American Idol 2016 Recap Series Finale & Results
It’s the end of an era! American Idol changed so many lives, including my own, if I’m being perfectly honest. I still half expect host Ryan Seacrest to close the show saying “Join us again next January when we do it ALL OVER AGAIN.” Sigh.
Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has put together a jam packed show. Before the winner is crowned–either Mississippi natives, Trent Harmon or La’Porsha Renae— more than 50 American Idol alums will take the Idol stage one last time for unforgettable performances. former co-host Brian Dunkleman and the original judges–Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell–will also be in the house.
The show begins with President Obama congratulating American Idol! His remarks dovetail into a PSA about voting in the upcoming elections. “Not all of us can sing like Kelly Clarkson, but all of you can participate…” – Click to Watch President Obama Congratulate American Idol VIDEO
The show opens for real with La’Porsha Renae and the rest of the current Top 10 singing “One Voice.” Slowly dozens of Idols from prior seasons enter the stage for one big sentimental sing along. Yep. I’m crying already. Click to Watch One Voice VIDEO
Ryan Seacrest takes the stage. OUT COMES BRIAN DUNKLEMAN!!!! “It’s good to see you man,” says Ryan AWKWARDLY. “Looks like after tonight, you’re going to be out of a job!” the former Idol host consols him. Being unemployed is not that bad! Dunkleman congratulates the show for “struggling along for another 14 seasons without me.” Whatever pride he has, Dunkleman swallows it to offer congratulations to the guy who took the Idol gig and ran with it, leaving poor Dunk far behind in the dust. “You’ve been doing an amazing job hosting the show,” he says. THE TWO HUG IT OUT. Ryan throws Dunkelman a bone, allowing him to introduce the judges. Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. At this very moment it hits home Seacrest gets paid the big bucks to do his job. – Click to Watch the Return of Brian Dunkleman VIDEO
Ryan does the clap-and-scream-for-who-you-want-to-win bit he does every season before introducing La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon. The duo sing It Takes Two JUST like Justin and Kelly did in 2002. Well, this is a little shaky. Apparently La’Porsha has been fighting illness. She seems especially unsure. – Click to Watch The Top 2 Perform VIDEOS
Next, is a clip from former judge, Steven Tyler chilling by a picture window with a gorgeous view. He reminisces about the fun he had judging alongside Jlo and Randy Jackson for seasons 10 and 11.
In-house Idol mentor Scott Borchetta, La’Porsha and Trent are out in the audience with Ryan for a little interview. Scott says Jlo called the Top 2 a few weeks ago, and he couldn’t be happier because the two biggest voices prevailed.
The judges will all perform. INCLUDING KARA DIOGUARDI. She should be forced to sing “No Boundaries” but instead she sings a song she penned for Pink, Sober. She’s a little pitchy dawg and a charmless performer. There’s a reason why she’s a songwriter rather than a performer.
Next, Colton Dixon is at the piano singing his OWN SONG “Through All of It.” Justin Guarini sings the Chris Brown part of No Air with Jordin Sparks. DEFINITELY AN UPGRADE. Kimberly Locke takes the stage to sing her song 8th World Wonder. Allison Iraheta and Jordin Sparks sing along. Tamyra Gray is on stage now singing Girl Crush. Pia Toscano, Justin, and Allison are backing her up. Allison rips her way through Meghan Trainor’s “No.” OMG IT’S LARRY PLATT PANTS ON THE GROUND GUY SINGING HIS DITTY. So random. So inexplicably WTF. Thankfully, he exits quickly. Allison dives into a rap. Pia sings All By Myself. What better way to end a pop medley than with a glorious glory note! Wouldn’t be Idol without em. Good job, Pia!. – Watch Kara and Idol alums sing a Pop Medley VIDEO
Ryan introduces the performance Kelly Clarkson taped a few weeks back. The singer has a good reason for missing out–she’s at home about to give birth to a baby boy. Miss Independent opens the medley. Breakaway is next. Since U Been Gone follows and then Because of You. I’m not sure I like the way these songs are arranged. My Life Would Suck Without You is in the mix. It’s really only snippets of her hits. Don’t You Wanna Stay is next, followed by What Doesn’t Kill You and Invincible with bits of Heartbeat in the background. And she ends it all with A Moment Like This, a cappella. I teared up a little during that. She keeps it together better than folks in the audience reported, but I’m sure there were a couple of takes. – Click to Watch Kelly Clarkson perform a Medley of Hits VIDEO
It’s time for the Idol rockers. Bo Bice sings I’m Your Vehicle. He sounds particularly growly. Caleb Johnson comes in with Hard to Handle. Constantine joins him (they both performed it on the show), followed by James Durbin. Chris Daughtry takes the stage to perform his single Torches. The others back him up. Caleb launches into Tobacco Road while James slides across the floor. Bo sings harmony! Constantine sings a verse. James handles the heavy metal screams. This is wild! Lots of working the stage, completely loosy goosy. ROCK GROWLS GALORE. That was loads of fun. – Click to Watch the Idol Rockers Perform VIDEO
Keith Urban on guitar is joined onstage by Carrie Underwood! They sing Stop Dragging My Heart Around. Carrie is letting loose with some super-fierce vocals! “Hey Carrie Underwood, I know you wanna be your own girl!” Carrie might have sung this on Idol and killed it vocally, but not with the confidence she has now. – Click to Watch Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood sing Stop Dragging My Heart Around VIDEO
Ha ha… Sanjaya, in the audience has his hair did up in his infamous mohawk.
