Abi Carter of Indio takes crown in star-studded 'American Idol' finale

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"American Idol" fans: Tonight is the big night, when finalists Abi Carter, Jack Blocker and Will Moseley will give it their all at center stage in a bid to claim the coveted title. Featuring heavily in the finale will be the traditional "hometown visits" with the contestants, and The Desert Sun was there for all of the festivities surrounding Indio native Abi Carter's homecoming last week. Follow along tonight as we report from the ground in Indio as the entire Coachella Valley cheers Abi on in her quest for the title.

Abi Carter on her 'American Idol' win: 'This is my dream'

Season 22 "American Idol" winner Abi Carter has shared a few thoughts on Instagram about her crowning moment.

"HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE!??!?!?!? I couldn't have imagined winning #americanidol when I started this whole journey," Carter wrote. "We haven't had a girl winner in over 4 years and to be the first after so many seasons is the greatest honor."

The last female winner of "American Idol" was Just Sam (Samantha Diaz) during Season 18 (2020).

"I'm just a girl from Indio, who used to sing on street corners, and now I've had the pleasure and privilege to work with some of the most talented people in the industry and be heard by millions of people," the post continued. "This is my dream and I know it's just the beginning. I love you all so much."

City of Indio, others celebrate Abi Carter's 'American Idol' win

Organizations throughout the Coachella Valley shared congratulatory messages to Carter across social media, including The City of Indio, Palm Springs VillageFest and the University of California Riverside Palm Desert campus.

"OUR AMERICAN IDOL WINNER @abicartermusic!!! Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for Abi each week and the support of our community throughout this incredible journey! Congratulations to @abicartermusic!" read an Instagram post from the City of Indio.

Indio is already known as the "City of Festivals," but now it gets to add "City of the latest 'American Idol' winner" to its resume as well.

"She was made for this" read an Instagram post from "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest. The post included photos of Carter hugging judge Richie and wiping away tears while Seacrest showed off the winning envelope in his hand.

Abi Carter of Indio named winner of 'American Idol'

She has done it! Indio native Abi Carter is the winner of "American Idol."

The whole arena erupted into applause once Carter's name was read by host Ryan Seacrest. As she fell to her knees with tears streaming down her face, the judges looked emotional at their newest singer extraordinaire.

Bringing it back to the song that started her "Idol" journey, Carter sang "What Was I Made For?" to close out the show. Afterward, her fellow contestants and family members came to her side to hug her.

Carter started her "American Idol" journey with the judges saying they were looking at the next winner, and that came true Sunday night.

"What were you made for?" Perry asked Carter during her audition. "You were made for this, 100%."

In the show's final moments, Perry was seen wiping tears and being consoled by Lionel Richie as she also bid farewell to her "Idol" journey as a judge.

Will Moseley was named runner up, while Jack Blocker earned third place in the competition series.

What did the 'American Idol' finalists sing?

Abi Carter:

  • "Bed of Roses" by Jon Bon Jovi

  • "Somewhere" from "West Side Story"

  • "River" – duet with Bishop Briggs

  • "This Isn't Over" – original single

Will Moseley:

  • "It's My Life" by Jon Bon Jovi

  • "My Town" by Montgomery Gentry

  • "Hold My Hand" and "Only Wanna Be With You" – duet with Hootie and the Blowfish

  • "Good Book Bad" – original single

Jack Blocker:

  • "I'll Be There for You" by Jon Bon Jovi

  • "All My Ex’s Live in Texas" by George Strait

  • “What Makes A Woman” – duet with Katy Perry

‒ USA Today

'American Idol' finalist Abi Carter ends her journey with new single 'This Isn't Over'

For her final “American Idol” song, the Indio native belted her latest single, “This Isn’t Over.”

The singer was clearly emotional during the song, trying to hold back tears as she belted high notes. Once she finished, she let them flow while the audience chanted "Abi! Abi! Abi!"

The judges were left speechless.

