Thursday, April 7, 2016

Season 15 Finale Part 3: American Idol Series Finale

Welcome back. The time is now, after this episode there is no more American Idol, there is no more I'dol Be The Judge blog, it will be all over. I have watched 15 years of this show, blogged for nearly 5 and am really sad to see both go, but I know it is time. I remember watching American Idol during the summer of 2002 when Kelly Clarkson kicked everything off, I remember going to a friend's house for a pizza party with all of us sitting and watching Ruben versus Clay in Season 2. I remember how amazing Fantasia was in Season 3, and how much I wanted Carrie Underwood to win in Season 4, and how upset I was that Chris Daughtry was eliminated at 4th place in Season 5. I remember Jordin Sparks winning and the two David's(Cook and Archuletta) facing off in Season 7, I remember Paula Abdul's last season in Season 8 when Adam Lambert almost beat Kris Allen, I remember Simon Cowell's last season in Season 9 when Lee DeWyze won. I remember the country faceoff between Scotty McCreery and Laura Alaina. I remember how amazing Jessica Sanchez was in Season 11 singing that Whitney Houston song only months after Whitney's passing. I remember Season 12 when the ladies dominated and the rightful winner Candice Glover won. I remember Season 13 when Caleb Johnson rocked his way to the win, and last year's Season 14 I remember Nick Fradiani's tremendous growth, and run to the win. I now remember last night April 6th, 2016 when Trent Harmon and La'Porsha Renae battled each other in one of the most fiercest and close finales in Idol history. And I can't wait to see who will finish as the last American Idol winner.

There is so much to get to tonight, we will try our best to not only be as accurate, but be as thorough as we can. We will try to place pictures with as many names we mention, so if you can't remember someone from years ago the picture will quickly jog your memory. We predicted La'Porsha to win the show but after Trent's last 2 performances we would not be mad at him winning, not at all. So with all that said, and much more to say, let's get to it as we always do:

Start of the Show
All Top 10 contestants from this season are singing "One Voice" by Barry Manilow, acapella. They are then joined by the over 50 past contestants and winners that will be featured tonight.

Ryan Seacrest Start of Show
Ryan starts to talk and talk about how epic tonight will be and then announced is Brian Dunkleman. Dunkleman has basically been M.I.A for nearly since Season 1 ended. Brian plays around and tells Ryan that after tonight he will be out of a job and no one knows the pain of no Idol but him. Dunkleman wanted to congratulate the show for struggling along for 14 years without him. He then honestly congratulates Ryan on all of his success on the show.
Top 2 Duet
La'Porsha and Trent sing the song that Kelly and Justin sang in Season 1, "It Takes Two" by Marvin Gaye. This was a nice touch to have the two of them sing the song that the first two Top 2 sang. They both are great, they can sing, nothing to judge, just fun stuff.

Steven Tyler
He congratulates Idol from Niagara Falls and recalls a few moments from the show with him Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.
Past Contestant Performances
These will be super quick performances and highlight many contestants as they can in a short amount of time.

First Performance
I hadn't heard about Season 8 & 9 judge Kara DioGuardi coming back, I am glad she did. She is singing "Sober" by Pink. As many might not know Kara wrote that song with Pink in 2009. Along with Kara singing this song is Season 1's Tamyra Gray and Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks.

Second Performance
Singing his song "Through it All" Colton Dixon from Season 11 performs on his own.
Third Performance
Justin Guarini from Season 1 and Jordin Sparks sing her famous song "No Air". It's cool to see Justin, he looks good 15 years later. People always ask the question what would Idol have been if Justin won and not Kelly, glad we didn't have to worry about that for too long.

