'American Idol' Crowns Season 17 Winner After Star-Studded Finale

The nation has chosen its next American Idol winner, voting Laine Hardy the champion in Sunday's Season 17 finale.

Hardy competed alongside fellow finalists Alejandro Aranda and Madison VanDenburg for the Idol title during the 3-hour finale, with VanDenburg being eliminated midway through during a vote check-in.

Vying for America's votes, Aranda performed two original songs, "Millennial Love" and "Tonight," while VanDenburg sang her rendition of A Star Is Born's "Shallow" by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson. Hardy, meanwhile, made his way back to his bayou roots with "Jambalaya" by Hank Williams and "Home" by Marc Broussard.

In a celebrity duet, VanDenburg teamed up with Dan + Shay for "All To Myself" and "Speechless," while Hardy performed a medley of "Night Shift" and "Dirt On My Boots" with Jon Pardi.

Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie even got in on some of the fun during the performances, taking to the stage not only with the season's contestants, but also with a number of celebrity guests.

Richie headed up a massive performance of "Dancing on the Ceiling" with the Top 10 performers of the season, while Perry paired up with Daddy Yankee to perform "Con Calma," also performing alongside former fan favorite contestant Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon for her song "Unconditionally."

Bryan, meanwhile, took to the stage alongside former Top 5 performer Laci Kaye Booth to perform "Knockin' Boots" and "Every Breath You Take."

Other fan favorites who didn't make it to the end of the season will also be performing on the finale stage, including Alyssa Raghu, who performed alongside Kane Brown for "Good As You" and "Lost in the Middle of Nowhere." Wade Cota and Walker Burroughs teamed up with Weezer to perform a medley of "Africa," "Take On Me" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," while Margie Mays and Austin Michael brought down the house with Montell Jordan performing "This Is How We Do It."

One of Idol's most famous winners, Carrie Underwood, also made a special appearance during her Cry Pretty Tour 360 to perform her new hit single, "Southbound."

ABC announced last week that it would be renewing American Idol for an 18th season (the third on the network), with the next season expected to premiere in January 2020.


Photo credit: ABC