American Idol 2023 Finale Results Live Blog – Winner Revealed!

American Idol 2023 crowns a season 21 winner tonight (May 21). The Top 3–Iam Tongi, Colin Stough and Megan Danielle–sing one last time for America’s vote! A contestant will be eliminated half way through the 3 hour event. After, the final two will sing their winners single for one last round of votes. The Top 3 visited their hometowns last week for a heroes welcome. Watch for the emotional video packages chronicling their visits.

Former American Idol judge Keith Urban will mentor the Top 3 as they each cover one of his iconic songs.

The episode airs LIVE COAST-TO-COAST. VOTING begins at 8 pm ET and ends after the last comercial break. At the end of the show, host Ryan Seacrest will announce the American Idol season 21 WINNER. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan serve as judges.

How to Vote on American Idol 2023: Everything You Need to Know

The night is filled with guest stars, as the Top 12 return to perform on the American Idol stage one last time.

American Idol 2023 Finale List of Guest Star Performers Revealed
American Idol 2023 Top 3 Poll Results, Winner Prediction

The show open with Pitbull and Lil’ Jon performing “Jumpin'” in front of a line of twerking dancers. “Give Me Everything” is next. The Top 12 join him on stage for a group number. POINTY POSE. GET OFF THE STAGE SEACREST.

Megan Danielle – God Whispered Your Name

Megan becomes emotional with mentor Keith as they discuss her lack of confidence. She also shares about her faith. “You’ve got a beautiful heart,” says Keith, adding that if a person breaks, they can come back even stronger. The song pick is a pleasant mid-tempo song, but it’s a boring song choice and doesn’t allow Megan’s voice to really soar.

The judges give her a standing ovation. Have a feeling they’ll be standing a lot tonight. Lionel says, “some people just have natural barbeque sauce abilities.” He loves the cry in her voice. Katy compliments the “new” version of her. “Our job here is done.” Luke observes that she hasn’t missed a note while sticking to her own style.

Iam Tongi – Making Memories of Us

Iam’s late dad was a big Keith Urban fan. The number Iam chose was one of his parent’s wedding songs. Mom wants to meet Keith Urban! Iam’s rendition is very sweet and true to who he is. He still doing that thing where he makes the song he covers into a brand new song.

The judges are standing, of course. The crowd is chanting for him. Katy says she had to grab a tissue, “It moves us so much. When you sing I am ready to feel.” Luke says, “You have a natural gift from God. It was one of my favorite performances of the year.” Lionel says, “You are an incredible storyteller. You have a great delivery.”

Colin Stough – Stupid Boy

Colin is a little nervous singing in front of Keith. But the mentor is impressed with how he subtly changed the song’s melody. The performance gets off to a slow start, but gains momentum in the second chorus. Colin sounds a little pitchy tonight. The performance isn’t a personal best, but it’s solid.

Luke says, “It’s been a pleasure seeing how you’ve grown. You’ve come so far.” Lionel likes his new attitude, “Enjoy the ride, we are very proud of you.” Katy says, “That was tenderoni pepperoni.”

In the second round, the Top 3 will dedicate songs to their hometowns. Before the singers perform, clips from their epic visits will roll.

Megan Danielle – Faithfully by Journey

Megan’s mom “fires” her from their family diner. She also visits her old high school in Douglasville, Georgia. She’s thinking about her late paw paw. She also attends a car race, a sport her entire family loves. Parade time! She visits her paw paws grave. She ends the day with a concert at her high school sports field.

This is actually a great song choice for Megan. It’s a big ballad with plenty of room to connect and express emotion. The arrangement is not countrified much. She hits big pop power notes at the end, showing her range and versatility.

Lionel talks about “God’s plan.” Katy is still crying with her little paper triangle. “You are exactly where you are meant to be.” Luke says, “I just cry all the time. The end of the song was one of the best things I saw all season.”

Iam Tongi – Cool Down by Kolohe Kai

Iam receives a traditional Hawaiian welcome when he arrived. He considers the island his home, even though his family moved to Seattle. He visits the high school he WOULD have graduated from if his family wasn’t forced to move. They give him an honorary diploma. “I never wanted to leave” he says. He plays to 14,000 fans at the Turtle Bay resort. That’s not a mis-type! Jack Johnson joined him on stage. SEASON 3 Top 3 alum JASMINE TRIAS IN THE HOUSE! See Lionel, Season 3 boasted two Hawaiian finalists. Iam is not the first.

