‘American Idol’ Fans Flood Social Media With Reactions to Top 3 Results

American Idol Top 3

Heavy/ABC "American Idol' Top 3 Colin Stough, Megan Danielle and Iam Tongi

When Ryan Seacrest announced the voting results at the end of the live, Disney-themed episode of “American Idol” on May 14, 2023, the crowd inside the theater erupted into a mix of cheers and gasps over which three contestants will advance and compete one more time on the May 21 season finale.

After a night of performances by the Top 5 that the judges repeatedly swooned over, the field was narrowed down to a final group based on the votes that came in during the two-hour show. The Top 3 consists of Iam Tongi, an 18-year-old Hawaiian who Gold Derby’s Prediction Center has called the frontrunner since his initial audition video went viral, as well as country singers Colin Stough, also 18, and Megan Danielle, 21.

On social media and in online “Idol” chat rooms, many fans were upset to see quirky rocker Zachariah Smith and soulful pop singer Wé Ani get eliminated from the competition. Others expressed frustration over two of the three finalists being country artists since “Idol” has had so many country winners in recent years. Meanwhile, viewers are divided over Tongi’s future despite him receiving robust support from the live audience and online fans each week.

Fans Divided Over Country Artists Making ‘Idol’ Top 3 Again

Megan Danielle, Colin Stough

ABCCountry artists Megan Danielle and Colin Stough from “American Idol” Season 21

Many fans expressed frustration over two country artists landing in the Top 3 again, pointing to last year’s Noah Thompson and HunterGirl, who were in the Season 20 finale with folk-pop singer Leah Marlene and were crowned the winner and runner-up, respectively. With three of the last four “Idol” winners being male country singers, some viewers are worried Stough will become the fifth.

In Reddit’s “American Idol” chatroom, one person wrote, “Country Idol should be the new name 🤷‍♂️ 4/5 winners have been country… it’s time for a different genre! #teamiam”

When the “American Idol” social media team tweeted the results, one fan replied, “The show is in such a terrible state. You can predict the winner from the first audition episode. Colin is an exact replica of last years winner. There’s no point in even watching this any more.”

Another commented, “Welp. Looks like I’m done watching American idol. If it’s just going to be another country singer who wins there’s no point … hopefully Iam takes it”

When “Idol” judge and country music star Luke Bryan tweeted after the show that he “can’t wait to watch” what Ani and Smith do after their “incredible” rides on the season, many responded that they were angry about the results.

“American Idol AGAIN gets it wrong,” one replied. “None of those top 3 will ever be heard from again. Why do I keep watching this show? The best singers never win anymore. It’s who’s the cutest white boy with a guitar and a country song. DONE!”

But many others were thrilled to see that country music will be represented again in the season finale, and have high hopes for Stough and Danielle, as evidenced by the responses to performance videos of each posted on the “American Idol” Instagram page.

On the video of Danielle singing “You Can’t Stop the Girl,” one person wrote, “I have liked her from day 1. She is a true natural! She is the real deal! She Sings from her heart! Honest, Genuine and just a good girl! I hope she wins! God Bless you Megan😇 I love your voice!! Your rasp is amaZing! You are truly unique! Keep Shining girl💎”

Another fan commented, “Truly awe inspiring. The goosebumps Megan’s voice delivers hits like no other. Let’s get this girl the win! She’s doing this for God’s glory. and her time is now. 🙌”

On a video of Stough singing “Life is a Highway,” someone wrote, “Way to go @colinstough you did amazing!! Keep going you can win this!! Loved every single song you did!! Stay true to yourself!!🔥🔥Yay!!! So happy he made it!!! He deserves it ❤️”

Another predicted of Stough, “The next American Idol! ❤️”

Fans Divided Over Frontrunner Iam Tongi Making the Top 3

Iam Tongi with his mom

ABC“American Idol” Top 3 contestant Iam Tongi with his mom Lillie at Disneyland

Tongi has long been considered the frontrunner of Season 21 since YouTube videos of his emotional initial audition, in which he sang James Blunt’s “Monsters” in honor of his late father, went viral — amassing over 100 million views within weeks, according to the Kent Reporter. The high school student, whose family had to move to Seattle because they could no longer afford to live in their native Hawaii, regularly hears the “Idol” live audience chanting his name after each of his performances.

