The American Idol season 21 finale was a celebration of music, featuring many special guest performers who took the stage with the Top 12 finalists. Iam Tongi was crowned the winner, while Megan Danielle was the runner-up, and Colin Stough placed third. The show kicked off with an energetic performance of “Jumpin” by Pitbull and Lil’ Jon. They were then joined by the Top 12 finalists for an exciting rendition of “Give Me Everything.” The three finalists competed with several impressive songs.
Throughout the American Idol season 21 finale, there were many treats for fans of all music genres. The Top 12 finalists joined judge Lionel Richie for a powerful performance of “Sail On.” Finale mentor Keith Urban took the stage to sing his inspiring hit song, “Wild Hearts.” On the 20th anniversary of their American Idol finale, season 2 winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken sang a stunning version of “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” from Man of La Mancha. They were joined at the end by Iam and Megan. In addition to these performances, there were 11 more standout songs from the night.
11 Oliver Steele & Jelly Roll
Jelly Roll began his performance with a duet of “Save Me” with Lainey Wilson. He and Oliver Steele then sang “Need a Favor.” Oliver and Jelly Roll sounded great together. The song really highlighted Oliver’s vocal talent, and he looked natural on stage. At the end of the song, the music dropped out and Oliver’s voice was isolated, showing his ability to convey emotion through any type of song.
10 Zachariah Smith & Kevin Cronin
Zachariah Smith brought out his guitar to sing a duet of “Take It on the Run” with REO Speedwagon lead singer, Kevin Cronin. Zachariah was known for sprinkling classic hits with his own spectacular style, so this pairing was a match made in musical heaven. Their harmonies and Zachariah’s vocal range made this a powerful performance that showed a new side of him. Zachariah is sure to have a bright future ahead of him in music.
9 Nutsa & Kylie Minogue
After Kylie Minogue sang her new single, “Padam Padam,” she was joined on stage by Nutsa to sing her iconic song, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head.” They were the perfect pairing, as both are international divas. Nutsa showcased her star power and stage presence throughout the performance, bringing back her signature dance moves and incredible vocals. She proved that she can keep up with pop superstars like Kylie.
8 Lucy Love & TLC
TLC sang a medley of their hits along with Lucy Love, who made her triumphant return to the American Idol stage. The fun performance was a throwback to the ’90s, with a medley of three TLC hits: “No Scrubs,” “Creep,” and “Waterfalls.” Lucy fit in with the group naturally, singing and dancing like a true star. Just like American Idol season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert became the lead singer of Queen after his amazing stint on the show, it isn’t hard to imagine Lucy joining TLC. With her vocal range, she has the potential to go very far in the music industry.
7 Megan Danielle & Lauren Daigle
After Lauren Daigle sang her song, “These Are the Days,” she and Megan reunited to sing Lauren’s other song, “Thank God I Do.” Megan and Lauren had previously sung together during Megan’s audition. Lauren had surprised her while she sang her song, “You Say.” During “Thank God I Do,” the mutual admiration and respect that these Christian artists have for each other was apparent. The emotional performance with gorgeous harmonies proved why Megan deserved her place as the American Idol season 21 runner-up.
6 Colin Stough & Luke Bryan
American Idol judge Luke Bryan sang his new song, “But I Got a Beer in My Hand,” and was joined by contestant Colin for “Slow Hand.” Colin and Luke’s performance began with a retrospective of their connection on the show, which made it all the more special. Luke genuinely cares about Colin, while the young singer clearly admires and respects his idol. This song came after Colin had been eliminated from the competition, but it was still apparent that he has a bright future in country music ahead of him. Colin and Luke made a classic country song new again.
5 Iam Tongi & James Blunt
Iam’s American Idol audition with James Blunt’s “Monsters” went viral because of his moving vocals and painful story of his dad’s passing. He sang the song with James on the finale. Overcome with emotion, Iam broke down crying. However, James’ gentle hand on his arm helped to calm him and get to the powerful ending of the song. This performance reminded everyone why Iam deserved to be the American Idol winner. The audience was in tears, and he once again connected with everyone, helping people to deal with loss in their lives. Iam’s angelic voice tells the story of the depth of his pain with every note.
4 Tyson Venegas & Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding started off singing “Miracle,” and was then joined by Tyson Venegas for a lively performance of “Burn.” This song reminded everyone why Tyson was awarded a platinum ticket at his audition. He is a gifted singer with perfect vocals. In the finale, Tyson appeared as a cool, current young artist with the vocal talent to take his place among today’s music superstars.
3 Marybeth Byrd, Warren Peay, & Lainey Wilson
Lainey was joined by Marybeth Byrd and Warren Peay for an incredible rendition of her song, “Heart Like a Truck.” Marybeth and Warren were two country artists who left the competition too early. They are both fantastic vocalists who already look like professional singers on the stage. This song gave another taste of their country style, and did what every great performance does: left the audience wanting more. This is surely not the last fans will hear from both of them.
2 Wé Ani & Jazmine Sullivan
Throughout Wé Ani and Jazmine Sullivan’s performance of “Bust Your Windows,” it was impossible to tell that Wé was an American Idol finalist, and not a professional singer. From her powerhouse vocals to the way she dominated the stage, she proved that she’s a true star. Her confidence and poise was on full display. Wé is one of the best singers to grace the American Idol stage in years.
1 Haven Madison & Katy Perry
Haven Madison and judge Katy Perry’s duet was the best performance on the American Idol season 21 finale. They sang a beautiful and powerful combination of Haven’s original song “Still Need You” and Katy’s “By the Grace of God.” Katy is known for her finale duets with the contestants, during which she lifts them to new heights. She’s a support system for them throughout the competition, and she really allows them to shine during her performances with them. Haven and Katy’s harmonies were pure magic and full of emotion. As Katy smiled at Haven and held her hand, it was apparent that there’s a lot of love between them.
The American Idol season 21 finale had some unforgettable performances. It was a true celebration of a season that was jam-packed with incredible talent. The Top 12 soared with the help of the guest performers, and everyone should be very proud. American Idol season 21 set the bar high for future seasons.