“Dim the lights. Here we go.” These words, uttered countless times over the past 15 years, bringing out anticipated breaths from millions waiting for long-delayed results, were spoken for the final time on last night’s farewell finale of “American Idol.”
“Idol”, apart from being the beginning for MC’s most notable alumni, Adam Lambert, is also a notable platform from which dozens of other singing competitions blossomed. These include the briefly successful “The X Factor” (U.S), and the ever popular “The Voice.” However, much to the shock of the millions who have watched since day one, “Idol” announced in May 2015, that season 15 would be the last for the beloved series.
As the final season progressed, people prepared themselves for what would be the last episode of “American Idol,” and last night was the night the world said goodbye.
As to be expected with a show of such a high caliber, President Barack Obama himself introduced the show for the final time via a video message, congratulating it on its longevity. And while he was appealing to the American people, he also came with a plea for the upcoming presidential elections.
“I believe it should be almost as easy as voting on ‘American Idol.’,” Obama said. “And we’re working on that.”
In previous years, season finales of the show have been centered around the contestants who had fought for the prestigious right to call themselves an “Idol finalist.” However, as this was the ending, this highly anticipated broadcast took a very different direction.
The entire finale was a nostalgic slap in the face. Fans relived the glory days with special surprise performances and the return of the original three judges: Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and of course, the one and only Simon Cowell. And hosting for the final time was the beloved, still short, never-aging Ryan Seacrest.
Anyone who has roots in the series found their way back to the Idol stage for one last time. Kelly Clarkson, the first ever winner of the esteemed title, performed “A Moment Like This,” the number that she sang on September 2, 2002 right after being crowned the winner.
Even the judges took the stage. Keith Urban performed with “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood. Harry Connick Jr. sang with Marley Fletcher, a young student from Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, serenading the crowd with “What a Wonderful World.” And of course, Jennifer Lopez rocked the stage with her new single.
Even Idol artists who retreated underground following their 15 minutes of fame (seriously Taylor Hicks, where have you been?) returned to join the world in saying goodbye. And of all people, Brian Dunkleman, the forgettable, blip on the Idol radar screen, who was co-host with Ryan Seacrest during the first season, graced the stage with his presence to announce a performance (and that he was still alive). Anyone and everyone who made an impact on the competition returned.
Bo Rice, Constantine Maroulis, Caleb Johnson, James Durbin, and Chris Daughtry took to the stage to remind America that “Idol” wasn’t all pop, performing a rock n roll medley.
And as if it were the nail in Idol’s coffin, William Hung and Larry Platt, two of the notably worst auditioners for the show, came and performed on the live stage, singing “She Bangs” and “Pants on the Ground,” respectively.
And yet, with all of these surprises throughout the finale, the biggest one ended up being the ending, when they finally announced the final winner of “American Idol. Surprisingly, crowd favorite and expected winner La’Porsha Renae was not the name that was spoken in the end. Trent Harmon was revealed to be the winner, which was completely unexpected. But hey, that’s “Idol” for you. After 15 years, there are still some shockers in store.
As the confetti rained, while Trent was still processing the news that he had won, America was given a moment to say goodbye to what has become synonymous with that of talent, fame, and stardom. Ryan Seacrest concluded the show, in the most professional of ways, “We say to you good night America [pregnant pause] for now!”