Tonight, after an 12 week season, the American Idol 2019 WINNER will be revealed. Each of the Top 3–Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg–will perform two new songs. Additionally, they will take part in an artist collaboration.
For the first time, the American Idol performance and results show will be combined into a 3 hour extravaganza, broadcast coast to coast beginning at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on ABC. One contestant will be eliminated in the middle of the show, so start voting early. The winner will be crowned at the end of the show.
Questions about voting rules? Click the link below. Y’all can start voting AT THE TOP OF THE SHOW:
Song Spoilers below!
The show opens with judge Lionel Richie, mentor Bobby Bones and a bunch of people making their way through the audience. Lionel takes the stage singing “Dancing on the Ceiling.” Let’s have a party, ya’ll. Eventually the Top 10 join him. “The incredible Lionel Richie!” host Ryan Seacrest says, by way of introduction.
The Top 3 remain on stage as Ryan introduces them. THIS IS AMERICAN IDOL! Ryan explains that after each of the Top 3 sing two songs, ONE contestant will be eliminated. Let’s begin!
Laine Hardy – Home by Marc Broussard – Dressed as sharp as ever, Laine accompanies himself on guitar for a gritty cover. I’m not big on Laine’s 50’s flash, but he really shines on swampy rock like this. It’s a good song pick for him. Katy compliments his hair. “If you apply yourself and don’t get lazy, you are going to be one of the biggest stars on the planet,” she says. “Great job Laine. Don’t let them bedazzle your hunting boots,” says Luke. “You stole my look! That was a nasty song! You’re on your way, my friend,” says Lionel. I could have used more nasty from Laine this season. Sometimes he played it too safe. But here he is in the Top 3, so what do I know.
Madison VanDenburg – Shallow by Lady Gaga – “Can she connect” wonders Bobby. That’s been the problem for the big voiced 17 year old singer all season long. Her vocal is going off the rail a little here–but it’s emotion that’s doing it. She’s trying hard to let go. It’s like she understands the stakes. She’s bringing it tonight. “We have been pushing you the whole time to dig in. It’s been so amazing to watch,” says Luke. “You are an amazing light. You have to know what a gift you have. You are truly on your way,” says Lionel. Madison admits that she is shaking. “The greatness is coming out of you. We’re pushing you because we know the greatness is inside of you,” says Katy. Oh. She changed her song pick from “I Have Nothing” to “Shallow.” GOOD MOVE. She relates to the later much more, and she realized the Whitney song is overdone on singing shows.
Bobby chats with Ryan for a bit. “We’re looking for the moment tonight,” he says, He pimps his upcoming tour. Walker Burroughs and Emma Klein are going out with him.
Alejandro Aranda – Millennial Love (Original) – Alejandro accompanies himself on acoustic guitar with minimal band backup. It’s a sweet, touching song. But there’s no “moment” in it. And on singing shows, moments are VERY important. I kept waiting for him to break out an incredible guitar solo, or take his vocal up a notch. Lionel calls him captivating and next level. “From one songwriter to another, we are so happy to have you join the ranks,” he says, “You could hear a pin drop. There is so much reverence and respect when you sing,” says Katy. She advises him to never let it get “watered down.” Luke says he will never forget the first time he met the singer, “We have been spoiled by you week after week.” Alejandro says the song is about putting down the phone and “human contact.”
Luke: Madison takes the round. “Her voice is just so big.”
Lionel: Alejandro takes the round. “I’m a sucker for a songwriter.”
Katy: Alejandro takes the round. “There is something otherworldly and holy about what Alejandro does.” No love for Laine. OUCH!
Hometown visit clips in this round!
Laine Hardy – Jambalaya by Hank Williams – We see the governor declare “Laine Hardy Day” at the Governor’s mansion. He takes a boat ride with his big brother, and then heads home to see his family. Laine’s maw maw is verklempt! It brings Laine to tears. He’s missing home. The kids always cry at some point during hometown visits. So do the parents. Parade time and then Laine’s big concert. Check out all his performances here. Laine delivers a fun easy breezy performance of “Bayou.” But it’s the finale. Song choices need to be made with the stakes in mind. AND THE STAKES ARE HIGH. It’s not the time to do a fun mid tempo stomper. Laine should have sung at least ONE gritty ballad tonight. Katy wants to go to Louisiana. “Great song choice,” says Luke. Lionel is impressed that the Governor showed up.
Oh, here’s reigning winner Maddie Poppe pimping her brand new album and single with Ryan. She’s FINALLY getting her plug. She admits she only wrote the bridge on “Made You Miss” and then laughs, “I’m so bad on live TV!” She talks about how nerve-wracking the finale experience was last year.
