“American Idol” ended Season 14 in grand fashion Wednesday night, hosting perhaps one of the better star-studded finales in the show’s history. And after all was said and sung, including a performance by the three “Idol” judges, hot Ryan Seacrest received the envelope, Clark Beckham and Nick Fradiani tensed for the reveal, and America had their fourteenth Idol…
Since the Top 2 had competed for votes the night before, Wednesday night was about singing for fun. As Michael Slezak at TV Line recapped May 13, the “Season 14 capper proved so fun, so festive and so jam-packed with music, most of it actually pretty good, that he was rather intrigued by the idea of started Season 15 in June. Was it really that good? Indeed it was.
Of course, they brought back the Season 14 Top 10 to sing and perform with a who’s who of stars. Quentin Alexander nailed “Riptide” alongside Vance Joy, making one wish he hadn’t self-destructed back during the Top 7 performances. Sarina-Joi Crowe and Adanna Duru and the Top 6 girls showed some disco soul with Nile Rodgers and a medley of Chic and Sister Sledge hits. The Top 6 guys backed up Ricky Martin on “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “She Bangs” (What? No William Hung guest appearance?) and “The Cup of Life.” Adana Duru danced and sang with Jonelle Monae. Judge Jennifer Lopez teamed up with Pitbull to help Prince Royce about midway through the show. Joey Cook and her quirkiness smoothly synced her voice with Echosmith. Third-place Jax strutted and pranced (and writhed with former “American Idol” judge Steven Tyler on the judges’ table) to a frenetically fun cover of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” Tyanna Jones did a great job as an honorary stand-in with The Jacksons on a medley of their hits.
As for the two vying for the “American Idol” title, Clark Beckham and Nick Fradiani kicked off the show rocking along with Fall Out Boy on “Centuries.” They returned at the end of the show as well, with Beckham getting soulsy with the incomparable Michael McDonald and Nick Fradiani again rocking out with Andy Grammer.
The “Idol” judges, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban, hit the stage near the end. They performed excellent versions of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven.”
And then it was time to make an Idol. Ryan Seacrest took the envelope and, after Clark Beckham and Nick Fradiani both spoke about how honored they were and how much they respected each other, read off the name of the 2014 winner of “American Idol.” And that was… Nick Fradiani.
The 29-year-old Fradiani looked shocked to have heard his name. (That might be because Clark Beckham has been touted all season by the judges and the media as the frontrunner. Beckham was also the oddsmakers’ favorite going into the finale as well.) But just like with Ruben Studdard and Kris Allen before him, Nick Fradiani pulled off the upset.
“American Idol” returns for Season 15, its final season, in January.