For Maddie Poppe, “American Idol” has been a win-win. The Iowa native singer not only topped Caleb Lee Hutchinson and Gabby Barrett during the singing competition’s two-hour finale on Monday night, but she also found love on the show — with Hutchinson.
Poppe and Hutchinson had a very great onstage moment when they announced they had been secretly dating during the season, shocking fans and judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.
Then they sang a “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” medley, bringing host Ryan Seacrest to tears. Then, Seacrest announced that Hutchinson and Poppe had won a trip to Hawaii for placing first and second on the show.
For Hutchinson, he was perfectly happy, so it seemed, to be in second place. He wrote on Twitter about Poppe, “MY GIRLFRIEND WON AMERICAN IDOL!!! No one deserved it more than you babe.”
Later, Poppe told ET that she had hoped she and Hutchinson would land in the final two, saying, “I guess we were just kind of playing it by ear, but we really wished that this could happen. … I’m just so happy, so on top of the world, that I can’t even believe that this is my life. It’s pretty amazing.”
The couple said they started dating on Jan. 21. Hutchinson told ET that he didn’t want to use their relationship to round up any votes. He said, “It was the first day of Hollywood Week and we haven’t really spent any time apart since then. It was one of those things where I didn’t want it to affect anything, and I didn’t want to exploit my feelings for her ’cause they’re very, very real. Once voting was over, I was like, ‘Shoot, I want the world to know.'”
He added of Poppe’s win, “When I looked over at Maddie, I was like, ‘I win either way.’ I really do. I don’t feel any type of bitter loss at all. I’m just so happy for her.”