Maddie Poppe was crowned this season’s winner of American Idol last night. Hailing from Clarksville, Iowa, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter has been a fan favorite since the start of the season, wowing with folk-pop renditions of classic songs by The Beach Boys, Sinead O’Connorand The Bangles. She bested top 3 finalists Caleb Lee Hutchinson, a deep-voiced country crooner, and Gabby Barrett, who came in third.
Poppe broke down in tears when host Ryan Seacrest called her name, and struggled to get through coronation song “Going Going Gone,” her first single on Hollywood Records. Fortunately, she got some help from this season’s top 10 contestants, who ran on stage to hug her and chime in on the chorus.
Shortly before the final results were announced, Hutchinson revealed that Poppe is his girlfriend, sending the audience screaming and swooning as the duo launched into a sweet, stripped-down take on “Over the Rainbow.”
Judge Lionel Richie opened the two-hour finale with a glittering performance of his 1983 hit “All Night Long,” accompanied by the top 10. Judge Luke Bryan took the stage later to sing his latest single “Sunrise, Sunburn,” Sunset with Barrett, while judge Katy Perry teamed up with spunky finalist Catie Turner for a heartfelt duet of the pop star’s “Part of Me.”
Jimmy Kimmel also made a surprise appearance to unearth an American Idol time capsule such items as a Simon Cowell v-neck t-shirt, “Ryan’s frosted hair tips from season one” and former contestant Sanjaya Malakar.
This season’s mentors Nick Jonas and Bebe Rexha each returned for performances with recent Idol hopefuls, as did special guests Gary Clark Jr., LeAnn Rimes, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams.
You can catch the top 7 – Poppe, Hutchinson, Barrett, Turner, Michael J. Woodard, Jurnee and Cade Foehner – on tour across the U.S. this summer with American Idol Live!, which kicks off July 11th in Redding, California.
American Idol has been renewed for a second season on ABC. The series aired on Fox from 2002-16.
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