Fantasia Returns to ‘American Idol’ With Message for Season 22 Finalists

Fantasia Returns to American Idol for season 22 finale. (Credit: Instagram/American Idol)

Just before American Idol crowned a season 22 winner on Sunday night, Fantasia Barrino returned to the singing competition to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her victory on the show.

As this year’s three finalists waited to find out who would win the 2024 competition, host Ryan Seacrest welcomed Fantasia to the stage.

The Grammy-winning singer shared details about her journey to success, and offered the finalists inspiring words about overcoming obstacles.

“All I can say is, I never gave up. Even when doors closed in my face, I knew God had something for me. Just keep God first. God gave you a gift, and it’s up to you how far you take it,” she shared. “And I went through a lot of things. But here I stand, better than before. I never changed for anybody. I still live in North Carolina, I’m a North Carolina girl and I remain humble.”

Fantasia then credited American Idol for helping to launch her career.

“I know that if it had not been for this show… This show opened so many doors. So I’m saying to you, and all of you who are watching, this show opens doors and we’re grateful for it and thank you,” she said.

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Shortly after Fantasia spoke to the finalists, Abi Carter was named American Idol season 22 champion. The 21-year-old musician from Indio, California, beat runners-up Will Moseley of Hazelhurst, Georgia, and Jack Blocker of Dallas, Texas.

During the three-hour finale, performers included CeCe Winans, Hootie & the Blowfish, Seal, New Kids on the Block, season 14 winner Nick Fradiani, and other famous artists.

Fantasia, 39, was born in High Point, North Carolina.

Since winning Idol in 2004, she’s been nominated for 12 Grammy Awards and took home one award in the best female R&B vocal performance category for “Bittersweet” in 2010, according to

Earlier this year, she picked up an NAACP Image Award for outstanding actress in a motion picture for her performance as Celie in The Color Purple remake.

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