The Grand Finale of American Idol aired May 18, 2020, with feeds coming from remote sites including the judges’, the host, and the Top 5 contestants’ homes. The stay-at-home, and social-distancing mandates brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic or coronavirus outbreak have compelled producers to get creative and come up with this first ever at-home finale.
But the pandemic didn’t deter America from voting for their American Idol 2020.
After the final performances of the Top 5 contenders, namely Just Sam, Arthur Gunn, Francisco Martin, Jonny West and Dillon James, host Ryan Seacrest announced the results of the voting.
The Top 2 were revealed: Just Sam and Arthur Gunn. And finally, Just Sam was announced as the winner of American Idol 2020.
Just Sam, (real name Samantha Diaz) is a subway singer from Harlem, New York who lives with her sister and grandmother in a public housing project. She earns money by singing in trains. During her audition she said joining Idol will change her life.
When she heard Ryan’s announcement that she won, Just Sam, who was holding an iPad tuned to her grandmother, reacted by saying “WHAT?!” repeatedly. She then asked Ryan, “Can I thank America now?”
When she did, Just Sam thanked America profusely. She said, “My dreams have come true. My grandmother is good. Like, thank you so much America, but I would have never ever expected this. Thank you, thank you for voting for me.”
Here are Just Sam’s performances during the Finale:
Watch runner-up Arthur Gunn’s finale performances.
Winners of American Idol receive a record deal plus cash prize. Finalists earn the privilege of going on tour where each participant reportedly earn a six-figure fee. But with the current situation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the tour may likely be put on hold.
American Idol Season 18 premiered at 8PM, February 16, 2020 on ABC television and aired Sundays at 8/7c. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, filming of American Idol was temporarily suspended and contestants were sent home. Production resumed in late April, with all of the contestants performing from their homes.
Ryan Seacrest continues his role as the show’s host and Bobby Bones returns as the in-house mentor. Despite budget cuts, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie come back as judges for their third season of the series.
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