Madison VanDenburg – Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson – Madison back home in New York, she visits the local news station, attends a pep rally at her high school. She gets a sash and everything! Ha. Her big extended family greets her at home. Oh. She missed her doggo. Dad is so proud. TEARS. It’s a rainy, rainy day, but the parade and concert goes on. Check out all her performances here. The beginning is a little low for her, but she soars on the big notes. She’s back inside her head, unfortunately, distracted by working the crowd. She finally breaks free on the last chorus, hitting a few of her trademark high notes. That performance was very uneven. “Great job. What an amazingly tough song,” says Luke. “You’re on your way.” Lionel is running out of things to say. “You’re about to spread your wings in the real world. Keep your work ethic.” Madison was only 9 months old when Kelly was crowned!
Oh geez. Bachelorette Hannah Brown is in the audience, sitting next to Bobby Bones. Ryan asks if she’s happy, she answer yes. “You must still be single then.” Yuck, yuck.
Time to pimp sponsor Lipton Tea with a hometown visit clip. Oh. Lipton PAID to fly family and friends out to the finale. Usually, the fam has to pony up the dough themselves.
Alejandro Aranda – Tonight (Original) – Alejandro takes a train to Pomona. Not sure why! He hangs out with Ben Harper at his record shop. “Thanks for embracing me,” Alejandro says. Ben gifts Alejandro with a cool guitar. They play a little together. Inside the Fox theater, the Pomona Music Tree Children’s chorus sing one of his songs. He begins to cry. “I never had a lot of support,” he confesses. He encourages their parents, who are all sitting in the audience, to keep supporting them. Man, I bet Alejandro has a story to tell. Maybe someday we’ll hear it. Parade next, and then the big concert outside the Fox. Check out all his performances here. His new original is very pretty. Alejandro writes beautiful melodies. He performs sitting behind an electric piano. It’s a gentle, yet emotional performance. I wish there were more dynamics, but the feeling he poured into that performance made up for it. Lionel says, “Welcome home to the business, welcome home to your heart. VOTE VOTE VOTE.” Katy says, “It’s been such a pleasure to live in the same lifetime as you.” Katy declares American Idol is no longer a karaoke show. Luke says, “What a beautiful moment! You are truly something to behold. When you are on the cover of the ‘Rolling Stones’ [sic] I will buy them.”
Results after the commercial break!
But first American Idol season 4 winner Carrie Underwood sings her current single, the upbeat summer song “Southbound.” Fun! Carrie gets Katy and the judges up to dance a little. THIS is not taped ahead. Carrie sounds fabulous. What a voice. After this, Carrie will head back out on her nationwide “Cry Pretty” tour.
The vote was open all through Carrie’s performance. The Top 3 take the stage for results. KIERAN DIM THE LIGHTS HERE WE GO. Based on the live nationwide vote.
The person in third place is….MADISON VANDENBURG.
That leaves Laine Hardy and Alejandro Aranda as the Top 2!
Aw. Madison is crying in her father’s arms…
Next, it’s a video recap of the season. Funny Hijinks! Hawaii is nice! Time for the Top 20! Yada yada yada…. That leads into Montell Jordan singing the song Katy “wormed” to during the season, “This is How We Do It.” Joke contestants Margie Mays and Austin Michaels join him on stage. That was a waste.
Now, it’s Katy Perry and Daddy Yankee performing their song “Con Calma”. Katy performs while sitting in a giant hair chair. There is a ton of green screen effects. She’s wearing different hair and a different outfit. Betting this was taped over the weekend. They pretend it was live–Katie isn’t sitting with the panel.
Now, Alejandro Aranda performs his song “10 Years” with a huge orchestra. That’s his duet partner. A black-clad beanie wearing orchestra. Ha. Having said that, this performance is a stunner. He’s got that whisper-voice thing going, which some Idol fans will nail him for. But man, what a beautiful song. Again, Alejandro writes GORGEOUS melodies. This tune really lends itself to the orchestral treatment.
I’m beginning to believe Alejandro might win this thing.
AND NOW ADAM LAMBERT! The American Idol season 8 alum performs his brand new single, the 70’s tinged “New Eyes.” Adam is sporting some totally rad velvet bell bottoms. The song is from his forthcoming album Velvet. So…appropriate! He’s accompanied by a very cool all-female band. This performance was taped over the weekend. COOL SONG.
And next, Adam and Top 10 finalist Dimitrius Graham sing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This is live, however. Adam is dressed head to toe in black. Dimitrius brings on his crazy and somewhat jarring operatic voice. I will say, Adam is a very generous duet partner.
Back from break, Dan + Shay sing “All to Myself.” After, Madison VanDenburg joins them on “Speechless.” It’s the song she sang in front of the judges during her New York audition! It’s weird she’s expected to go out on stage and sing after being cut. That was a little messy and seemed under rehearsed. But she’s excused, considering.