The country Idols get their turn. Diana DeGarmo is out front with Skyler Laine singing You Belong to Me. Kree Harrison joins them. The trio harmonize. Next, Bucky Covington, Ace Young, Constantine sing. Kellie Pickler and Lauren Alaina perform Done by the Band Perry. The rest sing backup. Scotty McCreery takes the stage with Papa Loves Mama. The boys are on one side, the girls on the other. All voices join to sing Where the Pavement Ends. FYI: Constantine is a last minute replacement for Josh Gracin. The beginning of that medley was a little rough. – Click to Watch the Country Medley VIDEO
IT’S NICKI MINAJ!!!! Congratulating Idol on its long run via video. Her season was such a trainwreck, no thanks to her feuding with Mariah Carey. But since then she’s had nothing but really nice things to say about the show and the contestants. I’m not surprised she participated. Now Mariah on the other hand…don’t expect to hear from her (ETA: And we didn’t. No loss)
Harry Connick Jr. introduces a video clip that takes a look at the Idol sponsored charity drive Idol Gives Back, before introducing a young singer, Marley Fletcher, from New Orleans Hurricane Katrina wracked 9th ward. The duo sing Wonderful World. Clips from Idol Gives Back play on the screen. Several Idols travelled to Africa and other locations to visit communities Idol Gives Back donations helped. – Click to Watch Harry Connick Jr. Perform VIDEO
Katharine McPhee and Casey James are on stage performing Need You Now with piano accompaniment. Carly Smithson sings Here You Come Again, accompanied by a harp. She sounds incredible! Clay Aiken sings Annie’s Song. A clarinetist sits behind him. Ruben Studdard, Amber Holcomb sing Here There and Everywhere along with an acoustic guitarist. Hm. Amber missed a cue. Jessica Sanchez sings The Prayer. She hits an impressive glory note. FYI: All perform songs they sang on the show. A spotlight shines on each of the performers as the group fills in like a chorus behind Jessica to finish the song. The judges are standing! Loved hearing the Idols perform an acoustic take on their songs. – Click to Watch the Acoustic Medley VIDEO
Ryan, Keith Harry and little Marley introduce Jennifer Lopez performing her new single Ain’t Your Mama. She’s dressed in a white maids outfit and a polka dotted 50’s style kerchief. OK. She whips off her kerchief and apron defiantly to reveal a sparkly purple see through one piece, before launching into Let’s Get Loud. The wind machine is WORKING OVERTIME BABIES. Jenn dances her azz off all over the stage. Las Vegas comes to Idol. She ends with a shake of her bon bon. – Click to Watch Jennifer Lopez Perform VIDEO
“Dunk you enjoying the show,” asks Ryan. “You’re doing great buddy!” he answers. Har.
Ryan introduces Trent and his family in the audience. He was 11 or 12 back when Season 3 aired. He remembers listening to Miss Fantasia on his Sony Walkman. That’s the intro for the Three Divas performance!
Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and LaToya London sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” It begins a cappella. This was taped on Monday, by the way, to allow Jennifer to fit it into her Broadway schedule. That was shorter than I was expecting. After a verse, Jennifer sings I Remember Me from Empire. Funny how she’s getting the star treatment. Who would have imagined back in 2004.
