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Very Emotional AMERICAN IDOL Season 21 Live Finale Recap & WINNER Revealed!

Photo courtesy: American Idol/ ABC Disney copyright.

“American Idol” judge Katy Perry said they as judges are so grateful for their jobs because they get to be “fairies” and tell the contestants what they see and at the end, they see it too.  AMERICAN IDOL audition submissions for next season are now open!


“American Idol” season 21 Live Finale show which was simulcast from coast-to-coast Sunday night in order to give all the fans a chance to vote for their favorite contestants, topped themselves again!  It was one heck of a show that graciously honored not only the remaining Top 3 contestants, who were: Iam Tongi, Colin Stough (both 18-years-old), and Megan Danielle, who is 21-years-old.  But, also brought back the Top 12 to shine the spotlight on their stellar talent as well.

We got performances that combined the Top 12 with super-star talent.  Those included Nutsa and Kylie Minogue; We Ani and Jazmine Sullivan; Lucy Love with TLC; Megan Danielle with Lauren Daigle; Colin Stough and Luke Bryan being their Country selves with an all-time classic “Slow Hand.”  Then viewers got a very emotional and unforgettable performance from Iam Tongi who performed “Monsters” with James Blunt.  He dedicated the song to his deceased father.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, including another special guest performer, Jelly Roll!

As for this year’s winner!  Well…it was the second year in a row that the winner did not sign-up for “American Idol” themselves, but someone else signed them up!! Keep READING.

PitBull opened the finale show.  “American Idol” long-time host Ryan Seacrest announced the remarkable celebrity guests lineup that included TLC, Kylie Minogue, REO Speedwagon, Jelly Roll, Ellie Goulding, and MORE! It also was the return of past Idols Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken who ushered-in the new “American Idol” with a performance honoring the Top 2 by singing “The Impossible Dream.” It was a stunning performance as the Top 2 Idols of the night emerged during the last act of their performance. 

Former Idol Judge Keith Urban returned after 7 years of being on “American Idol” when he was a judge during the show’s FOX era.  Urban also mentored the Top 3 Idols this week.  Megan Danielle was up first.  She told him that before “American Idol” she used to not believe in herself.  Megan went with “God Whispered Your Name” for her first performance of the night.  

Keith said Megan placed huge expectations upon herself and has to learn to keep that in check. She said she just wants to be her and turn off all of the negative thoughts in her head and “have fun.”  

After Megan’s performance, Judge Lionel Richie reacted by stating that some people have “natural barbecue sauce abilities.” He said they have three number ones on the stage. 


Pictured: MEGAN DANIELLE / Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless


Lionel said “that little cry in your voice is so moving. It’s everything.”  He added that as far as he’s concerned he has three number ones on stage.  Katy noted that Megan really likes this version of her and it’s always been inside of her. She said their job is done.  Luke said she’s NOT made one bad vocal decision the whole season. “Your voice is your own voice” and it’s inspiring. “It’s been inspiring to watch you grow.”  He said having fun is what music is all about.
Ryan asked if she had a favorite week.  Megan responded that each week she gets the chance to share the word of God and keep doing it. 


Iam said his dad used to play Keith Urban’s record three times a day.  Now meeting Keitih Urban is a full circle moment.  Keith advised him that anytime he wants to hold a note longer, go ahead and do it because that makes Iam him.

After Iam’s performance, the crowd was cheering and chanting “Iam.”  Because of the overwhelming studio audience cheers for Iam, Katy said she didn’t think it mattered what she said. Katy told Iam that the vibrations of what comes out of his mouth goes through the weeds of people and when he sings, she is ready to feel.  Luke said he has a natural gift from God to create the emotion and to tell the story. 

Luke called it one of his favorite performances of the year. “Beautiful, perfection.”  Lionel commented that he’s an incredible story teller and they get to listen to the words.  Lionel asked himself why was he tearing-up on a song that he already knew? He said it’s because Iam has “a great delivery.” 

