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Abi Carter Wins Season 22 of ‘American Idol’ During Finale

TK Wins Season 22 of American Idol During Finale
Abi Carter, Will Moseley, and Jack Blocker. Disney/Frank Micelotta (3)

American Idol crowned a new champion during the season 22 finale on Sunday, May 19, as Abi Carter, Will Moseley and Jack Blocker competed for the title.

Carter was announced as the winner following a heartfelt performance of her original song “This Isn’t Over.” After she was deemed the victor, she sang Billie Eilish‘s “What Was I Made For?” through tears. (Moseley finished in second, while Blocker placed third.)

In addition to naming a new winner, the finale marked Katy Perry’s last episode as a judge after seven seasons in the role. The singer, 39, announced in February that she planned to leave the ABC reality competition series at the end of season 22 and focus on recording new music of her own. (She released her last album, Smile, back in 2020.)

“I think this probably will be … my last season for Idol,” she revealed during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “I mean, I love Idol so much. It’s connected me with, like, the heart of America, but I feel like I need to go out and feel that pulse to my own beat, you know what I’m saying?”

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Perry then hinted that her fellow judges, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, were unaware of her decision. “Well, they’ll find out tonight,” she said of their reactions to news of her impending departure. “They know that I have some things planned for this year.”

Still, Perry insisted that American Idol would always hold a special place in her heart. “I love the show so much,” she added. “But I wanna go and see the world and maybe bring new music. Maybe I’ll come back if they’ll have me one day.”

Later that month, Richie, 74, spoke out about Perry’s upcoming exit from the show. “I’m not mad,” he insisted on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “It just made me run off the road when I first heard about it. My phone blew up.”

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“No, we didn’t know about it, but it makes sense,” Richie continued. “In other words: The reason I love coming on the show with you and the reason I’m doing American Idol is because I have 400 years of stories and a life in the music business. I have things that I’ve done.”

Richie understood Perry’s desire to pursue other opportunities. “When Katy says, ‘I want to go and create some stories,’ remember, she’s young,” he said. “The point is that you have to take some time and actually be an artist.”

While American Idol has yet to name Perry’s replacement, Richie noted that her successor had big shoes to fill. “Whoever’s coming on the show has got to be, well, to come past Katy, you’ve gotta be humorous forever, and, on top of that, knowledgeable,” he concluded.

As for Bryan, 47, he told Taste of Country in April that he “had heard whispers that [Perry] was thinking about” leaving the show, so the news did not come as “a huge shock.” He added that he, Perry and Richie had “a good run” judging alongside each other, emphasizing that he “developed a great friendship” with Perry over the years.

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