Carter's song tells a story about personal growth, becoming a stronger person and wanting to tell one's younger self that it's not over, even when it seems impossible to keep going. It also sends a message to the young singer's fans that, regardless of what happens on Sunday, Carter is just getting started with her music career.

This is the second song Carter has released during her time on the competition series. Her first single, "It's All Love," was released on March 29.

The winner of “American Idol” will be announced in just a few minutes.

'American Idol' finalists Abi Carter, Will Moseley win Disney Cruise to Bahamas

Finalists Abi Carter and Will Moseley have to start planning their next vacation.

Host Ryan Seacrest announced that the two singers, along with three guests of their choosing, won a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. What could be better? Well, possibly winning "American Idol," but at least they can relax for a few days before their music careers take off.

Top 12 ladies honor judge Katy Perry with medley

"American Idol" finalist Abi Carter and the remaining Top 12 ladies honored judge Katy Perry, who was ending her show tenure Sunday, with a medley of her songs.

The contestants sang “Teenage Dream,” “Dark Horse,” “California Gurls.”

Perry was shown munching on some pizza, dancing and tossing beach balls to the audience. She climbed on top of the judges' table at the end and showed off her muscles.

Abi Carter, Bishop Briggs belt out together on 'American Idol'

Before diving into the Top 2 round, Carter hit the stage with singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs. Briggs started the performance solo with her song "Triumph" before Carter joined for the electric song "River."

Judge Katy Perry could be seen bopping her head along with the audience.

'American Idol' finalist Abi Carter makes it into Top 2

Indio native Abi Carter was the second name called to make it into the "American Idol" Top 2.

Will Moseley is also in the Top 2, while Jack Blocker earned third place in the competition series.

How to vote in 'American Idol' finale

Coachella Valley viewers at home have three ways to vote for their favorite “Idol” contestant:

  • Visiting americanidol.com/vote

  • Using the American Idol App ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣

  • Text 8 to 21523⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣

You can submit up to 10 votes for each contestant per voting method (meaning 10 votes on americanidol.com/vote, 10 votes on the American Idol app and 10 votes via text message), for a total of 30 votes for that contestant.

Voters must be at least 16 and located in the U.S., Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands to vote online or in the American Idol app. Voting is open throughout the show.

Ema Sasic

'American Idol' judge Katy Perry sparkles in metallic corset outfit

Judge Katy Perry sparkles on her own, but her outfit during Sunday's finale made her shine like a “Firework.”

The “California Gurls” singer wore a gold metallic corset with roses, which looked beautiful on her, but got us wondering if it was at all comfortable to wear during the show. The dress also featured a long white skirt.

Fantasia Barrino, Jason Mraz, more hit the ‘Idol’ stage during finale

The "American Idol" finale was full of hot shot guests.

Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino returned to her “Idol” roots on Sunday. She told the Top 3 to keep going and to never let closed doors stand in their way.

“This show opens doors,” she added. Barrino would return later in the show for a performance.

Singer Jason Mraz and “Idol” contestant Julia Gagnon later hit the stage together to sing Mraz’s hit “I Feel Like Dancing.” Gagnon finished in this season’s Top 7.

Seal also celebrated the 30th anniversary of his song "Crazy" with Top 12 contestant Jayna Elise.

Other people who took the stage included James Bay, New Kids on the Block, Hootie & the Blowfish, Wynonna and all three "Idol" judges.

'American Idol' finalist Abi Carter dedicates 'Somewhere' to Indio

For her second song, Carter picked "Somewhere" from "West Side Story" as her dedication to Indio.

Draped in all a light blue ensemble, Carter belted the emotional song and savored each moment.

Once again, the judges gave her a standing ovation and let the crowd cheer. Lionel Richie said "that was a show-stopping moment" and "doesn't get any better than that." Katy Perry compared Carter to the Statue of Liberty, and added that if Carter wins the show, the bar is going to be so high.

