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American Idol: Noah Thompson wins season 20 of ABC singing show in three-hour finale


Noah Thompson won season 20 of American Idol on Sunday during a star-studded three-hour finale on ABC.

The 20-year-old country singer from Louisa, Kentucky won after his co-worker Arthur signed him up and recorded his virtual audition.

HunterGirl, 23, who was an early favorite after earning a Platinum Ticket during her audition, finished in second place.

Season champion: Noah Thompson won season 20 of American Idol on Sunday during a star-studded three-hour finale on ABC

Season champion: Noah Thompson won season 20 of American Idol on Sunday during a star-studded three-hour finale on ABC 

Leah Marlene, 20, of Normal, Illinois, finished in third place.  

‘Buddy you just won American Idol,’ host Ryan Seacrest, 47, told Noah as he revealed the result of viewer voting between him and HunterGirl, real name Hunter Wolkonowski.

‘Oh my God,’ Noah said, stunned. ‘My heart is beating out of my chest. This is crazy.’

The three finalists each performed a cover of a Bruce Springsteen song in honor of the American rocker as well as an original song.

Just won: 'Buddy you just won American Idol,' host Ryan Seacrest, 47, told Noah as he revealed the result of viewer voting between him and HunterGirl, real name Hunter Wolkonowski

Just won: ‘Buddy you just won American Idol,’ host Ryan Seacrest, 47, told Noah as he revealed the result of viewer voting between him and HunterGirl, real name Hunter Wolkonowski

Stunned reaction: Noah was stunned as he was named the winner of season 20

Stunned reaction: Noah was stunned as he was named the winner of season 20

The judges: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan served as judges during season 20 and each performed during the finale

The judges: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan served as judges during season 20 and each performed during the finale

Leah sang Cover Me by The Boss followed by the original song Flowers. HunterGirl belted out the Springsteen classic Dancing In The Dark and then performed Red Bird. 

Noah took on the Springsteen anthem I’m On Fire and then sang the original One Day Tonight.

Viewer voting was tallied after their two performances and it was announced that Leah was the third-place finisher.

Country singer: The 20-year-old country singer from Louisa, Kentucky won after his co-worker Arthur signed him up and recorded his virtual audition

Country singer: The 20-year-old country singer from Louisa, Kentucky won after his co-worker Arthur signed him up and recorded his virtual audition

Second place: HunterGirl, 23, who was an early favorite after earning a Platinum Ticket during her audition, finished in second place

Second place: HunterGirl, 23, who was an early favorite after earning a Platinum Ticket during her audition, finished in second place

Third place: Leah Marlene, 20, of Normal, Illinois, finished in third place

Third place: Leah Marlene, 20, of Normal, Illinois, finished in third place

The finale featured several life performances including: Flo Rida; Earth, Wind & Fire; Deana Carter and Mike Parker; Ben Platt and Lady K; Sara Bareilles and Nicolina, show judge Katy Perry and Thomas Rhett and Michael Buble with Christian Guardino.

Carrie Underwood, 39, also was scheduled to perform, but was unable to take the stage due to a COVID exposure within her group, said show host Ryan at the start of the finale.

Noah after making the final two teamed up for a duet of I’m The Only One with Melissa Etheridge, 60.

The host: Ryan Seacrest hosted the three-hour finale on ABC

The host: Ryan Seacrest hosted the three-hour finale on ABC

Dynamic duo: Katy Perry and Thomas Rhett teamed up for a performance

Dynamic duo: Katy Perry and Thomas Rhett teamed up for a performance

Top ten: The top 10 performed with Flo Rida during the three-hour finale

Top ten: The top 10 performed with Flo Rida during the three-hour finale

Show judge Lionel Richie, 72, joined the top 10 for a fun version of his 1983 hit song You Are. 

Ryan also surprised Noah and HunterGirl by revealing the top two were awarded with a trip for four on the new Disney Wish cruise launching this summer.

Leah after being shown as a girl singing Firework then teamed up with judge Katy, 37, for a spirited rendition of the pop song. 

The judges: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan served as judges during season 20 and each performed during the finale

The judges: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan served as judges during season 20 and each performed during the finale

Two songs: Noah took on I'm On Fire by Bruce Springsteen and then sang the original song One Day Tonight

Two songs: Noah took on I’m On Fire by Bruce Springsteen and then sang the original song One Day Tonight

Pop song: Leah after being shown as a girl singing Firework then teamed up with judge Katy for a spirited rendition of the pop song

Pop song: Leah after being shown as a girl singing Firework then teamed up with judge Katy for a spirited rendition of the pop song

Killed it: Leah and Marlane nailed their rendition of Firework

Killed it: Leah and Marlane nailed their rendition of Firework

HunterGirl after making the final two performed a duet of I Told You So with judge Luke Bryan, 45.

Noah’s final song before he was declared the winner was a reprise of the Rihanna song Stay that he performed earlier in the competition.

‘Wow,’ Lionel said. ‘That’s it.’

‘The growth, when you sang it last time to when you sang it tonight, you hit some notes,’ Katy commented as Noah laughed.

Twentieth season: Ryan, Lionel, Katy and Luke have been starring on the show since its reboot on ABC

Twentieth season: Ryan, Lionel, Katy and Luke have been starring on the show since its reboot on ABC

‘When you performed that earlier in the season I knew, we knew, you had something special,’ Luke said. ‘You just proved it even more just then.’

HunterGirl performed a reprise of the Rascal Flatts song Riot for her final performance on the show.

‘American Idol ends tonight but your career is going to be forever,’ Katy said. ‘You have your wings.’

Swan song: HunterGirl performed a reprise of the Rascal Flatts song Riot for her final performance on the show

Swan song: HunterGirl performed a reprise of the Rascal Flatts song Riot for her final performance on the show

‘Good luck with everything, I have no doubt that you are going to go so far,’ Luke said.

‘The fight that you put up and the determination we are so so proud of giving all that you gave to us,’ Lionel told her.

The early favorite to win season 20 of American Idol was 17-year-old singer Kenedi Anderson, of Crozet, Virginia, but the Platinum Ticket winner last month dropped out for ‘personal reasons’. 

Chayce Beckham, 24, won season 19 of American Idol in May 2021. 

Life performances: The finale featured several life performances including Flo Rida

Life performances: The finale featured several life performances including Flo Rida



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