Katy Perry Breaks Down in Tears During Final ‘American Idol’ Episode

Katy Perry has judged her final episode of American Idol. On Sunday night, the singer ended her run in the hit competition series with the crowning of contestant Abi Carter as the Season 22 winner

During the big finale, Perry was noticeably overcome with emotion — as reported by PEOPLE — and broke down in tears while hugging her fellow judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie as Carter delivered a beautiful rendition of "What Was I Made For?" by Billie Eilish. Perry joined the show, along with her fellow judges, back in 2018 when it moved from Fox to ABC.

Perry first openly teased her exit during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this year. "I think this probably will be my last show, my last season for Idol," the "Firework" singer told the host. "I mean I love Idol so much." She later added, "It's connected me with the heart of America, but I feel like I need to go out and feel that pulse to my own beat, you what I'm saying Jimmy?"

Speaking out about Perry's decision to leave, Bryan confessed that wasn't much of a surprise. "I had heard whispers that she was thinking about it — it wasn't, like, a huge shock," he previously told Taste of Country Nights. "It's been a good run with Katy, and she and I have developed a great friendship and to work alongside her."

"I mean, heck, I was there before her daughter was born, and now her daughter is [3 years] old," Bryan added, speaking about the birth of Perry's daughter Daisy Dove, whom she welcomed in August 2020 with fiancé Orlando Bloom.

As for Richie, he recently told PEOPLE, "We've kind of developed a little family," speaking about himself, Perry, and Bryan, "and what's happening now is that we keep talking about her leaving, but it hasn't registered yet." He added, "So I think as it goes on, Luke and I will probably get together and realize that we're going to kidnap her."