Just Sam was named the winner of season 18 of American Idol on Sunday during a remotely-filmed finale that featured a performance by pregnant judge Katy Perry.
The 21-year-old subway singer from Harlem, New York City took the title following viewer voting during the two-hour live show on ABC.
Sam in Los Angeles celebrated away from host Ryan Seacrest, 45, and judges Katy, 35, Lionel Richie, 70, and Luke Bryan, 43, with a tablet connecting the singer to her beloved grandmother in New York City.
The winner: Just Sam won season 18 of American Idol on Sunday during a remotely-filmed finale due to the coronavirus pandemic
‘My dreams have come true,’ Sam said as her grandmother could be seen celebrating from afar.
Katy arrived wearing a yellow floral-print maternity dress after showing up in recent weeks costumed as toilet paper and hand sanitizer while filming from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Katy said in light of the ‘grand finale’ that it was ‘time to be normal’.
‘My new song Daisies is out and I’m dressed a little bit like a daisy,’ said Katy who released her latest single Friday.
New song: Katy Perry wore a floral print dress and performed her new single Daisies during the two-hour show on ABC
Katy, who is expecting her first child with 43-year-old fiance Orlando Bloom, later performed the TV debut of Daisies during the finale.
The show opened with seven singers, but there were only five spots in the finale.
Julia Gargano and Louis Knight were eliminated early, leaving Dillon James, Francisco Martin, Jonny West, Arthur Gunn and Sam in the finals.
First finalist: Dillon James reacted along with judges Katy, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan as he made the final five
The five finalists each performed twice with the first song their pick to celebrate when the COVID-19 crisis is over and the second being their debut single, if they win.
Dillon sang Change The World first and followed with the Bob Dylan classic The Times They Are A-Changin’.
Francisco rocked out to Adore You by Harry Styles for his first song and then belted out Alaska for his second song.
Two songs: Dillon sang Change The World first and followed with the Bob Dylan classic The Times They Are A-Changin’
Subway singer Sam made a statement with her first song as she delivered a stirring rendition of Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson, 38, who won the first season of American Idol.
She later performed Rise Up by Andra Day that showcased her powerful voice for her second song.
‘What growth on all levels of this competition,’ Luke told Sam after her second performance.
Fab five: Francisco Martin, Dillon, Arthur Gunn, Sam and Jonny West made the final five
Lionel called her an ‘inspiration’ and said viewevers have been inspired by her journey and commitment to her grandmother.
‘You rose. Girl, you rose,’ Katy told her.
Arthur for his first song performed I Don’t Want To Be by Gavin DeGraw and for his second delivered the classic Credence Clearwater Revival song Have You Ever Seen The Rain? while playing guitar on a porch.
Porch song: Arthur for his first song performed I Don’t Want To Be by Gavin DeGraw and for his second delivered the classic Credence Clearwater Revival song Have You Ever Seen The Rain? while playing guitar on a porch
Jonny took on the upbeat song You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down by James and Bobby Purify for his first song and for his second rapped during his own original single Makin’ Love.
The stars took over after the contestants performed starting with Luke singing his new song One Margarita from his upcoming album due out in August.
‘It’s a drinking song,’ explained Luke who said it was released in March to help people cope during the coronavirus pandemic.
New song: The stars took over after the contestants performed starting with Luke singing his new song One Margarita from his upcoming album due out in August
Garbage man Doug Kiker who inspired viewers during his audition returned for the finale and performed Bless The Broken Road with country trio Rascal Flatts.
Sam also returned and performed her audition song You Say along with Lauren Daigle, 28.
Katy pushed visual limits, all things considered, as she performed Daisies barefoot in a short pink dress with animated graphics.
Bold choices: Jonny took on the upbeat song You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down by James and Bobby Purify for his first song and for his second rapped during his own original single Makin’ Love
Arthur and Sam near the end of the show were named as the two finalists as Dillon, Francisco and Jonny were eliminated.
Sam after winning joined Lionel for a new rendition of the charity single We Are The World that he co-wrote in 1985 with the late pop superstar Michael Jackson.
They were assisted by Katy and Luke along with past American Idol stars including Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Katharine McPhee.
Top two: Arthur and Sam near the end of the show were named as the two finalists as Dillon, Francisco and Jonny were eliminated
British singer Cynthia Erivo, 33, during the finale also lead a tribute to Aretha Franklin with the top 11 singing a medley of her hit songs.
American Idol due to the coronavirus pandemic was forced to air two weeks of clip shows titled American Idol: This Is Me before resuming April 26 with remote filming from numerous locations as the top 20 performed.
ABC announced Friday that American Idol had been renewed for a fourth season on the network.
American Idol premiered in June 2002 on Fox and was a ratings juggernaut while launching the careers of first season winner Kelly, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee and Jordin Sparks.
The show aired on Fox for 15 seasons until 2016 and after a two-year hiatus was revived in March 2018 by ABC.
Show mentor: Bobby Bones served as the mentor to the singers during season 18 of American Idol