Ryan asked Iam what meaning did that song have for him?  He answered that his mom and his dad used to dance to that song and kiss to that song when he was a kid.  Katy said they as judges are so grateful for their jobs because they get to be “fairies” and tell the contestants what they see and at the end, they see it too.  


Keith said there was a cool thing that happened between Colin’s voice and his electric guitar and tonight’s performance, viewers will notice that.  Colin sang “Stupid Boy.”  

Pictured: COLIN STOUGH / Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless

Luke said he’s come so far from the kid that walked into the audition. “Kudos to you.”  Lionel said as time goes on, now he has a little bit of air about himself and he’s singing love songs and the girls are screaming. “Enjoy the ride. We are very proud of you.”  Katy called it “tenderoni pepperoni.”  She said in the beginning he was like 10 percent.  Now he’s at 60 – 70 percent.  When he hits 100 percent in the real world, it’s going to be hot “and you’re going to need air conditioning.”  Colin said waking up with great people every day, he’s counting his blessings.


During the next round of the “American Idol” season 21 Finale show, the Top 3 dedicated songs to their hometowns and footage of the return to their hometown parade and celebrations were shown.

Megan Danielle returned to her hometown of Douglasville, Florida where she arrived to a huge crowd of locals welcoming her with a parade.  She got a key to the city.  After that, Megan visited her father at his grave where she talked to him and brought flowers.  Megan put on a show at the Douglas high school football field.  She said she had always been so negative about herself.  “Overall, I’m blessed and this is awesome.”  She told the crowd that she’ll never forget this day and she’s going to “go win this thing!”

Her dedication song was “Faithfully” by Journey.  She got a standing ovation from the judges.  Lionel told the other judges who were crying to pull it together.  He told Megan, isn’t it wonderful that she came into it with her plan, but ended it with “God’s plan.”  

Katy said Megan “aced the class” and she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be.  Luke was still in tears. He said he loves this show because he cries so much. So many people out there have dealt with the loss that she has.  And it’s so many emotions.  He told her the end of that song was the best that he’s seen.  Megan said she loves her “Papaw” and he’s the reason why she is who she is today.  

After the break, the live finale voting was already underway.  Ryan said “almost 10 million votes have come in so far!”

Iam Tongi went back to his home town of Kahuku, Hawaii.  Iam said it’s a small, little town.  Even though he moved, they still know this is his home.  He went to Kahuku high school where he still has friends there.  He met everyone on the football field.  

Another emotional moment was when Iam received an honorary diploma from the principal of his high school.  Iam said he never wanted to leave as he held his diploma up and said he appreciated everyone supporting his singing and art.  Iam put-on a show at Turtle Bay Resort.  But, before the show, there was a moment of silence for Iam’s father who passed away.  

Iam sang “Cool Down” by Kolohe Kai for his dedication song.  Katy remembered how Iam said he moved from Hawaii because he was “priced out.” Katy told him “welcome to paradise my friend.”   Luke reacted that when Iam gets into that zone of island music, “it’s like a pig rub…” he told him great job.  Lionel said Iam has taken his natural born gift and it was amazing seeing the people who raised Iam.

Colin went back to his hometown in Mississippi.  His mom signed him up for “American Idol” because she wanted everyone to hear what she heard.  Colin went biking with his “Grandpaw.”  He said he’s a completely different person than he was during the Idol auditions.  Colin said he’s confident now and knows what he’s doing. 

Colin pulled up to his school in a bus.  He called it “life changing,” and attended a rally in his honor.  Colin said he wanted to be somebody and leave something behind. “I think I accomplished that.”  Colin was honored with a key to the city.  He never thought he’d be in the Top 3 and be able to come home and bless everyone.  He performed for his hometown as well.  

On the Idol stage, Colin performed “Either Way” by Chris Stapleton for his hometown dedication song.  Luke reacted that Colin is so much better than he originally thought he was.  What does it, is his ability to get that way with his guitar.  “Congratulations, great performance.”  

