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'American Idol' recap: Just Sam crowned the winner in star-studded finale


The day has finally come — Who is the next American Idol?  America voted and the winner is… Just Sam!

Ryan Seacrest held the reigns as the host of the first-ever remote finale for the series along with judges Katy PerryLuke Bryan, and Lionel Richie.

The show got right down to business and narrowed down the Top 7 to the Top 5 based on America’s votes from last week. Moving through to the finale were Dillon JamesJonny WestArthur GunnFrancisco Martin, and Just Sam. Julia Gargano and Louis Knight were sent home.

Next, the Top 5 tackled the theme “songs of celebration,” and performed a song that they would use to celebrate with when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. 

Dillon James: “Change the World” by Eric Clapton

Francisco Martin: “Adore You” by Harry Styles

Just Sam: “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson 

Arthur Gun: “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin DeGraw

Jonny West: “You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” by James & Bobby Purify

The next performance from the final group of American Idol hopefuls was a song that they have already performed in the competition and would again perform when they win.  

Dillon James: “The Times They Are A-Changin'” by Bob Dylan

Francisco Martin: “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers

Just Sam: “Rise Up” by Andra Day

Arthur Gunn: “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Jonny West: “Makin’ Love” an original by Jonny West himself

With voting officially closed following the last performance, American Idol kept audiences entertained with a look back at the season’s most memorable contestants and some star-studded performances starting with Luke’s debut of his new single “One Margarita.”

Garbage man Doug Kiker comes back to sing “Bless The Broken Road” with Rascal Flatts, Just Sam joined Lauren Daigle to perform her hit “You Say,” Katy Perry performed her new single “Daisies,” and Cynthia Erivo and the Top 11 performed a medley of Aretha Franklin songs. 

After that, the field of five was whittled down to the two finalists: Arthur Gunn and Just Sam, with America crowning Sam as this season’s winner.

She then joined Lionel Richie to lead a performance of “We Are The World” with the Top 11 and American Idol family members Alejandro Aranda aka ScarypoolpartyFantasiaGabby BarrettJordin SparksKatharine McPheeKellie Pickler, Laine HardyLauren AlainaPhillip PhillipsRuben Studdard, and Scotty McCreery.

For those already going through withdrawals from the show, don’t worry, American Idol has already been picked up for Season 4. 

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