Oh, I guess each of the judges will be featured in a little clip. Luke is up now with his dad jokes. Now he’s on stage performing “Knockin’ Boots.” Blargh. What a dumb song. Luke is the worst bro-country.
Next, he introduces Laci Kaye Booth and they sing “Every Breath You Take,” by The Police. The stalker song is such a weird choice for these two. This song does not need a twang. Laci and Luke’s styles don’t blend at all. Problematic.
These collabs are like 2 seconds long. Alejandro got the best one by far.
OH LOOK. VoKillz is here to use his funny voice as he introduces Jon Pardi and Laine Hardy. Oh boy. The two sing a medley of “Dirt On My Boots” and “Night Shift.” This is actually a credible pairing. Laine sounds great.
Katy Perry’s clip is next. And afterward, she sings her song “Unconditionally” with the sublime Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon. OK THIS IS REALLY INCREDIBLE. The two actually blend beautifully together. There is a real connection there. Dang, I wish Jeremiah had gone farther. THIS IS SO GOOD. These two just had a moment. Really.
Now Rivers Cuomo and Weezer are on stage singing their cover of Toto’s “Africa.” Hm. I like Weezer, but boy does this sounds terrible. Next they launch into another cover “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Walker Burroughs joins them on stage for A-ha’s “Take on Me.” Weezer is ruining this, to be honest. Then Wade Cota joins them on stage… Did he miss his cue or something? He doesn’t sing. The look on Luke’s face. Ha ha. THAT WAS A HOT MESS. Dang.
Kane Brown, who actually auditioned for American Idol way back when is on stage singing “Good As You.” Alyssa Raghu joins him for a rendition of “Lost in the Middle of Nowhere.” This is another really odd pairing, but Alyssa’s vocal is strong.
Next, “Team Laine” and “Team Alejandro” aka family and friends are on stage to chat with Ryan. Oh. The Top 2 win a Disney cruise to the Bahamas. Nice.
Lionel Richie’s clip is next. Shayy made him cry! And now she’s on stage singing her audition song, “Rise Up.” Andra Day joins her on stage! Yay! Lionel is crying again.
Now it’s Kool and The Gang singing the awesome 70’s funk song “Hollywood Swinging.” Uche makes a GRAND entrance. I missed him after his elimination. He brought the fun, for sure. They end with the hit “Ladies Night” and then the rest of the Top 10 join them on stage for “Celebration.” Those dudes still got it.
Laine and Alejandro are backstage with Ryan and Bobby. Both say they grew close throughout the competition. OH THERE’S MORE SINGING. Both are reprising songs.
Laine Hardy – Bring it On Home to Me by Sam Cooke – OK this is the stuff–a slow soulful performance. Oops. Spoke too soon. Laine speeds it up, which is completely unnecessary. Now he performs it like a gospel rave. He should have kept it slow. Luke calls the tone in his voice “something special.” Lionel wants Laine to remember him at the stage door. Really? lol. Luke loves his attitude. “You are authentic,” says Katy. “You are ready this time.”
Alejandro Aranda – Out Loud (Original) – This is probably my favorite of Alejandro’s originals. I love the guitar work on this. His musicianship really shines on this song. Members of the audience are chanting for him! Luke asks him to send him a postcard from the planet he comes from. Lionel drags out that “instant identity” cliche. Katy calls helping him “such an incredible honor.”
THE RESULTS! The American Idol champ wins a recording contract with Hollywood Records, an appearance on this year’s “Arties” on the Disney channel and a gig at the Kaaboo Festival this summer. Kieran dim the lights. After the LIVE Nationwide vote. The Winner of American Idol 2019 is…Laine Hardy.
Laine Hardy Wins American Idol
Laine sings the “winners single” “Flame.”
Gosh. Can you imagine Alejandro singing this song? I can’t. For one brief minute, I thought he had a chance to win. But nah. What was I thinking? My original take–that the white boy from the south would win, because they always do–was the right take. Just following my instincts, folks, after years of watching the show.
I did vote for Alejandro, but do I think he was robbed? Winning the show isn’t as big a deal as it used to be. And for the kind of artist Alejandro is, it’s probably better for him to take the exposure American Idol afforded–not to mention the hundreds of thousands of social media followers–and run with it ON HIS OWN TERMS. There’s a pretty good chance Alejandro would have chafed as an artist on Hollywood Records. Eighteen year old Laine, who is still defining his country style, will be a much better fit for the label.
The winners single “Flame” has the typical lame lyrics of a coronation song, but it’s upbeat and catchy and suits Laine fine. Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that the single was so suitable for Laine. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was leading in the votes all season.
Laine Hardy – Winner
Alejandro Aranda – Runner Up
Madison VanDenburg – 2nd Runner Up