During the May 14 episode, Perry even predicted that he would win the whole competition. After Tongi sang Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son,” Perry told him, “I know you’re IAM, but when I see your name, I see ‘I AM the next ‘American Idol.'”

Many viewers are ecstatic that the “Idol” Top 3 includes the laid-back singer, who often performs barefoot or in flip flops as he sings acoustic tunes in a style that honors his Tongan and Samoan culture.

“If #iamtongi doesn’t win it all, it will be the biggest highway robbery in this shows history,” one fan tweeted. 

On an Instagram video that “American Idol” posted of Tongi’s “Father and Son” cover, someone replied, “IAM has been my winner choice since his audition. TBH the only reason I was even watching Idol again. His heart and soul is pure with an endless imprint. It’s beyond his voice, beyond the music. He heals.”

But not everyone is thrilled about Tongi’s rise to the Top 3. Some viewers have complained that his performances always sound the same and that his continued rise is only because he’s a popular character with an endearing backstory. In response to the same Instagram video shared by “Idol” that received lots of praise from Tongi’s fans, others have expressed disappointment.

One person wrote, “Sorry but don’t think he belongs in the top three. Other two were so much better!! It’s not a popularity contest it’s a talent contest people!!”

Someone else replied, “Nice voice but not top 3. One dimensional singer with little range and always the same type of song.”

On Reddit, one viewer wrote of Tongi, “He certainly has a great voice but doesn’t have the showmanship or variety one would expect. I’m sad this has become a popularity contest. It’s really a downer for me. Do I even want to watch next week????”

Some Viewers Say Wé Ani and Zachariah Smith Were ‘Robbed’ & Claim Show is Rigged

Wé Ani and Zachariah Smith

ABCWé Ani and Zachariah Smith didn’t make the Season 21 Top 3 of “American Idol”

Longtime supporters of Wé Ani and Zachariah Smith were very vocal about how irritated they were about their favorite contestants getting eliminated, claiming the show was rigged and complaining about voting only being open for two hours during the live show.

As Twitter buzzed with reactions to the results, one person tweeted, “American Idol results tonight is b.s. They remove the 2 best singers? WeAni is the superstar of this show, nobody else. No more AI for me. I don’t trust it after tonight.”

When “American Idol” tweeted the Top 3 results, one person wrote, “I think I’m done watching American Idol. It’s not about talent anymore. The fact I can vote because I am unable to watch the current episode until the next day and by then voting a over. Ani is better than Collin and Ian. I’m not trying to be sh***y but it’s true.”

Another viewer replied, “WeAni and Zachariah got robbed! Colin is exactly the same as Noah from last year. Im not a country music fan but did think Megan was good and deserved to be there. Zach did everything the judges told him to do and he still went bye bye. This proves it dont mean crap.”

Someone who wanted Ani to go through tweeted, “Just another fixed season of Idol. We Ani was my choice from the very beginning. She got robbed tonight.” 

When “Idol” tweeted a photo of Smith after the show, one person replied, “You were robbed! Go have an amazing career and show America how wrong they got it!”

In the “American Idol” Reddit chatroom, one person countered the claims of the show being rigged, suggesting that producers would likely prefer that someone other than a country artist rise to the top.

The person wrote, “some of y’all on here, or at least the ones in the instagram/youtube comments, who are saying the show is rigged are just plain wrong … Why? OPTICS!!! Producers are aware of all the jokes we make about it being ‘American Country Idol’ and they know a lotttt of the winners have been country singers, and they know it’s a turn off for younger audiences and they want that to CHANGE!! if it was up to them then they would want someone like Wé Ani (a powerhouse vocalist with insane stage presence and range) to make it to Top 3 to bring in new audiences”

Despite the results, Ani told her fans late Sunday night via Instagram that she is feeling “blessed and in high spirits,” revealing that she’s releasing a single on Friday created during her “Idol” journey with Grammy-winning producer Oak Felder and said she has other surprises in the works.

She wrote, “Although I didn’t win the competition, I in no way feel like I’ve lost! Who’s ready to keep on this ride with me?”