American Idol Season 20 is over, and its winner has been crowned! The season finale aired live on Sunday, May 22, pitting the top three competitors against each other once and for all. Fair warning: There are American Idol spoilers ahead!
The 2022 season of American Idol started with a Bruce Springsteen-themed competition between Leah Marlene, HunterGirl and Noah Thompson. Each of them got to sing a Springsteen song and an original song before the votes were cast and tallied. With that, host Ryan Seacrest was able to announce the final two – Noah Thompson and HunterGirl -, leaving Leah Marlene in third. After a few star-studded performances, Thompson, HunterGirl and Marlene all sang another song before Seacrest announced Thompson as the winner. The 19-year-old singer was overjoyed, and his fellow competitors shared in his celebration.
Thompson re-posted celebrations from fans on social media on Sunday night and Monday morning but did not make a direct statement on his victory himself. His Instagram bio still reads “20th Season AMERICAN IDOL Contestant, “indicating that he is preserving the surprise for fans who were not able to watch the finale live. However, he did appear on Good Morning America on Monday morning, and he gave an interview with Entertainment Tonight as well.
“I do not know what to do right now,” Thompson told ONE immediately after Idol was over. He said that he is most excited to show these episodes to his son when he grows up, adding: “That, for me, that’s the biggest thing out of all this. Because, you know, I wanted to do this for him. I ended up looking up to my dad that way, so maybe I think that’s the best part of all of this whole process. I think that’s what’s cool about it. “
Thompson started the night by singing “I’m on Fire,” which went over big with this season’s judges – Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. In the second round, the contestants all sang original songs, and Thompson sang his single “One Day Tonight.” Finally, in the last round, Thompson repeated his cover of “Stay” by Rihanna, which was a huge hit for him in an earlier round of the competition.
The final episode was three hours long, and performances by the contestants were actually just a part of it. It also included a stacked lineup of celebrity guest performances, including the judges themselves, some recently eliminated Season 20 contestants, and celebrities Flo Rida, Melissa Etheridge, Sara Bareilles, Michael Bublé, Ben Platt, James Arthur, Thomas Rhett, Deana Carter, Tai Verdes, season 16 finalist Gabby Barrett, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Fans who want to see all this for themselves can watch American Idol Season 20 on Hulu. ABC announced earlier this month that the singing competition will return for another seasonand it’s likely that Perry, Bryan and Richie will all return in addition to Seacrest.