Back to the live show it’s time for some SOUL. Clark Beckham, Danny Gokey, George Huff, Elliott Yamin, Brandon Rogers sing Ain’t Too Proud to Beg with their best Temptations moves. Fantasia performs her new song Ugly. It’s a country song. Of course, she’s pulling it off. Fanty never fails to move. What a special talent. Taylor Hicks and LaToya London duet on I Knew You Were Waiting for Me. COOL! They are joined by a BIG GROUP of Idols. Joshua Ledet MURDERS It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World. When I say murder. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Holy crap. Candice Glover and Melinda Doolittle sing Joy to The World with a big group, including the Top 10. SING HEFFAS SING. I’m living for this duet. Click to Watch the Season 3 Divas perform + SOUL MEDLEY VIDEO
Phillip Phillips, Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen, Nick Fradiani, David Cook, winners all, sing a tribute to David Bowie including Starman, Rebel Rebel and Jean Jeanie. Collectively, the boys are known as White Guys With Guitars. Nigel has them all on pedestals performing with acoustic guitars strapped around their necks. Nigel and his sense of humor! David Cook was the standout there, followed by Kris Allen and Nick Fradiani. Everyone seemed to be having a blast. – Click to Watch the David Bowie Medley VIDEO
La’Porsha’s family helps to introduce a clip of the original judges and Ryan yucking it up. “Bad Day” plays in the background! ALL THE FEELS. “Til we meet again…Seacrest out. Oh man, am I gonna miss this, says Ryan before introducing Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. “You’ve been the only one who has lasted the entire run of 15 years!” Paula gushes. She wants to give him something special. His present is the American Idol sign, which the Top 10 bring out to stage. Nice the producers let the kids out of their cage for a few minutes. “He can’t be with us tonight” Ryan says about Simon Cowell as the judge walks up behind him. Simon’s appearance is supposed to be a “surprise,” but not really because that shizz leaked days ago. Something was bleeped. “I just thought this would be a good [opportunity] on behalf of myself, Randy, Ryan – for Paula to apologize, over the years, for being so mean to the contestants,” Cowell quipped. “NOT” Paula responds. This is hilariously awkward. Simon gets serious, and on behalf of the group, he thanks the fans, FOX the producers for such a great run. Yada Yada. “I hope there are no more surprises!” Ryan fake exclaims before William Hung arrives on stage, recreating his iconically terrible rendition of She Bangs. – Click to Watch the Return of Randy Paula and Simon VIDEO
Another former judge, Ellen Degeneres, also on tape, thanks the fans. “In the immortal words of Kelly Clarkson…my life would suck without you,” she says.
Next, it’s a homage to classic Ford spots featuring the Idols. As sponsors like Coca-Cola and AT&T ran for the hills, good ole Ford stuck by Idol until the bitter end. In the clip, various Idol alums share the fun they had, giving up their Sundays, tired as crap, to film videos for Ford! The fans sure liked them though.
The Top 2 are with Ryan when they cut back. He presents them with keys to their BRAND NEW FORD CARS. That handoff was QUICK. Maybe the quickest ever. The duo aren’t even given the chance to react. Can’t waste time! Gotta get back to what fans care about. The alums.
Carrie Underwood is next to sing Something in the Water. As always, the country star, the crown jewel in the Idol alum crown, sings her damn face off. I thought maybe she would perform her latest single “Church Bells,” but no. Carrie is getting a little weepy! She talks a little about her current tour. Tix for the second leg go on sale Friday. – Click to Watch Carrie’s Performance VIDEO
Ryan has the envelope! It’s time for the results. La’Porsha and Trent are center stage, clinging to each other as they wait. KIERAN FOR THE LAST TIME DIM THE LIGHTS HERE WE GO. TRENT HARMON WINS AMERICAN IDOL. Trent is sobbing. “I WORKED SO HARD, I WORKED SO HARD. And she pushed me to do it,” cries Trent.
Trent takes the stage to triumphantly belt winners song “Falling.” He’s a little nervous he won’t make it through, but he gathers strength as he goes. The boy is on fire! It’s a party on stage as the Top 10 and all the Idol alums join him on stage. The confetti flies! And…FOX why didn’t you give the show a few more minutes? It looked like the whole stage planned to sing “A Moment Like This.” Instead we get a semi-awkward ending. Ryan does manage to deliver a heartfelt goodbye. And after a long pause he adds…FOR NOW. And the lights go dark… Goodbye my Idol. – Watch Trent Harmon Win American Idol..Seacrest Out VIDEO