×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘American Idol’ Finale: Judges, Fellow Contestants Sing Praises of Maddie Poppe

Voters crowned singer-songwriter Maddie Poppe the newest winner of “American Idol” on Monday night, bringing the show’s first season on ABC to a close.

Part two of the finale included performances some top-shelf artists. The night kicked off with judge Lionel Richie joined by the top ten Idols, performing his song “All Night Long,” followed by acts from Patti Labelle who sang a duet of her eponymous group’s hit “Lady Marmalade” with former contestant Ada Vox. There were also performances by fellow judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, along with Nick Jonas, Leann Rimes, Bebe Rexha, Gary Clark Jr., Darius Rucker, and Yolanda Adams.

Special performances included a guest spot from Jimmy Kimmel, as well as Kermit the Frog, who sang the 1979 song “Rainbow Connection” as a duet with Poppe.

The winner was in shock after the big announcement, “I don’t have many words to say I just, I feel so overwhelmed and I just can’t even believe, you know I felt like I was kind of an underdog for a while. I really did because my music is not mainstream, and so to know that I pulled this off just doing what I love and I didn’t have to change myself is pretty incredible. And the thing is I remember a year ago I was playing in a coffee shop for six people, and I just, I wanted to give up. I didn’t see this going anywhere and I was afraid, and just to know a year later if I could go back and tell myself, you’re the winner of ‘American Idol,’ I wouldn’t believe it,” she said.

Former contestants, including Poppe’s roommates on the show, Catie Turner and Jurnee, congratulated the winner.

“She did it, America came through and voted for the most deserving girl, ever. I’m so happy,” Turner said.

Jurnee agreed, “We were so happy, [Catie] was crying, we love [Maddie] so much we can’t even believe it.”

Poppe’s boyfriend and second place winner, Hutchinson, said he was surprised to make it as far as he did in the competition, “I absolutely was, I was shocked that I got into the top three. I think part of me just always kind of was ready to talk myself into like, ‘Okay I may not make it this far but I’ll be alright,’ and it was incredible. And being able to stand by her is like, the best.”

Country powerhouse Gabby Barrett took third place after being eliminated during the first hour.

“Maddie 100% deserves to be first place runner, I love her to death. I told Maddie from the beginning, even during Hollywood week when we first started, I was like ‘Oh, I love your voice so much you gave me goose bumps,’ every time she sang. So I truly give props to her and congratulate her on everything and all her success and being the winner.”

When asked if she would have done anything different, Barrett said, “I would probably change the last couple songs that I did yesterday. I did ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ [by Journey] and ‘Little Red Wagon’ [by Miranda Lambert]. I would probably change ‘Little Red Wagon’ to ‘The Climb’ [by Miley Cyrus] or the Whitney Houston song [‘I Have Nothing’] again because ‘Little Red Wagon’ was more of a performance song. After I did it I was like, ‘Why am I doing a performance song when it’s based on singing?’ Like the best singing you can do, I mean it is about performance but it’s a lot about singing so I would definitely change that. But I want to say I’m really happy with how everything turned out, I couldn’t be happier.”

Perry, Richie, and Bryan all agree that American Idol is the best way for new and emerging artists to find a platform.

“When ,American Idol, came out I think people thought you were skipping the process, you were getting a free pass to stardom, but it’s not that way now,” Bryan said.

“Right. I was gonna say the same, when I started out it was called radio, and so now all of a sudden it goes from that to streaming and all that stuff, this is the best ticket now to get 25 million people to see you,” Richie continued.

Perry added, “It used to just be radio and then promo and then streaming, and now it’s like there’s so much marketplace that you really have to separate yourself so I think to have a combination of a great song, which I think Maddie does have, and a launching platform, the sky’s the limit.”

More Music

  • Young ThugBillboard Hot 100, Day 2,

    Travis Scott Remix Drives Young Thug’s ‘Hot’ to No. 1 on Rolling Stone Top 100

    Driven by a remix featuring Travis Scott, Young Thug’s single “Hot” has roared to the top of the Rolling Stone Top 100 this week. The song racked up more than 20 million audio streams and 3,700 downloads. Also getting a big boost is buzzing artist Arizona Zervas, whose “Roxanne” soared to No. 6 after debuting at [...]

  • HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE

    'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' Cast Talks New Music (Watch)

    Disney has debuted a preview clip of the upcoming “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” in which the cast discusses how the music of the original movies and 2019’s tunes combine to tell a new tale. Indeed, it’s the start of something new: instead of cheering on Troy Bolton and Gabriella, a next generation [...]

  • Mick Fleetwood to Lead Concert Celebrating

    Mick Fleetwood to Lead All-Star Concert Celebrating Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green Era

    Fleetwood Mac drummer and cofounder Mick Fleetwood today announced an all-star concert honoring the group’s early years of Fleetwood Mac and its founder, Peter Green. Set for February 25 at the London Palladium, Fleetwood has enlisted a stellar cast of musicians to perform, including Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, [...]

  • Alicia Keys

    Alicia Keys, Miguel, Ozuna, Prince Royce Added to Latin Grammy Awards Lineup

    The Latin music community will be out in force for the 20th annual Latin Grammy Awards on Nov. 14. Performers scheduled include Alicia Keys, Miguel, Beto Cuevas, Residente, Calibre 50 and Prince Royce, among others. Presenters include Ángela Aguilar, Eduardo Cabra (Visitante), Sofia Carson and Emilio Estefan. A special moment with Thalia is also on [...]

  • Tyler, the Creator Slams ‘A--holes’ Who

    Tyler, the Creator Slams ‘A--holes’ Who Booed Drake at Camp Flog Gnaw

    It’s safe to say that few expected the negative reaction that Drake received during his surprise appearance at Tyler, the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles Sunday night. While a surprise headliner had been teased with question marks in the festival’s poster, many people expected Tyler’s former Odd Future bandmate [...]

  • Variety Launches New Video Series, 'Daily

    Variety Launches New Video Series, 'Daily Variety'

    Variety has launched a daily video series covering the business of entertainment. Hosted by Audrey Cleo Yap and executive produced by Eva Wong, “Daily Variety” will feature breaking news coverage and analysis from Variety’s award-winning staff as well as in-depth features and interviews with top industry professionals. Each bite-sized segment and featured clip will be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content