Maddie Poppe was crowned the winner of American Idol season 16 in Sunday night’s (May 21) finale. It was a bittersweet affair, with Poppe announcing her relationship with runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson, happy-crying through her celebratory performance of single “Going, Going, Gone” -- and getting some assists from past Idol contestants.
Poppe brought a pleasant classicism to this season of Idol. In a show generally jam-packed with renditions of current hits, Poppe’s choices of songs were defiantly old-school; she alternately sang cuts by the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel and Fleetwood Mac with equal zeal. And she has the honeyed vocal ability to jump between 20th century forms, whether singing “The Bare Necessities” for a Disney-themed Idol episode or singing “The Rainbow Connection” for a duet with Kermit the Frog. Poppe may have said it best in a post-win interview: “I got to be who I wanted to be.”