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Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Season 18 finale of American Idol. Read at your own risk!
It took a lot of work and collaboration, but thanks to the hard work of hosts, contestants, and a handful of camera phones, American Idol Season 18 has come to a close. Of course the big ending came only after an epic finale night full of astonishing performances, with much respect for social distancing, and the long-awaited crowning for the winner of this fantastic season. After the Top 5 contestants' dual performances, the votes were tallied, and Just Sam was crowned the newest champion.
From singing in the subways of New York City to nailing performances within her quarantined apartment in Los Angeles, Just Sam was standing alone via webcam when the news came in. That said, she did have a tablet's video feed going with her NY-set grandmother, who was completely over the moon with excitement that her granddaughter won. Sam was the first American Idol contestant to be completely alone when her name was announced, but viewers wouldn't have known that from the all-encompassing happiness spread across her face.
Just Sam's win was a big one, considering she was the only female contestant to make American Idol Season 18's Final 5, which also featured Dillon James, Jonny West, Francisco Martin, and Arthur Gunn. Sam truly sung her heart out performing "Stronger," which comes from the queen of Idol winners, Kelly Clarkson. That, along with her rendition of Andra Day's "Rise Up," successfully got her down to the Final 2, alongside Gunn.
Gunn had managed to impress America a few times with his different takes on CCR's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain," but I'd be shocked if very many American Idol fans felt he'd top Just Sam to take the top prize. Sam has thrived in every round in Season 18, and has managed to win the judges' approval and audience vote with each and every week. She was a favorite to win even before the show's postponement, and that obviously counted for something.
That's not to say this was a complete runaway victory for Just Sam though, as Season 18 was arguably more stacked with talent than the show has been in a while. Sam appears to have a big future ahead of her, but to be quite honest, it's would be easy to envision everyone from this year's Top 7 moving on to bigger and better things after American Idol. I would not be the least bit surprised if this season lead to a few more successful "losers" such as Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, or Adam Lambert.
And just like that, American Idol is done for the season. Luckily, Season 19 audition slots are already being filled up, and who knows what familiar faces will resurface from Season 18 in the coming year? Next year will hopefully showcase a full, uninterrupted season, though if things do have to change again, at least fans know Idol is able to adapt without sacrificing too much.
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