‘American Idol’: And the winner is …

SPOILER ALERT: The following post contains results from the Season 18 finale of ABC’s “American Idol,” which has yet to air on the West Coast.

It has all come down to this. An “American Idol’ season that began in February and wound up taking on a very different look because of the coronavirus outbreak, charged down to the finish line Sunday night.

And when the two-hour, music-filled finale was over, host Ryan Seacrest announced that our Season 1 winner is …

Just Sam!

The only female to make the Top 5, Sam edged out Arthur Gunn to capture the title.

As for Bay Area contestant Francisco Martin, he made the Top 5, but his journey ended there.

The night began with the field of seven finalists getting trimmed to five. Seacrest announced that, based on voting earlier in the week, Louis Knight and Julia Gargano have been eliminated.

That left Francisco Martin, Dillon James, Jonny West, Arthur Gunn and Just Sam vying for the title. They each were required to sing two songs apiece from their homes.

After the performances, Seacrest revealed that Martin, James and West were eliminated by a lightning round of real-time voting. That left Arthur Gunn and Just Sam standing at center stage awaiting the final pronouncement.

In addition to numbers by the Top 5, the “Idol” finale, included performances by the show judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. The latter closed the show with a performance of “We Are the World” and was joined by members of the “Idol” family, including Alejandro Aranda, Gabby Barrett, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Laine Hardy, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Ruben Studdard and Scotty McCreery.

It was the first TV performance of “We Are the World” in 35 years.

Also appearing in the finale were Cynthia Erivo, Lauren Daigle, Rascal Flatts and Doug Kiker. Erivo was joined by members of the “Idol” Top 11, including Danville’s Grace Leer, on a medley of Aretha Franklin hits.

(This post will be updated after the West Coast airing of “American Idol”).

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Author: Chuck Barney