A new American Idol has officially been crowned. 21-year-old Harlem singer Just Sam took home the grand prize in Sunday's Season 18 finale, which was held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic. Ryan Seacrest revealed the news to Sam, who was left awestruck by the results.
"My dreams have come true," Just Sam said. "Thank you so much, America. I would have never ever expected this."
The singer, who used to perform on the subway for money, beat out six other finalists including Julia Gargano, Dillon James, Louis Knight, Francisco Martin, and Jonny West. 22-year-old Wichita crooner Arthur Gunn was the runner-up. She, along with the rest of the contestants, was sent home after the Top 20 was announced out of concern for the COVID-19 and had been performing virtually every week.
American Idol originally ran from 2002-2016 on Fox. The reality competition was revived by ABC in 2018 with Seacrest returning to his original post as the host. Meanwhile, the rebooted series brought in new judges Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. This season, TV personality Bobby Bones served as a mentor to the Idol hopefuls.
American Idol has been renewed for Season 19 (which is Season 4 of the reboot).