Maddie Poppe took home the “American Idol” crown Monday night, beating out Caleb Lee Hutchinson, a Georgia country singer.
Poppe, a 19-year-old Iowa singer-songwriter, was so overtaken by emotion that she couldn’t finish her original song, “Going Going Gone.” The rest of the top 10 plus Katy Perry joined her on stage. Hutchinson even sang a few lines himself.
And the cliche is right in a sense: Poppe and Hutchinson are both winners because they are dating. The revelation shocked the audience and the judges just minutes before Ryan Seacrest named the winner.
Keith Stell, Hutchinson's pastor, said in an interview Monday night that he had kept the secret for weeks and was surprised that they chose to reveal it on air. “They just made this connection during Hollywood week,” Stell said. “Their characters melded together. They share a lot in common.”
Indeed, they are both from small towns and are the same age.
Poppe is the first female to win since season 12 and only the second in the past 10 seasons. She is also the first quirky singer-songwriter type to take home the prize.
At 10:16 p.m., the show eliminated Gabby Barrett. The versatile singer came in third.
Poppe will appear on ABC's “Good Morning America” Tuesday morning, followed by “Live With Kelly and Ryan."