American Idol is closing the chapter on its milestone 21st season with an epic grand finale. America has chosen Iam Tongi, Megan Danielle, and Colin Stough to be season 21’s top 3, and only one will walk away the winner at the end of the May 21 finale. Before the results, the top 3 will take the stage with superstar guests.
The show kicks off the finale with Pitbull and Lil Jon taking the stage for an electric and enthusiastic performance of “Jumpin,” followed by “Give Me Everything” with the American Idol top 12 contestants. The top 12 have a blast on stage getting the audience hyped up for the rest of the show.
Former Idol judge Keith Urban has returned to mentor the top 3 for the finale. The Christian singer performs first and sings Keith’s “God Whispered Your Name” during the finale. “As far as I’m concerned, we have three number ones,” Lionel declares. Luke adds that he hasn’t heard Megan make “one bad vocal decision this season,” and it’s been “inspiring to watch her grow.”
Iam takes the stage next and performs a stunning rendition of Keith’s “Making Memories of Us,” a song that meant a lot to his parents. “You just have a natural gift from God to create emotion, to tell the story,” Luke says before adding that it was “one of my favorite performances of the year” from him. Lionel raves over how great of a storyteller Iam has become. “You have a great delivery, and that’s what going to make your career shine forevermore,” Lionel tells Iam.
Colin croons out a sweet rendition of Keith’s “Stupid Boy.” Luke has to point out how much Colin has evolved since his audition.”You’ve come so far,” he says. Katy calls Colin’s performance “so sweet” and knows Colin is going to be a force to be reckoned with when he’s out in the real world.
For her second performance, Megan sings a pitch-perfect rendition of “Faithfully” by Journey. Katy points out that the end of the performance was “phenomenal.” A tearful Luke agrees and says it was “one of the best things I’ve seen all season.”
Iam shows his love for Hawaii with a performance of Kolohe Kai’s “Cool Down.” Katy recalls Iam telling the judges that he was “priced out of paradise.” She doesn’t think that’s going to be the case for much longer. “Welcome to paradise, my friend,” she says.
Colin returns to the stage for a terrific rendition of Chris Stapleton’s “Either Way.”Luke makes quite the confession to Colin after this latest performance. “You are so much better than I originally thought you were,” he says.
Ahead of the third-place reveal, Lucy Love hits the stage with TLC to perform the group’s mega-hit “No Scrubs.” Zachariah Smith also returns to the Idol stage to sing REO Speedwagon’s “Take It On The Run.”
Colin, Megan, and Iam step out onto the stage together for the first results of the night. The first person to make the top 2 is… Iam! It’s down to Colin and Megan. Megan takes the second spot in the top 2, which means Colin has been eliminated.
Jelly Roll performs his hit “Save Me” with Lainey Wilson. Oliver Steele also joins him for a special performance. Kylie Minogue also performs “Padam Padam” before Nutsa duets with her. Lionel performs “Sail On” by the Commodores on the piano, and the top 12 join him for part of the performance. Keith brings the fun with his performance of “Wild Hearts.”
The most emotional moment of the finale happens when Iam performs “Monsters” with James Blunt. Iam begins to cry during the performance and has to stop for a moment to collect himself. Katy bursts into tears. Iam finishes the performance with James, a beautiful tribute to Iam’s father.
The night continues with more magical performances, including Ellie Goulding’s duet with Tyson Venegas, Lauren Daigle with Megan, Luke with Colin, Jazmine Sullivan and Wé Ani., Lainey with Marybeth Byrd and Warren Peay, Katy with Haven Madison, as well as American Idol season 2 alums Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.
Before the final results are revealed, Megan and Iam perform their original songs — “Dream Girl” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” The top 2 stand next to each other on the stage as the winner is revealed. After the nationwide vote, the winner of American Idol season 21 is… IAM TONGI!