Maddie Poppe Wins Season 16 of American Idol — and Is Dating Runner-Up Caleb Lee Hutchinson!
American Idol has crowned its season 16 winner
Congratulations, Maddie Poppe!
The 19-year-old Iowa native — known for her soothing voice and strong artistic ability — was crowned the winner of American Idol‘s 16th season during Monday night’s finale.
And not only did she win the title of American Idol, but she also walked away from the experience with a new boyfriend: runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson!
The final two announced their relationship during the last 15 minutes of the show, with Hutchinson telling Ryan Seacrest, “Well, Maddie is my pal and I’ve known her since the beginning of Hollywood week. And she actually happens to be my girlfriend.”
After revealing the big news, the couple performed Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” together and even held hands! After their song, the pair was surprised with a free trip to Disney’s Aulani resort in Hawaii.
Following the show, Lee Hutchinson sweetly celebrated his girlfriend’s big win.
“MY GIRLFRIEND WON AMERICAN IDOL!!! No one deserved it more than you babe. I am honored to know you and even more honored to call you mine. Don’t forget about me. I love you,” he wrote on Twitter.
Poppe, meanwhile, was still coming to terms with her big win.
“I don’t have any words to describe this really. I can’t believe people believed in me this much just to make it to the top two with Caleb. To actually have been named the winner of this show is incredible,” Poppe told reporters after the show.
“I got to be who I wanted to be and the fact that I am here and I can tell you that I won the show is doing exactly what I wanted to do and I didn’t have to change myself for anybody is pretty incredible,” she said.
Before being crowned the champion, Poppe shared her nerves and hard times during the competition.
“There were definitely so many moments where I was going to give up,” she said at the semifinals on Sunday. “I wish I could go back and tell myself, ‘It’s going to be all right, you just wait!'”
Throughout the season, Poppe won the hearts of millions — including judges Perry, Bryan and Richie.
After her last performance on Sunday night, instead of critiquing her rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” Perry pulled out her phone and said, “I’m voting for you.”
“No one said I couldn’t,” Perry told reporters after the show.
The star wowed the audience week after week with her highly anticipated and entertaining performances of classics including Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound,” Prince‘s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” and Carrie Underwood‘s “I Told You So.”
Monday’s finale included performances from the three judges, as well as Bebe Rexha, Darius Rucker, Gary Clark Jr., Nick Jonas and Mustard, Patti LaBelle, Yolanda Adams, Kermit the Frog, and the top 10 finalists.
With the Idol revival guaranteed a second season, the judges previously opened up to PEOPLE about what fans can expect this time around.
“It’s very constructive criticism,” Perry previously told PEOPLE of their judging styles. “Personally, I’m a straight shooter. I’m very cut and dry sometimes. You know, it seems a little not soft — I do try and watch myself because I do know how it feels to be in their shoes. I was in their shoes 10 years ago… I’m inspired by all of their stories. I know it wasn’t an overnight success for me; it’s not going to be for them. They still have a long way to go. We’re really real with them.”
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“We really encourage them,” she added. “There’s no dismissing and just sending off and saying, ‘You suck.’ That’s not how we roll. I think in the past there was some of that and maybe taking advantage of people [and] their actual skill sets for comedy. We don’t do that anymore but we still laugh just as much.”