Moments from Carter’s hometown visit were shown during the segment as well, including visiting the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, being welcomed by students at George Washington Charter School in Palm Desert and ending her day at her parade and concert in downtown Indio.

Abi Carter takes on Bon Jovi’s ‘Bed of Roses,’ gets surprise shout out from Billie Eilish

Indio native Abi Carter took on Bon Jovi’s hit “Bed of Roses“ during her Top 3 performance on Sunday night.

Sitting at the piano and wearing a black and white blazer and white pants, Carter got the audience to turn on their iPhone lights and wave them back and forth. As she sustained long notes, the crowd could be heard cheering for her.

During her mentor meeting, Bon Jovi told Carter her rendition of the song was “beautiful,” but that he wanted her to make it hers.

“I got the chills now,” Bon Jovi said as she tweaked the song.

Following her performance, the judges all stood and clapped for Carter. Luke Bryan had to wait a while before he could address her because of all the cheering.

“Well, I think they’re saying it. That was tremendous,” he said. “I think the room is saying what they feel.”

Carter said she was “unimaginably thankful” as she took in the applause.

Then she was delivered the surprise of a lifetime: Grammy Award-winner Billie Eilish sent in a video message, voicing her support for the Indio singer.

“I love you so much. I wish you nothing but the best, and I just can’t wait to see what happens tonight,” Eilish said. ‘I’m here to support you forever.”

'American Idol' finale opens with a tribute to mentor Jon Bon Jovi

The three finalists kicked off the evening with a tribute to their mentor for the week, rock legend Jon Bon Jovi.

They sang “Livin’ on a Prayer,” before Bon Jovi joined them on stage for “Legendary.”

How to watch the 'American Idol' season 22 finale with Abi Carter, Jack Blocker, Will Moseley

The "American Idol" finale, during which footage from Indio native Abi Carter’s visit to the Coachella Valley will be shown, will air live at 5 p.m. PST Sunday on ABC. It will also be available to stream on Hulu starting Monday.

Jackalope Ranch, located at 80-400 Highway 111 in Indio, is also hosting a watch party beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday. Attendees can enjoy drink, food and a chance to win prizes.

Ema Sasic

What does the winner of ‘American Idol’ receive?

After weeks of performing and vying for America’s vote, someone will be crowned the next “American Idol” winner tonight. But what do they actually win?

USA Today reports the winner goes home with a $250,000 cash prize and recording contract. In past seasons, finalists have also won new cars and other goodies, so who knows what surprises are in store for the Top 3 tonight.

One of them will also join an impressive list of past winners, who include:

  • Season 1 (2002): Kelly Clarkson

  • Season 2 (2003): Ruben Studdard

  • Season 3 (2004): Fantasia Barrino

  • Season 4 (2005): Carrie Underwood

  • Season 5 (2006): Taylor Hicks

  • Season 6 (2007): Jordin Sparks

  • Season 7 (2008): David Cook

  • Season 8 (2009): Kris Allen

  • Season 9 (2010): Lee DeWyze

  • Season 10 (2011): Scotty McCreery

  • Season 11 (2012): Phillip Phillips

  • Season 12 (2013): Candice Glover

  • Season 13 (2014): Caleb Johnson

  • Season 14 (2015): Nick Fradiani

  • Season 15 (2016): Trent Harmon

  • Season 16 (2018): Maddie Poppe

  • Season 17 (2019): Laine Hardy

  • Season 18 (2020): Just Sam (Samantha Diaz)

  • Season 19 (2021): Chayce Beckham

  • Season 20 (2022): Noah Thompson

  • Season 21 (2023): Iam Tongi

Ema Sasic

Everything 'American Idol' finalist Abi Carter performed this season

It’s been a long journey on “American Idol” for Carter. She kicked things off by dazzling the judges, and viewers at home, with her powerful rendition of “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish for her audition, and it earned her one of three platinum tickets to Hollywood.

Throughout the season, she has continued to show a wide range of her musical abilities, from serenading audiences at the piano to showing her inner rocker.

