American Idol viewers in TEARS after new champion Abi Carter breaks down on stage and Katy Perry bows out – before teasing a potential return

American Idol viewers were dealt an emotional rollercoaster on Sunday night, with many left in tears as contestant Abi Carter was crowned the winner and Katy Perry bowed out with a heartbreaking farewell – before teasing a potential comeback.

The ABC show wrapped up with a jam-packed three-hour episode, which saw Will Moseley, Jack Blocker and Abi sing for survival in a bid to be crowned season 22 champion.

The finale also marked Katy's last outing as judge after seven seasons on the panel alongside Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, with the singer bowing out to focus on personal projects.

Emotions were already running high not long after the show kicked off, with Katy, 39, appearing visibly upset as she was introduced by host Ryan Seacrest, 49.

American Idol viewers were left in tears following Katy Perry 's emotional farewell

American Idol viewers were left in tears following Katy Perry 's emotional farewell

More tears ensued when season 22 champion Abi, 21, broke down in tears after she learned she had won the series

More tears ensued when season 22 champion Abi, 21, broke down in tears after she learned she had won the series

'Are you crying?' Ryan asked after Katy bowed her head.

'We're going to miss you,' he said as he hugged her, adding: 'Already emotional tonight.'

'Katy is a mess,' Luke said.

More tears ensued when 21-year-old Abi from Indio, California, broke down on learning she had won the $250,000 cash prize and a recording contract – becoming the first female contestant in four years to take the title.

Stunned by the final results, a shocked Abi dramatically dropped to her knees, with host Ryan having to help her to her feet. 

She quickly composed herself and sang Billie Eilish's hit What Was I Made For? as the show ended.

Naturally, the collection of moments struck a chord with viewers at home, who took to social media to share their emotions as the episode aired. 

One wrote: 'Watching @AbiCarterMusic win this season of #AmericanIdol just now brought me to tears of joy! Abi embodies the true qualities of an American Idol. A kind, humble, Faith & family based, beautiful person with a God given beautiful voice. Congrats Abi! God bless you!'

 

 

 

 

Viewers at home took to social media to share their emotions as the episode aired

Viewers at home took to social media to share their emotions as the episode aired

Another said: 'Abi Carter the WINNER that you are!!! Singing What Was I Made For? right after being declared the winner…. I love girlhood. I'll probably not stop crying tonight, I am so proud of her.'

A third admitted: 'Seeing Abi and Katy cry made me cry even more.'

Another posted: 'AMERICA DID THE DAMN THING AND QUEEN ABI WON AMERICAN IDOL!! Omg. I am sobbing through her What Was I Made For? performance right now. SO DESERVED.'

Katy paid tribute to her time on the show, wearing a long skirt featuring the faces of past contestants from her seven seasons, as she performed an emotional duet with Jack Blocker. 

The pair sang What Makes A Woman from Katy's 2020 album Smile, with Katy levitated above the stage.

Despite last night's final marking the end of her tenure as a judge – she has already teased a potential return.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she said: 'Keep that seat hot. I mean, who knows. I loved everything I got to experience and learn.'

Abi dramatically dropped to her knees in disbelief with host Ryan then having to help her to her feet

Abi dramatically dropped to her knees in disbelief with host Ryan then having to help her to her feet

Lionel, Katy and Luke have been judges together on American Idol since the show moved to ABC from Fox

Lionel, Katy and Luke have been judges together on American Idol since the show moved to ABC from Fox

While a replacement for Katy has yet to be formally announced by show bosses, she has weighed in on what is required to take over the reins.

'I hope it's someone fearless,' she told the publication. 'I hope it's someone that doesn't mince their words, maybe someone a little polarizing just like myself.

'There's a lot of people that's like, "She's awful! She should go!" And there's a lot of people that are like, "She speaks her mind! She's authentic!"

'Whatever, you can't win 'em all. I think it's actually better not to win 'em all because that means you actually have a point of view.'

Katy surprisingly revealed in February during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live that this would be her last season as a judge on American Idol. 

Katy paid tribute to her time on the show, wearing a long skirt featuring the faces of past contestants from her seven seasons, as she performed an emotional duet with Jack Blocker

Katy paid tribute to her time on the show, wearing a long skirt featuring the faces of past contestants from her seven seasons, as she performed an emotional duet with Jack Blocker

She has already teased a potential return despite having only just served her last episode

She has already teased a potential return despite having only just served her last episode 

Following her victory, Abi took to Instagram to share her pride at becoming the first female winner in four years.

Captioning her post, she wrote: 'HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE!??!?!?!? I couldn't have imagined winning #americanidol when I started this whole journey.

'We haven't had a girl winner in over 4 years and to be the first after so many seasons is the greatest honor.

'I'm just a girl from Indio, who used to sing on street corners, and now I've had the pleasure and privilege to work with some of the most talented people in the industry and be heard by millions of people.

'This is my dream and I know it's just the beginning. I love you all so much.'

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