Tonight on “American Idol,” the live coast-to-coast, three-hour season finale features special performances from music legends and today’s top artists, with the Top 3 contestants taking the stage for the final time as America decides who will become the next American Idol. Will Colin Stough, Iam Tongi or Megan Danielle be crowned the winner? Emmy Award winner Ryan Seacrest hosts the reality TV competition series for the show’s sixth season on ABC and 21st overall.
Follow along with our updating live blog on Sunday, May 21 (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT) as we react to the Top 3 performances and reveal who wins.
The all-star lineup of performers includes the return of former Idol judge Keith Urban (singing “Wild Heart”), who will also mentor each of the finalists. Also confirmed to hit the stage are Clay Aiken & Ruben Studdard, Ellie Goulding, James Blunt, Jazmine Sullivan, Jelly Roll, Kevin Cronin, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Daigle, Pitbull and TLC!
In addition, judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie will each sing their own hits. The season’s Top 12 contestants including Wé Ani, Zachariah Smith, Haven Madison, Oliver Steele, Warren Peay, Marybeth Byrd, Tyson Venegas, Lucy Love and Nutsa will also perform.
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8:00 p.m. — Previously on “American Idol”! The Top 5 performed two songs each for “Disney Night.” Wé Ani and Zachariah Smith were eliminated at the end of the episode. Who will win over America in tonight’s finale? Let’s find out!
8:08 p.m. — Pitbull & Lil’ Jon get this party with a performance of “Jumpin.” Then the top 12 join Pitbull on his hit “Give Me Everything” before Ryan introduces the judges.
8:13 p.m. — Megan is up first, and she gets emotional during her one-on-one-with Keith. He says she puts too much pressure on herself, which can be crippling, and gives her some advice. She sings his song “God Whispered Your Name” for her opening number. The message of the lyrics is in line with the type of artist we knows she wants to be. I’m not too familiar with the song, but she gives a solid vocal. Lionel says she has “natural barbecue sauce” in her voice. Katy says their job as judges is “done.” Luke says he hasn’t heard her miss a note all year and calls Megan “inspiring.”
8:20 p.m. — Next up is Iam singing “Making Memories of Us.” This song of Keith’s pulls on the heartstrings, which has become Iam’s signature. Katy says every time he sings “it moves us so much.” Luke calls Iam’s voice a “natural gift from God.” Lionel says the greatest part of his being is that he’s “an incredible storyteller.”
8:30 p.m. — Colin us up last, singing “Stupid Boy.” This song is right in his wheelhouse and he’s strumming along with his guitar, wearing a cowboy hat and leather vest. He looks right at home. Luke says Colin has come so far from the kid who walked into his audition. Lionel tells him to “enjoy the ride” and they’re proud of him. Katy says he’s still only at about 60% and when he hits 100% in the real world it’s gonna get hot!
8:43 p.m. — With a dedication to her hometown of Douglasville, Georgia, Megan is singing “Faithfully” by Journey. Within in about 30 seconds Katy is in tears. She gives the power ballad some country grit, but doesn’t forget to sprinkle it with a little diva dust. Katy says she’s “aced this class” and Luke says it was one of the best performances of the season.
8:56 p.m. — With a dedication to his hometown of Kahuku, Hawaii, Iam is singing “Cool Down” by Kolohe Kai. It’s a beautiful island vibe that certainly puts me in the mood for a Hawaiian vacation. Katy says, “You bring the culture to ‘American Idol.'” Lionel says watching the village that raised Iam celebrate him “was absolutely amazing.”
9:08 p.m. — With a dedication to his hometown of Amory, Mississippi, Colin is singing “Either Way” by Chris Stapleton. It started out a bit low, but once he hits the chorus, Colin finds his groove. This song should play right into his base. Luke says he “kicked it in the rear” and Katy calls it “his sweet spot.”
9:22 p.m. — Lucy Love takes the stage with TLC for a fun medley of “No Scrubs,” “Creep” and “Waterfalls.” Next, Zachariah Smith hits the stage with REO Speedwagon‘s Kevin Cronin for a performance of “Take It On the Run.” Then, after two performances each, it’s time to eliminate someone in third place. Dim the lights! Ryan announces the third place finisher is…Colin Stough.
9:35 p.m. — Jelly Roll and Lainey Wilson perform their song “Save Me” before he goes into his next hit, “Need a Favor.” The all-star performances continue with Kylie Minogue singing “Padam Padam” and “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” with a little help from Nutsa.
9:55 p.m. — Lionel is now on stage with his own hit “Sail On,” joined by the Top 12 as backup singers. After a commercial break, Keith Urban performed his new single “Wild Hearts.” Then James Blunt joins Iam for an emotional duet of Iam’s audition song, “Monsters.” Iam can barely get the words out and the whole audience is in tears.
10:07 p.m. — Ellie Goulding hits the stage to promote her single “Miracle” with Calvin Harris. She’s also joined by Tyson Venegas on her hit “Burn.” Then Lauren Daigle returns singing “These are the Days” before Megan joins her for “Thank God I Do.”
10:20 p.m. — Luke is up singing his new single, “But I Got a Beer in My Hand.” Next Colin joins him to sing “Slow Hand” by Conway Twitty. Then Jazmine Sullivan takes the stage singing “Bust Your Windows” with Wé Ani, who sounds fantastic alongside the Grammy winner.
10:30 p.m. — Lainey Wilson returns to sing “Heart Like a Truck” with Marybeth Byrd and Warren Peay. The, singing a mashup of their songs “Still Need You” and “By the Grace of God,” are Haven Madison and Katy Perry. Beautiful!
10:40 p.m. — Singing “The Impossible Dream,” Idol legends Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard return to the competition that made them household names 20 years ago. They sound fantastic! They’ll begin a tour together starting in September.
10:48 p.m. — Megan is singing her new single “Dreamgirl” for her final “American Idol” performance. It’s currently #60 on iTunes, but it’s sure to get a boost after that rendition.
10:52 p.m. — Now with his new single, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” Iam gives his swan song. It’s currently #11 on iTunes, behind Colin’s single, “I Still Talk to Jesus,” which is #9. Will that change if he takes the crown tonight?
11:00 p.m. — Dim the lights! Ryan is ready to announce, the WINNER of “American Idol” is…Iam Tongi! That’s a wrap for Season 21!
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