Fourth Performance
Kimberly Locke from Season 2 sings her song "8th World Wonder". On the stage is Jordin Sparks and Season 8's Alison Iraheta.
Fifth Performance
Tamyra Gray from Season 1 sings "Girl Crush" by Little Big Town. I thought Tamyra was a great contestant.
Sixth Performance
One of my favorites from Season 8 was Alison Iraheta, who has also been one of the background singers on Idol for a few seasons. She sings Megan Trainor's song "No" with all the aforementioned ladies. But then "Pants on the Ground" guy Larry Plat from Season 9 comes back and sings his gem. Then the ladies proceed with the rest of the song.
Seventh Performance
Pia Toscano from Season 10, was one of the biggest shocking early eliminations ever. She was one of the best voices and out very early. She sings the song that she did on the show so well "All By Myself". She looks really different from that season but still sounds amazing.
Season 1 Winner: Kelly Clarkson Performs
She wasn't able to be on the show tonight because she is almost having her baby, but when she was on the show a few weeks ago she prepared something special for tonight. She sings her first big hit "Miss Independent" that transitions into another of her big hits "Breakaway" that leads into "Since U Been Gone", the next song is "Because of You" which is lovely. The next song up is "Walk Away" which is one of my favorite songs of hers, I love it. Next up is "My Life Would Suck Without You" then quickly "Don't You Wanna Stay"then that goes into the anthem "Stronger(What Doesn't Kill You)". This then leads into "Heartbeat Song" and right into "Invincible" one of her more current hits and then she closes out with her American Idol winning song "A Moment Like This" and she sings it acapella. Damn she is great. I almost started tearing up when I heard her sing that song, but I didn't and I am proud of myself. She has had so many hits, it's incredible.

Idol Rockers
James Durbin from Season 14, a short haired Bo Bice from Season 4 starts the song "Vehicle", next up is Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson and Constantine Morulis from Season 4. They then sing "Too Hot To Handle". Next up is Season 5's Chris Daughtry and he sings Daughtry's "Torches". They all sing "Tobacco Road together and it's pretty powerful.

Keith Urban Performs
He performs with special guest Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood the song "Strop Draggin' My Heart Around". This was originally sung by Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks. They do the song justice for sure, plus Keith is an amazing guitar player. They both have great voices, I love this collaboration.

**Sanjaya Sighting** He is sitting in the audience, not singing. :) He puts on a faux mohawk like the one he had many years ago.

Idol Country Singers
Diana DeGarmo from Season 3, Skylar Laine from Season 11, Kree Harrison from Season 12 start singing together. Bucky Covington from Season 5 starts singing, then comes Ace Young from Season 5 (he isn't quite country) . Constantine Maroulis(he isn't quite country). Lauren Alaina from Season 10 and Kellie Pickler from Season 5. Next up is Scotty McCreery winner from Season 10. There obviously hasn't been as many notable male country singers on Idol for them to come back. This was fun, I will be honest now and say I don't really know a lot of country music, so no idea what half those songs were. But nice job by the country singers.

Harry Connick Jr Performs
Singing "What Wonderful World" with Harry Connick Jr is student Marley Fletcher, she is from his hometown New Orleans. She is a student from the Ellis Maralis Center for Music which it and the surrounding area were hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. It was a beautiful rendition by the two of them.

Some of the Best Singers from Idol singing with Great Musicians

First Performance
Casey James from Season 9 and Katherine McPhee from Season 5 perform first they sing "Need You Now". It's accompanied lovely by a pianist.
Second Performance
Next up is Carly Smithson from Season 7, she is singing with a harpist singing "Here You Go Again". Very beautiful job by a person that rocked the Idol stage her season.
Third Performance
Clay Aiken, runner up from Season 2, is singing "You Fill Up My Senses" with (I believe) a clarinet player. Given he gave some disparaging remarks about the show early on this season I give Idol credit for allowing him to come back. He was one of the more notable contestants ever on the show, and it would have been weird for him not to be there. It was beautiful by the way, they allowed him a few extra moments than the others.
Fourth Performance
Ruben Studdard, winner from Season 2 and Amber Holcomb from Season 12 sing "Here, There and Everywhere". It was beautiful duet. Sweet and beautiful.
Fifth Performance
One of my favorite non-winners was Jessica Sanchez from Season 11, and she is singing "The Prayer". I really really wanted her to win that season over Phillip Phillips, but she was a great runner-up. She was only 16 at the time, now she is 20, her voice is even more spectacular.
Jennifer Lopez Performs
Ina moment that takes away from the lovely spirit of the show Jennifer debuts her new song "Ain't Your Mama". I know she wants to perform her new song and try to get song sales and hype up her new Las Vegas show, but this song just didn't fit the vibe of the show. I also didn't like the song. I didn't like that it was pre-taped. Everything has been genuine and real but this was put on. I did like when she went into my favorite song of hers "Let's Get Loud". This will definitely be part of her show in Vegas, she had the dancers on stage with her and all that.

