And the winner of “American Idol” Season 20 is…

A star was born in the United States on Sunday, when american idol The Springsteen-themed finale of Season 20 culminated with Kentucky construction worker Noah Thompson winning the Idol Title. The result was slightly surprising, given that the regular gigging country rocker HunterGirl had been propelled as this year’s Golden Girl since judge Luke Bryan hand-delivered her first-ever platinum ticket to her ever since. coveted in the series. Meanwhile, Noah – who had no vocal training or professional experience – had only tried the show because his colleague Arthur had secretly signed him up. (“He wasn’t born to work with us,” Arthur told the judges in the Season 20 premiere, giving an impassioned speech that sounded like he was also auditioning… to be the manager or the publicist. of Noah.)

Viewers apparently agreed with Arthur, or at least related to Noah’s classic underdog Idol narrative. But runner-up HunterGirl and third independent troubadour Leah Marlene definitely gave Noah some tough competition on Sunday. Any of the three competitors could have been the boss this season, depending on their final performances.

The three-hour finale began with the top three songs from America’s ultimate rock ‘n’ roll idol, Bruce Springsteen (a Idol first), and while I wish this season’s crop of country/American/indie singers had a chance Nebraska or born to run track, they all went interestingly with Born in USA tunes. Leah chose the less obvious song, “Cover Me,” and while it was a sexy, confident performance that leaned heavily on that 80s rock stuff, she did so well with the covers. of last week’s Journey and Pretenders, judge Lionel Richie seemed to think the choice of left field would hurt her, warning, “I’m telling you, it’s important: song choice is everything now. Familiarity – you want the audience to sing along with you. Lionel still assured Leah that even though “Cover Me” was “not so familiar”, she “made it her song regardless”, and Katy Perry thought it was “such a groove” and said called Leah “the whole package”. But then Katy told Leah, in what seemed like a diplomatic kiss, “Just the amount of growth you’ve made in such a short time, you’ve earned, period – end of story.”

Apparently that been the end of Leah’s run Idol, but its story has only just begun. For the second round, the top three performed their first original singles – ironically, songs that, by design, everything of America wouldn’t be familiar with – and it was Leah’s time to shine. Leah’s moody folk-pop ballad “Flowers” was a wistful ode to her past, and it was definitely the hippest of the night’s originals, giving off Mirage-era Fleetwood Mac vibes. It was a really connected and sweet performance, and the admittedly “overwhelmed” Leah was in tears as the excited studio audience gathered around her.

“The crowd won’t lie. When they start singing like that, you’re on to something, child. Kudos to your songwriter side,” Lionel proclaimed. “This song is so beautiful and is going to change the lives of so many other people. You are a brilliant messenger,” Katy said. Later, Katy and Leah joined forces for a duet of Katy’s “Firework,” a song that Leah adorably performed acoustically when she was 9. So, in a way, Leah really won, because her childhood dreams came true.

After the second round, Ryan Seacrest announced the third-place finish of the season, and then it all came down to the two country crooners – giving longtime Idol viewers like me have flashbacks to the Scotty McCreery/Lauren Alaina Season 10 finale (when hipster outlier Haley Reinhart placed third, but went on to have a fine independent career.) Regarding the other two Bruce tracks from this year’s finale, HunterGirl went with maybe the the most obvious Born in USA anthem “Dancing in the dark”. It was his usual goodtime-gal shtick — fun but lighthearted, not exactly taking chances or reinventing any wheels. The crowd ate it, however, as did the judges, who had supported it all season. “You really have fun with it. You play with everyone. You are comfortable. This is your step. You really brought that electricity with that. … I don’t think you’re a star; i think you are a supernovasaid Katy, while Lionel told HunterGirl, “The thing is, you own the scene now. Honey, you have a career.

Raspy Everyman Noah was already the finalist most likely to get the Bruce treatment, but he made the better selection, delivering a smoldering rendition of Katy’s favorite Springsteen song, “I’m on Fire.” Lionel dubbed it ‘Noah Springsteen’ and Katy gushed: ‘So many people fell in love during this song, used it as their first dance song. I think you just dove in and grabbed every heart in America singing that song.

In the original round, however, it was HunterGirl who had the advantage. Noah’s single, “One Day Tonight,” sounded modern, albeit generic and midtempo and far too safe. It certainly wasn’t the best showcase for her sultry, raspy tone. But it had charted even before Sunday’s finale aired, so I guess that was a good sign. “You are about to do something really big. Don’t stop dreaming. There is a plan for you in your life,” Katy told her.

Meanwhile, HunterGirl’s “Red Bird” was just what she needed to un-separate the nation’s voting bloc and potentially steal the championship from Noah. “The red birds have been a big thing for my family,” she explained. “It means when you see a red bird, someone is watching over you.” The CW Network-themed sentimental ballad delivered all the thrills, though it wasn’t quite the right fit for HunterGirl’s screaming delivery. (Actually, I would have loved to hear Leah sing that.) Even the usually stoic Luke was tearing up and reaching for the tissues.

With the front two seemingly neck and neck, HunterGirl and Noah closed out the voting by covering songs from the start of the season. HunterGirl’s redux of Rascal Flatts’ “Riot” was perfectly nice, but it wasn’t quite the moment that Noah’s last song was – and this That’s when Noah clearly took the lead with his encore of Rihanna’s “Stay.” When he went for this off-the-beaten-track song choice during the Showstoppers Round a few weeks ago, it wasn’t just the first time I really noticed the green country singer, but one of the best performances and most interesting of the whole season. Revisiting “Stay” now, all cleaned up in a sleek suit, it seemed like Noah’s time had come. He looked and sounded like an idol. “That was one of my favorite songs that you guys sang all season. I’m so glad you picked that. And the growth! From when you last sang it ’til when you sang it tonight, you hit a few Remarksexclaimed Katy. “When you played that earlier in the season, I knew, we knew, you had something. You just proved it even more in that moment,” Luke said.

And the rest was Idol the story.

In addition to the Katy/Leah duet above, Luke and HunterGirl sang Randy Travis’ “I Told You So,” and Noah sang “Only One” with Melissa Etheridge and did a solid job despite, amusingly, not not seeming to know who Melissa was. But Sunday’s oversized finale allowed other contestants besides the top three to shine, starting with the top 10 performing “Good Feeling” with Flo Rida on the roof of the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd., then all making guest duets. Other highlights include Earth Wind & Fire and Jay Copeland’s vibrant EW&F medley, “Can I Be Him” ​​by James Arthur and Fritz Hager, “Take Me to the Pilot” by Ben Platt and Lady K, magical and moving “Smile” by Michael Bublé and Christian Guardino and a terrific “She Used to Be Mine by Sara Bareilles and Nicolina Bozzo who should have every casting agent on Broadway calling Nicolina’s number first thing Monday morning.

Judging by Sunday’s talent-packed finale, many of this season’s top 10 have what it takes to launch credible careers. In the meantime, auditions are already open for american idol Season 21. So, see you next year when the search for the next Noah Thompson begins. Park outside.

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