‘American Idol’ Finale Recap: The Season 20 Winner Is Revealed

It's down to Leah Marlene, Noah Thompson, and HunterGirl. Who won 'American Idol' season 20? The winner was revealed after the star-studded finale.

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After months of competition, it’s all led to this. The top 3 — Leah Marlene, Noah Thompson, and HunterGirl — are taking the American Idol stage during the May 22 finale in hopes of winning America’s vote. By the end of the episode, one will become the new American Idol winner.

‘American Idol’ Finale Performances

The grand finale kicks off with an epic performance from the top 10 with Flo Rida. The top 10 sing Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” on top of The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel in Los Angeles.

American Idol
The judges with host Ryan Seacrest on ‘American Idol.’ (ABC)

Leah Marlene is the first finalist to perform. She rocks out to “Cover Me” by Bruce Springsteen. Lionel Richie raves that Leah’s “stage presence is all the way there.” Katy Perry tells Leah that she’s the “whole package,” and Leah has already won in her eyes.

HunterGirl takes the stage next to perform “Dancing in the Dark.” Katy tells HunterGirl, “I don’t think you’re a star, I think you’re a supernova.” Luke Bryan says he took a trip to Tennessee over the weekend, and everyone he came across was rooting for HunterGirl. Lionel praises HunterGirl and says she’s got quite the career ahead of her.

Noah Thompson takes on Bruce’s “I’m On Fire” and brings the swoon. When the performance is over, the crowd goes wild. Katy tells Noah that he “swooped in and grabbed every heart in America” with his performance. “You really made it your own,” she says.

Before the finale, the top 3 went to their hometown for a Hero’s Welcome. Leah goes home to Normal, Illinois. She returns to the Idol stage to sing her original song “Flowers.” Katy is wiping away tears after Leah’s performance. “The song is just tremendous,” Luke raves.

Noah Thompson
Noah Thompson on ‘American Idol.’ (ABC)

Noah returns home to Louisa, Kentucky, and gets to reunite with his precious baby boy, Walker. He performs alongside Kameron Marlowe while home in Kentucky. During the finale, Noah sings his new single “One Day Tonight,” which has been climbing the charts. Luke is stunned at how much Noah and the other finalists have blossomed before his eyes.

HunterGirl goes back to Winchester, Tennessee, and has an emotional reunion with the veterans she works with. She sings her emotional single “Red Bird” during the finale. Luke admits this performance touched him because he named his ranch Red Bird. “May you thrive as long as possible,” Lionel tells HunterGirl.

Leah Marlene Is Eliminated

Leah Marlene
Leah Marlene came in third place. (ABC)

After performances from Jay Copeland and Mike Parker with Earth, Wind & Fire and Deana Carter, the first results of the night are announced. The first contestant to make the top 2 is Noah. It’s down to Leah and HunterGirl. HunterGirl will be competing against Noah in hopes of winning American Idol.

Lady K returns to American Idol to sing alongside Ben Platt. American Idol alums Gabby Barrett and Cade Foehner perform their new song “Pick Me Up.” Emyrson Flora later joins Gabby for a sweet performance of “The Good Ones.”

After her rendition of “She Used To Be Mine” went viral, Nicolina gets the chance to sing alongside Sara Bareilles during the finale. Fritz Hager also performs with one of his idols: James Arthur. Christian Guardino sings “Smile” with his personal idol Michael Buble.

HunterGirl
HunterGirl during the ‘American Idol’ top 3 performances. (ABC)

The top 3 perform with legends like Melissa Etheridge, Katy, and Luke. Katy and Leah’s rendition of “Firework” is especially great. Noah returns to the stage solo to sing Rihanna’s “Stay” for the second time this season. “That’s it,” Lionel tells him. HunterGirl sings “Riot” by Rascal Flatts, the audition song that earned her the first Platinum Ticket.

‘American Idol’ Season 20 Winner Revealed

Noah and HunterGirl stand side-by-side together as they await the results. Host Ryan Seacrest has the results in his hand ready to announce the big news. The winner of American Idol season 20 after nearly 16 million votes came in is… Noah Thompson!

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