Friday, March 31

‘American Idol’ recap of episode 20 season 20: Is HunterGirl, Leah Marlene or Noah Thompson the winner? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

Season 20 of “American Idol” concludes in epic fashion with the Top 3 each hitting the Idol stage in hopes of securing America’s vote, including one round dedicated to “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen. In the end, host Ryan Seacrest will name one winner the next American Idol. In addition to the finalists, there will be showstopping performances by superstar judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, as well as Idol legend Carrie Underwood and superstars James Arthur, Sara Bareilles, Gabby Barrett, Michael Bublé, Deana Carter, Earth, Wind & Fire, Melissa Etheridge, Flo Rida, Ben Platt, Thomas Rhett, Tai Verdes and more.

Follow along with our “American Idol” Season 20 Episode 20 Grand Finale recap as the Top 3 take the stage one last time in hopes of becoming this year’s winner. Will HunterGirl, Leah Marlene or Noah Thompson take the crown?

SEE Meet the Top 3 finalists competing for America’s vote [PHOTOS]

This season the judges embark on yet another nationwide search for America’s next singing sensation. Auditions were held in Nashville, Tennessee, Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, California. If given a golden ticket, hopeful idols advanced to the Hollywood round. In a new twist this season, three contestants were given a Platinum Ticket, which allowed them to skip the first phase of Hollywood week. Kenedi Anderson withdrew from the competition on April 11. Jay made it to the Top 7 and was eliminated on May 8. Huntergirl is among the top three in the Grand Finale.

SEE Everything to know about ‘American Idol’ Season 20

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Below, follow along with all the action on Night 20 of Season 20 of “American Idol.” Timestamps are Eastern Standard Time. Hit refresh to see the most up-to-date thoughts on tonight’s live finale!

8:00 p.m. — Previously on “American Idol,” the Top 5 performed for America’s vote. After Seacrest announced the Top 5, we said goodbye to Fritz Hager and Nicolina. Tonight, a champion will be crowned. Let’s go!

8:07 p.m. — The finale begins with a performance of “Good Feeling” from Flo Rida from on top of the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. I think nine of the Top 10 are performing alongside him, I don’t see Emyrson Flora. Maybe she couldn’t make it? She is still in high school, perhaps she had other obligations. Seacrest then lets the entire audience down when he announced that there was a COVID exposure in Carrie Underwood‘s crew so, due to protocols, Carrie won’t perform tonight. The show will start in Battle Round. After two rounds of music we will see a snap shot of the vote and the person in third place will be eliminated! Let’s go!

8:12 p.m. — Round 1 will feature performances from the iconic songbook of Bruce Springsteen. Up first is is Leah Marlene singing “Cover Me.” She’s rocking the guitar, but I’m not sure I would have chosen this song for her. There are so many classics, why this one? It really doesn’t do much for her voice. At the end I’m left thinking, sure, she sounds great, but what a forgettable moment. Lionel says it’s not a familiar song (thank you!), but she still brought us in (not really). Katy calls it “such a groove” and thinks Leah is the full package.

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8:18 p.m.HunterGirl is next with a far superior song choice, “Dancing in the Dark.” Unfortunately she’s only singing about half the notes in the correct key. Sorry, I know the judges won’t mention it, but she’s all over the place. Perhaps it was nerves, but that was one of her worst vocal performances. Katy applauds her for bringing “electricity” to her performance. Luke likes her song choice. Lionel wants her jacket.

8:28 p.m.Noah Thompson will wrap up this first round with “I’m on Fire.” This is a great song choice and suits his gritty voice. He’s a little stiff on stage, but he sounds good. He’s the season heartthrob to boot, so I’d say he won this round. Luke calls him the “King of Aw Shucks.” Lionel says he is now “an artist.” Katy says Noah picked her favorite Springsteen song and he just swooped in and grabbed everyone’s heart in America. Ryan asks the judges who is in the lead. Of course they totally buckle and refuse to answer. It’s kind of annoying, just give an opinion! I’ll give mine. Noah won that round.

8:40 p.m. — In Round 2 the finalists will sing their debut singles following a look at their Hometown Hero visit. After her trip to Normal, Illinois, Leah will sing her original song “Flowers.” She has such a gorgeous tone. This song has a Stevie Nicks vibe to it, but I think Leah could have a lot of success in the country genre if she chose to go that route. She kind of bends genres in a way that reminds of Brandi Carlile. Lionel gives her props on her songwriting skills. Katy is crying and says she feels blessed to be part of the show. She thinks Leah’s song will change lives. Luke says the song is tremendous and he’s overwhelmed with joy watching her.

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