Lionel said it’s not every day you go home, you’ve got your jet, your bus, and your key to the city.  American Idol can do that.  Katy said that’s his sweet spot that he sings like he’s singing to only one person in the room. 

Ryan announced that one of the Top 3 would be eliminated in the second half of the show.  After the commercial break there were some special guest performances that included TLC who performed with Top 12 Lucy Love.  Zachariah Smith performed with REO Speedwagon member, Kevin.  They performed “Take it on the Run” by REO Speedwagon


The Top 2 were revealed soon after.  Ryan Seacrest didn’t waste any time in announcing that the Top 2 were Iam Tongi, and Megan Danielle!  That was followed by a slew of more top-notch performances while the live voting continued for the winner.

Pictured (l-r): COLIN STOUGH, MEGAN DANIELLE, IAM TONGI / Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless

Lady Wilson and Jelly Roll performed together.  After Lady Wilson exited the stage, Oliver Steele returned to the ‘Idol stage to perform with Jelly Roll.   Kylie Monage performed “Padam Padam” on the American Idol stage, later joined by Top 12 Idol Nutsa to perform “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” with Kylie.
Then judge Lionel Richie performed with the Top 12 “Sail On.”  This week’s mentor Keith Urban performed “Wild Hearts” with his band after that.

Pictured (l-r): IAM TONGI, JAMES BLUNT / Photo:
ABC/Eric McCandless

Then, the room came to a standstill when Iam Tongi performed “Monsters” by James Blunt WITH James Blunt on the American Idol stage in dedication to his father.  The judges, and mostly everyone in the audience, who included Iam’s mom and Jelly Roll were all crying. 

Ryan briefly talked to Iam’s mom, Lily, who signed Iam up for “American Idol.”  Ryan asked if she imagined what a life it would take on? She said she just wanted everyone to hear what she hears. She got emotional because this is what Iam’s father, Rodney dreamed about.  He wanted everyone to hear Iam. 
Ryan asked Monica, Megan’s mom, about watching Megan’s growth and what does she see?  As she tried to answer, Luke Bryan came up to kiss her because she’s a big fan of his.  

Lauren Daigle, also a former Idol contestant, surprised Megan Danielle at her “American Idol” audition.  It was a full circle moment when Lauren and Megan performed together. Lauren opened it up with “These Are The Days.”   

Pictured (l-r): MEGAN DANIELLE, LAUREN DAIGLE / Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless

To cap off the night, returning Idols Clay Akin and Ruben Studdard had their own messages and proudly honored this season Top 2 Idols in a serenade by singing “The Impossible Dream.”  Clay said about being on the show,  “it was an incredible experience. We were both exhausted.” Ruben Studdard will be touring starting this September with 50 plus dates.

After that, Ryan announced that there had been over 17 million votes tallied so far during the live simulcast.  The Top 3 all recorded singles.  Viewers got a behind-the-scenes look at the Idols in the studio.  They recorded at the Sound Factory with Emmy Award winning producers who’ve worked with Lizzo, Luke Bryan…and so many A-Listers. 

At the final stretch of the show, with only 15 minutes left before the winner would be announced, the Top 2 performed again. Megan Danielle performed her “Dream Girl” single.  Iam Tongi performed his single “I’ll Be Seeing You.”    

Final Words from the Judges:

Lionel said from the parent point of view their talent is going to take them a very long way.  Katy’s comment was “Chuck and Rodney holding hands said look at them they did it!”  Luke said just the energy of the show this year has been at the highest level we’ve seen since doing this.  He credited Iam Tongi’s audition for drawing excitement from viewers. 

Photo courtesy: American Idol/ ABC Disney copyright.


The winner of “American Idol” season 21 IS Iam Tongi!

Pictured (l-r): RYAN SEACREST, MEGAN DANIELLE, IAM TONGI, / Photo : ABC/Eric McCandless



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