Putri – whose audition for the popular reality show’s 18th edition went viral in June – was up against 10 other contestants, with acts ranging from magic to dance.
In her final rendition at the competition on Wednesday, the 17-year-old visually challenged singer wowed the judges and viewers by belting out Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s classic “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
A video of the performance has racked up more than 3 million views on YouTube. She also sang alongside British singer Leona Lewis, one of the guests at the musical spectacle.
Adrian Stoica and his dog Hurricane clinched the title with their canine-tricks act from Italy, walking away with the US$1 million prize and the opportunity to headline a live show in Las Vegas.
The result for the finale is determined by public voting restricted to residents in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Indonesians on Thursday took to social media to express their disbelief over Putri missing out on a deserved win.
“I am shocked by this [result], I cannot believe it. Putri is so talented and should’ve been first. But all of us Indonesians are so proud of her even with this result, wrote a user on X (formerly Twitter).
Said another: “America got this one all wrong! Putri Ariani deserves the win.”
“Even though you finished only in the top 4, you have already won people’s hearts since your audition,” a YouTube commenter said.
The judges also appeared surprised by the outcome.
“At the end of the day, it’s a competition. But let me tell you something, Putri, nobody can take away the fact that you are an amazing singer,” British judge Simon Cowell said, while the crowd booed the result behind him.
This was not Putri’s first foray into a competition-based reality show. The popularity of the singer, who developed a condition known as retinopathy soon after birth, has soared in the Southeast Asian nation after she won Indonesia’s Got Talent in 2014 when she was just eight years old.
During her audition for AGT, Putri crooned her original song “Loneliness” and Elton John’s “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”, not only moving audiences but earning a “golden buzzer” from judge Cowell, which propelled her to the semi-finals of the contest.
Putri’s breakthrough on the global stage also cast a spotlight on young Indonesians with disabilities hoping to make their mark though music.
“My biggest challenge is people look at me just as a blind person, not as a musician. But when I’m singing, I feel like a superstar,” Putri said before she took the stage on AGT for the first time.