Iam Tonji beats out country singers to win the show

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The 21st season of “American Idol” delivered yet another shocker during its tense finale.

Sunday’s three-hour broadcast, which was broadcast live on ABC coast-to-coast, saw the three finalists – Megan Danielle, Coleen Staff and Iam Tonji – each take the stage one last time to earn viewers’ votes. Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie gave their feedback as usual, but for this final leg of the competition, all they could offer was praise and well wishes as the singers leave the show to begin their musical careers.

The final three each sang two songs: one by guest mentor Keith Urban and one in honor of their country. Then, host Ryan Seacrest revealed the contestants who placed second, and those singers went head-to-head with original songs. Tongi had the audience chant his name after Danielle sang Urban’s “Making Memories of Us,” she soared to the skies with the classic Journey, and Staff brought his cool young charm to the hit Chris Stapleton.

Here are the highlights, including the winner:

Megan Danielle is flying a classic

Borrowing from her religious roots on Urban’s “God Whispered Your Name,” Danielle started the show.

Danielle said she chose the song because it signifies that “God is always reaching out to you and sending people to help.” She added that her goal for the night was to “turn off all the negative things in my head and just have fun.”

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The 21-year-old maid was praised by the judges, with Richie praising the “tears” in her singing voice. “It’s everything,” she gushed. “As far as I’m concerned, we’ve got three top players on this stage tonight.”

“You’ve accomplished our mission here, because that’s the gift,” Perry added.

Brian said he had not heard Danielle “make a bad vocal decision” during the entire competition. “You did it stylistically, your way,” he added. “It’s inspiring to watch you grow.”

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Danielle is back for a song she dedicated to her hometown of Douglasville, Georgia: “Faithfully” by Journey.

To say she was killed is an understatement. Her surging vocals stunned the crowd at the song’s intense pitch, bringing Perry to tears.

“I think that’s what parents do when their kids graduate,” Berry said, drying her eyes. “She is the valedictorian. She excelled in this class.”

Iam Tongi gets the crowd chanting his name with Keith Urban’s hit

Tunji delivered a smooth, slick rendition of Urban’s Making Our Memories, as the crowd chanted his name. “Every time you come up and sing, the vibration that comes out of your mouth runs through the grass of people’s hearts,” Perry said.

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Brian described Tonji’s talent as a “natural gift from God”.

The 18-year-old high school student returned to perform “Cool Down” by Kolohe Kai as a dedication to his hometown of Kahuku, Hawaii.

“I am you culture,” Perry said after the touching presentation. “Welcome to heaven, my friend.”

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Colin Staff channels country boy charm into classic Chris Stapleton music

Stough rocked out to Urban’s “Stupid Boy,” leaving the audience fuming at his harsh vocals.

Brian said, “You’ve evolved into your artistic look and style. You just come off the edge of the kid who walked into the auditions.”

“It was so sweet, Colin,” Perry said, praising the tenderness in his voice.

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Then the 18-year-old HVAC technician sang Stapleton’s “Either Way” in honor of his hometown of Amory, Mississippi.

“What I love about you is that you’re so much better than I originally thought,” Brian tells Stuff, praising his development into a country music star.

Colin Staff cut out the top 3 in a shocking twist

On “American Idol,” it’s become somewhat of a tradition for hardcore country singers to sweep the competition to victory, as Noah Thompson did last year and Chase Beckham the year before.

Which is why the studio audience gasped en masse when host Seacrest announced that after the nationwide vote, Stough was eliminated, leaving Tongi and Danielle for the final showdown.

Iam Tongi breaks down on stage, makes Katy Perry cry with James Blunt duet

As usual, the ‘Idol’ finale featured a lot of filler as viewers waited patiently to find out the winner.

There were great performances from past contestants, including a medley with Lucy Love and TLC, a Bryan-Stough duet on Conway Twitty’s classic “Slow Hand” and a duet by Danielle and one of her musical heroes, Lauren Daigle, on Daeg’s “Thank You.” God I Do”. Perry and Haven Madison also performed a poignant medley of Madison’s original “I Still Need You” and Perry’s “By the Grace of God”.

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But the most heartbreaking performance came from Tonji and James Blunt in Blunt’s “Monsters.” Tonji auditioned for the judges with the song, which he sang as a tribute to his late father.

Tunji became disoriented during the performance, broke down in tears, and at some moments, became unable to sing. Perry was also yelling behind the judges’ table.

Was the special moment enough to push Tonji over the edge to win the competition?

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Iam Tongi, Megan Danielle faces off in an intense confrontation in Final 2

Tonji and Danielle took to the stage one last time to sing their original song, recorded and released through “Idol”. Danielle belted out Dream Girl, and Tongi’s song “I’ll See You.”

After the final commercial break, the votes were booked, and Seacrest revealed the winner.

She was Tongan. He sang Spawnbreezie’s “Don’t Let Go” as fellow contestants rushed onto the stage and confetti rained down. He is the first singer from outside the country to win the show in three years.

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