Here is everything Carter sang this season:

  • Audition: “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish

  • Hollywood Week: "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas & the Papas (trio with Julia Gagnon, and Odell Burton Jr.)

  • Showstopper round: "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher

  • Top 24: "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong UNITED

  • Top 20: "Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance and "My Mind" by Yebba

  • Top 14 (Theme: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame): "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John

  • Top 12 (Theme: Billboard #1 Hits): "All Too Well" by Taylor Swift

  • Top 10 (Theme: Contestants' birth year): "Clocks" by Coldplay

  • Top 8 (Theme: Judges' song contest): "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence; noncompetitive performance of "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry with McKenna Faith Breinholt, Gagnon and Kaibrienne

  • Top 7 (Themes: Dance songs and Adele): "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)" by Fall Out Boy and "Hello" by Adele

  • Top 5 (Theme: Disney songs): "Part of Your World" from “The Little Mermaid” and "The Chain" from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Jon Bon Jovi will serve as this week’s guest mentor and be among the special performances from music legends and top stars in Sunday's episode, according to ABC.

Ema Sasic

'American Idol' hometown visit: Exciting week for Indio native Abi Carter

Sunday's “American Idol” finale caps off an exciting week for 21-year-old Carter.

Once she secured her spot in the Top 3, she returned to the Coachella Valley for an emotional hometown visit. She visited downtown Palm Springs, where she used to busk during VillageFest, before heading to George Washington Charter School in Palm Desert. Students welcomed the singer with signs and chants of her name, which brought Carter to tears. She was later able to reunite with former teachers and sing with the fifth grade honors choir.

"I was told when I was about your age that I would never be a singer. I was told that my voice was too raspy, so I fixed it, I made it really clear," Carter told a group of students. "I don't want any of you guys to have your dreams crushed because I'm still standing here and I'm still able to do what I love here today. I just want all of you guys to do the same."

After Carter cruised down downtown Indio for her parade, she took the stage at Indio's newest venue, Center Stage, to perform a number of her "Idol" songs, including "The Chain," "Bring Me to Life," "Hello" and "What Was I Made For?" as well as a couple original songs (including "This Isn’t Over," which was released Friday).

One of the highlights of the evening was Carter spotlighting several members of her family. First, she sang a duet of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Misérables" with her mother, Andrea, which was a nod to when the two performed the song during the annual McCallum Theatre Open Call Talent Project in 2016. Audience members were treated to powerhouse vocals from both women, and the rest of the Carter family rushed the stage to wrap them in a big hug at the end of the song.

She also performed an original song dedicated to her sisters, during which Carter was moved to tears.

Those moments from the Coachella Valley and more will be shown during Sunday's finale.

Ema Sasic

Who was in the 'American Idol' Top 12 on Season 22?

  • Abi Carter

  • Will Moseley

  • Jack Blocker

  • Emmy Russell

  • Triston Harper

  • Julia Gagnon

  • Mckenna Breinholt

  • Kaibrienne "KB" Richins

  • Sam "Kayko" Kelly-Cohen

  • Mia Matthews

  • Roman Collins

  • Jayna Elise

‒ USA Today

Who are the judges on 'American Idol' Season 22?

Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Ritchie are the judges for Season 22.

Ryan Seacrest also returns as host, and has been with "American Idol" for nearly every season.

Perry announced on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" that Season 22 will be her last as a judge on "American Idol." She told Kimmel that the other judges were aware she has "some things planned for this year," including performing at the Rock in Rio music festival in Brazil.

‒ USA Today

Who won 'American Idol' Season 21?

Iam Tongi was the Season 21 winner, with Megan Danielle finishing as the runner-up. Colin Stough finished in third place.

‒ USA Today

Who are some of the most famous 'American Idol' winners?

Since it premiered in 2002, "American Idol" has launched the career of the world's most iconic singers from Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert to its first winner Kelly Clarkson.

‒ USA Today

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: 'American Idol' live: Abi Carter of Indio wins season 22