AMERICAN IDOL crowned its winner of Season 20 during a three-hour live special on ABC.
On Sunday, May 22, 2022, the winner was revealed after Noah Thompson, and HunterGirl battled it out as the final two.
Who won American Idol 2022
The winner of American Idol was Noah Thompson,
HunterGirl was the runner-up, and Leah Marlene landed in third place.
Leah was eliminated earlier in the night, after the first half of the finale.
Fritz Hager and Nicolina were sent home last week following some amazing performances.
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Noah became emotional after his name was read as the winner.
"My heart is beating out of my chest," he said. "This is crazy."
Almost 16million votes came in for the final vote as host Ryan Seacrest revealed the results live on ABC.
But hundreds of fans were upset, feeling the show was "rigged" to favor him – some said they were tuning out for good.
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The finalists had performed original songs and covers in the finale, but they sang songs by Carrie Underwood the week before.
Earlier in the finale show, Noah had sung Rihanna's hit song, Stay which he had performed earlier in the competition, during Hollywood Week.
Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie reacted as the star bellowed out the hit song.
"That's it," said Lionel.
"That was one of my favorite songs you sang all season," said Katy. "You hit some notes boy!"
"When you performed that earlier in the season, we knew you had something special, and you just showed that."
Who is Noah Thompson?
Noah is a construction worker from Kentucky and was pushed to audition for American Idol by a co-worker.
His affinity for music started at a young age when his dad bought him his first guitar and gave him lessons.
Thompson told Hollywood Life that it was his dad who wanted him to "be in music," but as his dad taught him to play his first chords, his love for music grew.
It was his dad's dream as well that Thompson would make it in the music industry, and Thompson said, “Kind of the whole point of me being here, for my dad. I wanted to do it almost for the both of us.
Noah shared during the season he has an infant son named Walker.
He and his longtime girlfriend, Angel Dixon, have been together since 2018 and during Hollywood Week, Thompson told Lauren Alaina, “I recently became a dad."
"My little boy, he’s my strive for all this. Blows my mind that I’m even here."
Noah was unable to take the stage during his May 8 top 5 performance and instead sang his two songs from his hotel room due to COVID.
What happened in American Idol 2022?
This season, American Idol is aired live again, but with necessary safety protocols in place.
To ensure the protection of the cast, crew, and participants, the number of cities where the auditions were held was reduced, and the judges were socially distanced.
It was also a series of firsts for young contestant Kenedi Anderson who made history by earning the show's first platinum ticket, which allows contestants to bypass the first round of Hollywood Week.
Despite being one of the season's frontrunners, on April 11, 2022, episode she shocked fans when she withdrew from the competition.
Following Kenedi's performance of Christina Perri’s Human at the Aulani Disney Resort in Hawaii, host Ryan Seacrest revealed during the program: “You will notice there was no voting information during Kenedi’s performance just now.
"Since we taped these shows in Hawaii earlier, Kenedi (or Kennedy Anderson) has chosen to withdraw from our show for personal reasons. We send her well wishes.”
The rising star then took to social media, where she confirmed the news.
She wrote in an Instagram post: “For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue on American Idol.
"This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary.
"I’m so grateful to American Idol, the judges, the producers, the amazing contestants, and all the fans who have supported me.
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"Thank you for giving me such an amazing opportunity to share my voice, chase my dreams, feel so much joy and happiness doing what I love, and making lifelong friends along the way.”
While Kenedi confirmed the news herself, she did not specify why she decided to leave.
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