Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene kicked off the “American Idol” finale tonight, May 21, with “We Will Rock You” and “I’m Just a Girl,” respectively. The two then joined together for “It’s Only Love.” Ryan Seacrest welcomed the audience and introduced the judges, who made their way to their seats.
Sam Woolf performed “Home” and was joined by Phillip Phillips, who switched gears and performed his new single, “Raging Fire.” Jennifer Nettles sang “That Girl” and was joined by Jessica Meuse for “Wrecking Ball.” Jennifer Lopez performed “First Love.” Caleb accompanied KISS for “Love Gun” and “Shout It Out Loud.”
Aloe Blacc and this season’s guys sang “The Man.” Demi Lovato and this season’s girls sang “Don’t Really Care” and “Neon Lights.” Jena Irene performed “Decode” with Paramore. John Legend performed “You and I (Nobody in the World)” before being joined by Malaya Watson for “All Of Me.” Alex Preston joined Jason Mraz to sing “Love Someone.”
Ryan Seacrest’s family and Randy Jackson announced that Ryan was going to sing for the first time on the show. He started singing “Right Here Waiting For You,” (horribly), and Richard Marx appeared behind him at the piano to sing along with him.
Darius Rucker performed “True Believers” and was joined by Dexter Roberts and C.J. Harris. Lady Antebellum performed their brand new single, “Bartender.” Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Randy Jackson performed together for the first time. They sang “True Colors,” and “Go Your Own Way.”
Ryan went to the judges for their final thoughts. Keith said they couldn’t agree and thought both Caleb and Jena killed it last night. Jennifer and Harry agreed, and Harry told them they were so proud of them. Ryan then revealed this season’s winner is Caleb Johnson. He was supposed to perform his first single, “As Long As You Love Me” to close out the show, but his fellow contestants rushed onto the stage and surrounded him with hugs. He sang a few bars here and there before ending up with his family.