprised Lionel Richie by doing a very accurate impression of him as well. A recap of Lionel Richie came on then and focused on Richie saying “You aren’t done cooking yet” throughout the auditions.
Nick Jonas came out and sang “Anywhere” and then went onto sing “Jealous” which featured a duet with Top 10 contestant Journee. Judge Luke Bryan debuted a new single, “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” and then sang a duet, “Most People Are Good”, with Top 3 Contestant Gabby Barrett. A recap rolled of Bryan that focused on his country twang and his country vocabulary including the commonly stated, “Dadgum” during the audition process.
Gary Clark Jr. sang “Bright Lights” along with Top 10 Contestants Dennis Lorenzo and Cade Foehner all playing electric guitars. Top 3 Contestant Maddie Poppe then came out and sang a duet with Kermit the Frog singing “Rainbow Connection”. Seacrest brought Noah Davis back from the audition portion of the show and stated that his audition video had been viewed by over 162 million people. Davis stated that he would buy an alpaca if he won American Idol and Lionel Richie said that Davis would get an alpaca if he wanted one. Seacrest then directed Davis to the back stage and presented him with his own alpaca which he was very excited about.
Caleb Lee Hutchinson then entered the stage alongside Darius Rucker and sang “Wagon Wheel”. Late Night host Jimmy Kimmel joined the stage and brought out a time capsule from past American Idol shows before the recent break. Kimmel opened the time capsule and pulled out memorabilia mostly from past judges and contestants. The Top 3 Contestants then sang “Meant To Be” together along with past mentor Bebe Rexha.
Seacrest proceeded to tell the audience that he would be announcing the Top 2 Contestants and named Caleb Lee Hutchinson as the first person to make the cut. Seacrest then announced that, after the nationwide vote, Maddie Poppe would also be competing for the top spot. This means that Gabby Barrett was officially eliminated from the competition. Gabby looked very disappointed but tried to put on a brave face as she left the stage crying.
Seacrest noted that there were over 200,000 auditions this season and encouraged viewers to consider auditioning online for the next season of American Idol. Two sisters than sang “Blue” as a duet and LeAnn Rimes surprisingly came out to finish the song with them. Judge Katy Perry’s recap roll then was shown with the many different antics that she had over the season with her life-of-the-party personality. Perry then sang “Part of Me” as a duet with Top 10 Contestant Catie Turner. Top 10 Contestant Michael Woodard then joined gospel singer Yolanda Adams singing “What The World Needs Now”.
The Top 2 Final Contestants, Caleb and Maddie, announced that they are actually dating each other and had kept their relationship a surprise until this point. They both sang a final song together, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” which was a beautiful song that showed their true vocals and true feelings for each other. Seacrest came on and stated, “Oh my gosh, I’m in tears watching these two sing that song!” Seacrest then gave both of the contestants a vacation to Hawaii together. They talked about how they could both take a guest on vacation with them and Caleb stated that they would take their parents to supervise. Top 10 Contestant Ada Vox took the stage to bring the house down with her rendition of “Lady Marmalade” and was joined by the true soul sister herself, Patti LaBelle.
Then the show came down to the final moment when Ryan Seacrest would announce the winner of season 16 of American Idol. Seacrest stated, “After the nationwide vote, the winner of American Idol is Maddie Poppe!” Caleb gave Maddie a quick squeeze of encouragement and Maddie then immediately sang her original song “Going Going Gone”. She was so overcome with emotion that she ended up crying through the song and missed lyrics to catch her breath. The show ended with the former contestants rushing Maddie on stage as well as the judges who all ended up singing the chorus together as the show ended and confetti hit the stage.
Ryan Seacrest thanked everyone for watching American Idol’s first reboot this season. Tune in soon for the next exciting season of American Idol where the same 3 judges will work to America’s next pop singer. Congratulations to Maddie Poppe for winning this season of American Idol!
Missed last nights finale? Watch American Idol on ABC and stay up to date with the latest news on the next season of American Idol by following host Ryan Seacrest on Facebook, Twitter (@ryanseacrest), and Instagram (@ryanseacrest).
Watch Ryan’s recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel: