American Idol crowned Laine Hardy its Season 17 champion, defeating runner-up Alejandro Aranda, during Sunday night's three-hour live finale on ABC.

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American Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced Laine, an 18-year-old musician from Livingston, LA, had won the season at the end of the broadcast following three rounds of competition in which home viewers voted in real time for the first time in Idol history.

"I don't know what to think right now! I'm so thankful," Laine gushed.

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While Laine and Alejandro, a 24-year-old dishwasher from Pomona, CA, each took the stage with three songs, the third-place finisher, Madison Vandenburg, a 17-year-old high school student from Cohoes, NY, was knocked out of the competition in third place after Round 2.

For winning American Idol, Laine will be signed to a contract with Hollywood Records. He also got to debut his brand new song "Flame" at the conclusion of the finale.

Laine initially kicked off the show with a performance of "Home" by Marc Broussard.

Katy joked Laine had taken some "pop star vitamins" and if he applied himself over the next five years as he had throughout the competition, he'll be "one of the biggest stars on the planet."

Luke said he felt honored and proud to see Laine in the finale, and Lionel added "it was a nasty song" and he's "well on [his] way."

Madison then took the stage with "Shallow" by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Luke found Madison's growth "so exciting" because the judges had been pushing her to "dig in" and take her voice to the next level.

"You have a twinkle in your eyes that is so beautiful to see," Luke said.

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Lionel complimented Madison's gift and noted she's truly on her way.

And then Katy said "the greatness" was coming out of her and the panel knew she was great from the very first moment she had auditioned for the show out of thousands and thousands of people.

And Alejandro sang an original song called "Millennial Love" for Round 1.

"It was love at first sound for you," Lionel told the artist.

"Every once in a while, something comes along that captivates your imagination and your soul -- that you know what you're looking at is the next level of something amazing. You, my friend, you are on that journey."

Katy said there is so much reverence and respect when he sings, and Luke pointed out it was a special moment when he first met Alejandro and the judging panel was "spoiled" by him "week after week."

After the first set of performances, Seacrest asked the judges which artist had won Round 1 and Luke replied, "I think Madison won the round... Her voice is just so big and it was pretty impressive."

Lionel, on the other hand, admitted he's "a sucker for a songwriter" and thought Alejandro touched his spirit and soul.

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Katy apparently agreed with Lionel, although the Top 3 each "took it up a notch." She thought Alejandro did something almost "holy" and "other worldly."

For the second round, each Top 3 contestant dedicated a song to his or her hometown.

Laine took the stage first with "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)" by Hank Williams.

Katy gushed about how Laine appeared to have so much fun on the stage and "he's ready for the big time."

Luke loved Laine's song choice and the fact he had stuck to his roots, and then Lionel clapped for Laine and said he's well on his way to having a successful career.

For her hometown dedication, Madison belted out "Breakaway" by the original American Idol champion Kelly Clarkson.

Luke acknowledged she had conquered an "amazingly tough song" and her range is "so impressive."

Lionel congratulated Madison on a job well done, and Katy expressed how Madison must continue to nurture and grow her gift because she's about to spread her wings in the real world. Katy asked her to maintain her work ethic and fly.

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Alejandro then performed another one of his original songs called "Tonight."

Alejandro had Lionel on his feet, once again, and the judge said the artist showed his heart and America needed to vote for him.

Katy admitted it was "such a pleasure to live in the same lifetime as" the singer.

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Even though that sounded intense, Katy stood her ground and said Alejandro had raised the stakes and changed the game with his artistry given American Idol used to be "a karaoke show."

Luke noted Alejandro had another beautiful moment and it was incredible how he's authentic and never changed himself during the competition to fit a mold.

"When you are on the cover of Rolling Stones, I will buy it," Luke told Alejandro.

After the first couple of rounds, Seacrest announced Madison had been eliminated in third place based on the votes that had poured in throughout the show thus far.

That left Alejandro and Laine to face off in the last stage of the finale competition.

Laine first performed "Bring It On Home To Me" by Sam Cooke.

Luke celebrated the song and congratulated Laine on a job well done. Luke also complimented his unique and identifiable tone, adding that he loved him.

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Lionel said Laine has "the best attitude" ever and reminded viewers how he didn't even make it past the last round of auditions last season on American Idol.

Katy told Laine he's authentic, and although he wasn't ready last season, he's definitely "ready this time."

And finally, Alejandro took the stage with his original tune "Out Loud."

The judges applauded Alejandro's talent while up on their feet, and it was clear they were amazed.

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Luke thanked Alejandro for the experience and joked he'd like to receive a postcard from the artist when he returns to the planet he's from.

Lionel acknowledged how Alejandro has "instant identity" and fans can recognize him within only three or four notes.

"It's such an incredible honor to be given this opportunity to give you a little boost to find your wings... and shine," Katy said.

Laine was then crowned champion of American Idol's seventeenth season.

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American Idol's finale also featured epic performances from famous faces including former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, former Idol finalist Adam Lambert, Weezer, Kane Brown, Daddy Yankee, Dan + Shay, and all three judges.