The 18th season of American Idol started off innocuously enough in February, with nobody having any idea about what laid in store for the next couple of months. As we all know, the global coronavirus pandemic threw a major wrench into the production's plans, but everyone involved emerged triumphant with stay-at-home-solid performances, leading to a top five on Sunday (May 17) and eventually, the crowning of Just Sam, a sweet singer isolated in Hollywood all on her own due to the pandemic and longing for her grandmother to be by her side, as the season's reigning champion.

Just Sam beat out Arthur Gunn for the title, performing “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson and "Rise Up" by Andra Day for live votes.

The evening, true to form, was stretched out over two hours, with Just Sam finally putting the ultimate touch on everything by performing an unexpectedly dramatic, tear-jerking final touch by paring up with judge Lionel Richie on the classic charity hit "We are the World."

The touching song of communication and fellowship was well-rounded out with appearances by fellow judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, as well as past Idol contestants Kellie Pickler, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Laine Hardy, Gabby Barrett, and many others, with their faces represented on landmarks across the United States...from New York City, to Los Angeles, to Las Vegas, to the heartland, and beyond.

Earlier Rascal Flatts took the stage with season fan favorite "Garbage Man" Doug Kiker to perform "Bless The Broken Road," and Luke Bryan to perform his new single "One Margarita."

See American Idol Contestants Then and Now

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