Soul Performers from Idol

First Performance
The three divas are back together. Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and LaToya London were the three great vocalists in Season 3 and they are back singing acapella and singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water". I have seen Fantasia and Jennifer over the years, obviously, but LaToya was one of my favorites in Season 3, and she still looks and sounds amazing. Then Jennifer sings her song "Remember the Music" which was featured on Empire. Fantasia then sings her song "I Don't Know Why I Love You".

Second Performance
Singing "Ain't To Proud to Beg are some of the male soul singers from Idol. From Season 6 is Brandon Rogers, Elliott Yamin from Season 5, Danny Gokey from Season 8, George Huff from Season 3 and Clark Beckham from Season 14.
Third Performance
Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks performs with LaToya the song "Knew You Were Waiting".
Fourth Performance
Singing his most famous song performed on the show "Man's Man's Man's World" is Season 11's Joshua Ledet. His performance was one of the best Idol moments ever, probably Top 20 performacnes of all time. Tonight he killed the song again. Amazing.
Fifth Performance
Season 13 winner Candice Glover and Season 6 standout Melinda Doolittle duet on "Joy To The World" with this season's Top 10 dancing and singing back-up for them. Everyone that sang above came out on stage.

Idol Winner White Guys With Guitars 
Lee Dewyze (Season 9), Phillip Phillips (Season 11), Nick Fradiani, David Cook, Kris Allen (Season 8) perform a David Bowie medley, first up is "Starman" then "Rebel, Rebel", then "Jean Genie". It was nice to see all the winners on stage. It was fun and funny to see all these winning guys with those guitars, people always said that the fans were very one-tracked mind at times, well this proved it for the last time.

The Judges, Ryan and Other American Idol Moments
The show does a pretty funny retrospective on Randy, Paula, Simon and Ryan. They were the best crew. No matter how upset I got at Randy, and how infuriating Paula was at times, or how off Simon was sometimes, it was a special group that helped make the stage.

The Original Judging Panel
First Ryan announces Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson on stage. They give him the American Idol sign. And I guess in a big surprise Simon Cowell shows up. He wants to give Paula an opportunity to apologize for being mean all year. But on a serious note he wants to say on behalf of the judges that he thanks the fans for letting them come inside their homes. He wanted to thank the contestants, FOX, the fellow judges.

** In a little send-off William Hung comes on to sing "She Bangs". That really was a big moment for the show. It was water cooler stuff and helped launch the craziness of Idol back in the day.

Ford Videos
Over the years I have hated the Ford Music Videos. I know the contestants love it, but I always hated it being a time-waster for the show. Ford was a big sponsor for the show, so it's fine they get a send-off too, but for last time...sneh. The only cool part is that Trent and LaPorsha were given brand new Ford Fusions. Not bad, win or lose they get a new car.

Carrie Underwood Performs
In the final guest performer performance on Idol ever Carrie Underwood is back on stage to sing her new song "Something In The Water". It was a very Carrie Underwood song so that works out for her. This was the last performance going into the last commercial break.

Final Results
This is it. It will be La'Porsha or Trent. Whoever wins will the last American Idol winner EVER!!!!

The Winner of AMERICAN IDOL IS......
Trent Harmon
 Trent is the Final American Idol Winner. He is the 10th and final male to win the show. 

My Final Thoughts
*Congratulations to Trent Harmon for his very deserved win. Congratulations to La'Porsha Renae for her incredible run on the show. Congratulations to American Idol for 15 seasons. I know they are talking about a new Idol sometime in the future but that's for another day and another person to blog about. This was it for me. I want to Thank each and every person who has ever read this blog, posted a comment, or just kept coming back week after week. It was a lot of work, and time commitment to ensure I was available every Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday but I knew people were reading the blog and were interested in the show and what I had to say about it. I know the blog wasn't perfect, I know I might have missed some spelling errors or put too many commas in my sentences, or just flubbed something altogether, but I tried my best to provide as much great content as I could. This blog allowed me to enjoy the show that I started to lose a little hope in after Simon Cowell left. It got me to focus on the show for the great contestants and talent it had. So I am happy I did it and so glad I didn't leave because this finale tonight was great proof of how good American Idol could be and ultimately was.

So for those that read this blog every week and for those who loved Idol for as long as I have I thank you. And despite this being it, I have to say for the last time, see ya!