Iam sings a breezy Island flavored song “Cool Down.” The reggae beat is a fitting tribute to his home. The crowd is going insane. Katy says, “You are the culture. You bring the culture to American Idol.” Luke says, “When you get into that zone of island music…great job.” Lionel says, “You’ve taken your natural gift…you’re going to spread it around the world.”

Colin Stough – Either Way by Chris Stapleton

Colin flies back to Amory, Mississippi where his family is waiting for him at home. Colin and his family need closed captions. Heh. Once home he and his grandpa ride motorcycles. He also reunites with his horses. Then, he visits his high school. Next is a parade, and the key to the city. He ends the night playing for fans at Hatley High School. Rickey Medlock, a surviving member of Lynyrd Skynyrd takes the stage with him to sing “Simple Man.”

He shouts what’s become his catch phrase, “I love you mama.” Now, this song is right in Colin’s sweet spot. It’s a mournful ballad with a spare arrangement that allows him to dig in with those raspy vocals. Luke says, “You are so much better than I originally thought you were.” Lionel says, “That’s just a great job.” Katy says, “I love what you just gave us.” She calls the song his “sweet spot.” I said it first! Heh.

Lucy Love and TLC

The legendary 90s girl group TLC performs “Scrubs” with Lucy Love, who is loving every minute on stage with a group she clearly admires. They move on to a couple more iconic songs including the massive hit “Waterfalls.”

Now it’s time for a time wasting video. The clip is all about Colin. They make fun of his unintelligible mumbling. “He’s so lucky he can sing,” Haven jokes.

Zachariah Smith and REO Speedwagon Kevin Cronin

Kevin in his old age sounds like a Dana Carvey impersonation. The two sing the classic hit “Take it on the Run.” It’s exactly the kind of song Zachariah would cover on the show. REO is heading out on a nationwide tour this year, says Ryan.


Iam Tongi, Megan Danielle and Colin Stough take the stage. One contestant will leave the competition NOW. TOM DIM THE LIGHTS AND HERE WE GO. Over 13 million votes so far. The first person in the Top 2 is…Iam Tongi. The final person voted through into the Top 2 is…Megan Danielle!!!!! HOLY COW! Colin Stough is eliminated!

I’m kinda shocked to be honest. His original single, “I Still Talk to Jesus” is pretty good and co-written by season 18 alum Francisco Martin. He also wrote Iam’s song. I was sure we were getting a Francisco Faceoff tonight.

Iam Tongi and Megan Danielle are the FINAL 2

Jelly Roll with Lainey Wilson

The two, who are on the BMG label (which also releases Idol music) sing their duet “Save me” After the performance, Lainey leaves the stage and Oliver Steele enters. The two sing “Need a Favor.” Oliver needed to sound this fierce during the competition.

Next, a clip of the Top 12 goofing on Megan Danielle.

Kylie Minogue and Nutsa

Kylie performs her new song “Padum Padum” Afterward, TWO international singers come together as Nutsa joins her on stage. Kylie is a worldwide superstar…except in the US. She has her fans here, but she isn’t massive like she is elsewhere. With nobody giving her grief, Nutsa pulls out out every. single. one. of. her. diva. moves. for “Can’t Get You Out of My Head.”

Lionel Richie and the Top 12 – Sail On

Lionel sits at the piano to sing “Sail On” while a recap video plays behind him. Eventually he gets up from the piano, and the entire Top 12 join him on stage to perform.

Keith Urban

Keith is back to sing his new single “Wild Hearts.” His mentor sessions with the Top 3 were very…short. Not much mentoring went on there. Nevertheless, if Luke left the show, I would not be mad if Keith returned to take his seat.

Iam Tongi and James Blunt

James Blunt is on stage with Iam to sing “Monster,” the song that brought the contestant millions of streams and kicked off his wild Idol journey. Katy is wiping her eyes with her triangle. Iam is so overcome with emotion, he breaks. James is very emotional as well. Jelly Roll is crying! Katy is sobbing now. Anybody who has sat and held a parent’s hand while they passed to the other side can feel this song. So moving.

