The results are in on the rebooted “American Idol” and the winning contestant is… Maddie Poppe.
From the moment 20-year old Iowa native Poppe auditioned with “The Rainbow Connection,” she was a clear frontrunner. And week after week, viewers saw her blossom into an artist. As Perry often complimented, Poppe has impeccable musical taste and a whole lot of talent. Among Poppe’s winning performances was her rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound” and “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys.
Poppe’s prize includes a recording contract with Hollywood Records. Speaking to Variety last week, Disney Music Group president Ken Bunt said that the company was committed “to continue telling the story of the winner.”
Gabby Barrett was eliminated earlier in the night. She, along with Hutchinson and Pope, each performed three songs on the May 20 episode: a hometown dedication, an encore of their favorite song of the season, and their winner’s single.
Hutchinson’s selections included a hometown dedication song to Dallas, Ga., “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash; his personal choice of “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley; and his winner’s single, “Johnny Cash Heart.”
Poppe sang “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac to her hometown of Clarksville, Iowa. For her encore song, she took a big risk in choosing an original, “Don’t Ever Let Your Children Grow Up.” Her winner’s circle song, “Going Going Gone,” completed the set.
Barrett sang “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey as her tribute to Pittsburgh, Pa. and chose a repeat performance of “Little Red Wagon” by Miranda Lambert.
The finale of season 16 — or season 1, depending on who you ask — also featured performances by judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, along with Bebe Rexha, Nick Jonas and Mustard, Patti Labelle, Darius Rucker, Gary Clark Jr., Yolanda Adams and Kermit the Frog.
The top two, Hutchinson and Poppe, were revealed to be a couple during the show and are being sent on a dream vacation to a resort in Hawaii, courtesy of Disney.
Perry tweeted shortly after the results were revealed, “The couple that sangs together, stays together.”