‘American Idol’ Recap: Noah Thompson Named Season 20 Winner

Jill O'Rourke
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Noah Thompson american idol season 20 winnerABC/Eric McCandless

American Idol Season 20 came to a close during Sunday night’s finale, as Noah Thompson was named the winner, with HunterGirl coming in second place. Host Ryan Seacrest announced the result at the end of a star-studded three-hour episode.

Noah Thompson Named ‘American Idol’ Season 20 Winner

Once again, American Idol viewers showed their love of country music. Noah joins Chayce Beckham and Laine Hardy as the third male country artist to win the show during its revival on ABC. On Sunday, he delivered several strong performances to clinch his victory.

First, as part of the finale’s Bruce Springsteen tribute, Noah performed “I’m on Fire.” Judge Katy Perry told him he “grabbed every heart in America.” Later on, he sang his original song “One Day Tonight.” He also performed a duet with Melissa Etheridge and gave an encore performance of “Stay” by Rihanna, which was one of his most memorable song choices of the season.

Part of the way through the show, Leah Marlene was announced as the first contestant of the Top 3 to be eliminated, leaving HunterGirl and Noah as the Top 2. HunterGirl sang Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” prompting Perry to call her a “supernova.” Later, she teared up while performing her original song “Red Bird.” Both Perry and Luke Bryan were also emotional.

HunterGirl also joined Bryan for a performance later in the show, and she finished the finale by singing “Riot” by Rascal Flatts. She didn’t end up being named the winner, but judge Lionel Richie told her during Sunday’s show that she has a career ahead of her. We can’t wait to hear what’s next.

Season 20 Finale Features Star-Studded Performances

American Idol made the most of its three-hour runtime during Sunday’s finale, as eliminated contestants took the stage with some of music’s biggest names. The show opened with a performance of “Good Feeling” from Flo Rida and several of this season’s favorite singers.

Notable duets included Nicolina and Sara Bareilles, who sang the contestant’s audition song “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress; Christian Guardino and Michale Bublé, who sang “Smile”; and Leah Marlene and Katy Perry, who sang “Firework.”

Carrie Underwood was supposed to make an appearance during the finale, but Seacrest revealed at the start of the show that she unfortunately had to cancel due to Covid-19 exposure. However, former finalist Gabby Barrett appeared to sing her song “Pick Me Up” with husband Cade Foehner on guitar.

The show has been renewed for Season 21 on ABC, and online auditions are now open. Let us know in the comments if you agree with the viewers’ choice for this year’s American Idol winner.

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