Ellie Goulding and Tyson Venegas

Ellie sings “Miracle” against a dancey beat. Tyson Venegas joins her for her big hit “Burn.” The platinum ticket holder sounds pretty great here. Ellie’s album Higher than Heaven is out now.

Next, Ryan chats with the families sitting in the audience.

Megan Danielle and Lauren Daigle

Lauren surprised Megan during her audition while she auditioned with “You Say.” Now the two will perform together on stage. First, Lauren sings her new Christian song “These are the Days.” Megan joins Lauren for a performance of “Thank God I Do.”

Luke Bryan and Colin Stough

The Idol judge takes the stage to sing his latest single “But I Got a Beer in My Hand.” Luke seems so nice, but gotta get real. His songs are a terrible mess of country cliches. HARD PASS. An aside, I got an email from On Camera Audiences looking for fans to seat a studio taping for this performance. And indeed after a short clip illustrating how much the two have in common, Luke and Colin join forces on stage LIVE for a duet of “Slow Hand” by Conway Twitty (And the Pointer Sisters).

Another clip featuring the Top 12 mocking a Top 3 singer. This time it’s Iam. They’re laughing about the fly that landed on his head during one of his performances. He was not even bothered!.

Wé Ani and Jazmine Sullivan

Jazmine sings “Bust the Windows out Your Car” before Wé joins her onstage. She holds her own with an R&B queen. She was robbed!

Lainey Wilson and Marybeth Byrd, Warren Peay

Lainey is back on stage to sing her hit “Heart Like a Truck” with Marybeth Byrd and Warren Peay. That was a solid performance. Katy’s not sitting in her chair. She must be next to perform.

Haven Madison and Katy Perry

Haven and Katy sing Haven’s original song, “I Still Need You.” Katy’s contestant duets are ALWAYS incredible moments. The finalist who draws her lucks out. The two sit on top of a piano as they sing. Katy makes sure to give her duet partner space. It’s lovely.

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken celebrate 20 years

Twenty years ago TONIGHT, The American Idol season 2 finale crowned Ruben Studdard the winner. In a hotly contested competition, Clay AIken came in second place. 40 million viewers tuned in to watch. It’s the highest rated American Idol finale in the show’s history. The two have maintained an enduring friendship over the years. And now they return to the Idol stage to sing “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha. The two are currently touring the country together.

The CURRENT Top 2, Iam and Megan join them on stage to finish the song. FULL CIRCLE Y’ALL.

SURPRISE. Megan and Iam both win a DISNEY CRUISE. It’s not a Ford car. But oh well.

After a clip of The Top 3 recording their winners single, The Top 2 sing their songs for their very last round before the voting closes.

Megan Danielle – Dream Girl

Season 17 alum Laci Kaye Booth co wrote this song. So there is an American Idol alum face off tonight. But between two alums from different seasons! I get the feeling this song is a cast off from Laci’s one and done album with Big Machine Records.

Iam Tongi – I’ll Be Seeing You

Season 18 alum Francisco Martin wrote this song on his own. It’s the best of the two songs, and perfectly encapsulates Iam’s journey of grief and triumph. If Iam doesn’t win the season at this point, it will be the biggest upset in American Idol history. Clay and Ruben move over!

And the winner is….RESULTS!

Lionel calls the judges panel the “parents” of the Top 2. They are so proud. Katy imagines Megan’s paw paw and Iam’s father holding hands in heaven watching their kids succeed. TOM DIM THE LIGHTS AND HERE WE GO. After the nationwide vote. The winner of American Idol 2023 is Iam Tongi. Megan Danielle is the runner-up.

American Idol winner Iam Tongi closes the show with a rendition of “Don’t Let Go” by Spawnbrezie. The Top 12 join him on stage to celebrate.

While Iam’s win seemed obvious from the day he auditioned, the night was NOT without surprises. Some fans even thought Colin had a shot to win. But instead, Megan beat him for second place. I’m not sure what happened. They both were even as far as tonight’s performances were concerned (their second performances were vastly better than their first). American Idol can be unpredictable.

About mj santilli 34983 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!