The top 7 is dwindled down to just five artists on the May 17 finale of American Idol. To kick off the show, Ryan Seacrest reveals the five artists who are safe: Dillon James, Jonny West, Arthur Gunn, Francisco Martin and Justin Sam. Unfortunately, that means Louis Knight and Julia Gargano are eliminated, but the show must go on for everyone else! Each of the top five will perform twice, and up first is Dillon. He sings “Change The World” by Eric Clapton while playing guitar in his backyard, and the judges rave that its one of his best performances of the season.
Next up is Francisco, who performs Harry Styles’ “Adore You” with his guitar. As always, he shows off his sexy and effortless voice. The judges compliment him for gaining so much confidence to go with his performances week after week, and are so proud of how far he’s come. Sam is the next artist to perform. She belts out Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” and sounds amazing once again. Sam’s performance is praised by the judges, who also gush over how much she has grown throughout the competition.
Arthur takes the spotlight next with a rendition of “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw. Katy Perry praises Arthur “leaving it all” on the floor with the performance, and the judges agree that it’s a solid showing. To close out round one, Jonny sings “You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” while playing his keyboard. The judges are confident in Jonny’s future as a singer, and they rave over how effortless his performance is once again.
For the second round, the artists perform songs they already sang this season that struck a chord with viewers. Dillon brings back his rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” which he first sang during the final judgement week. This time around, it’s just as good — if not better. For Francisco’s rewind performance, he sings “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers, which was his audition song. Francisco was a ball of visible nerves during his audition, so this performance really shows how much he’s improved and how much confidence he’s gained through the weeks.
Next, Sam brings back “Rise Up” by Andra Day, which she sang during her audition. Due to her difficult past, Sam connects to this song on a deep level, and she proves that once again while performing it during the finale. Up next, Arthur returns with a performance of “Have You Ever Seen The Rain.” This was also Arthur’s audition song, and once again, he proved that he can truly make any song his own by performing it in a completely different way during the finale. Finally, Jonny is back with a performance of his original song, “Makin’ Love,” which was also his audition song. The performance reminds viewers that Jonny is not only a great singer, but a talented songwriter, as well!
Before a winner is named, it’s time for some fun performances from the judges and other special guests. First up is judge Luke Bryan, who brings some fun to the finale with his newest song, “One Margarita.” Next, the guys from Rascal Flatts are joined by one of the most memorable contestants of the season — garbageman, Doug Kiker. They perform “Bess The Broken Road,” and it’s an insanely powerful moment.
Lauren Daigle is front-and-center next. She sings her hit song “You Say,” and is joined by Just Sam, as well as other artists from the top 11, for the inspiring and uplifting performance. Next, Katy transforms from judge to artist with the debut performance of her new single, “Daisies,” and it’s quite a visual sight thanks to green screens and special effects! Up next, Cynthia Erivo joins artists from this season to perform a stunning tribute to Aretha Franklin.
Finally, Ryan announces which two artists will be in the running to be named the next Idol: Arthur Gunn and Just Sam! However, only one can win, and this season, the winner is — JUST SAM!! After the emotional moment, the show ends with a stunning performance of “We Are The World,” featuring the Idol judges, finalists, and several show alum.