And the winner of the 15th and last season of “American Idol” is: Trent Harmon.
You won’t be reading those words ever again. Hopefully, you’ll be reading again about the winner. Harmon seems good. But “Idol” is done. A little bit of cultural history and a lot of TV history is done too.
Harmon was a surprise — or probably wasn’t. Perhaps it doesn’t even matter: Viewers have long since moved past surprises on “American Idol,” because many have long since moved past “American Idol.” Nevertheless, some of us can admit that after 14 years, there still was something sad, sweet, emotional, and above all nostalgic about this final episode.
“Idol” did not go quietly into this cool April night at the Dolby Theatre, but characteristically went noisily, gaudily, with the help of smoke, strobes, glitter, former contestants and — yes — President Barack Obama, too, who opened with a taped message that sounded suspiciously like a suggestion to lean Democrat: The show “motivated young Americans to vote, often with enthusiasm. Voting is the most fundamental and sacred right of our democracy.”
Did I mention first-year co-host Brian Dunkleman? “No one knows the pain of life without ‘Idol’ more than me,” he quipped.
“Idol” history passed before our eyes. Carrie Underwood performed a duet with Keith Urban. Former contestants Katherine McPhee — her tresses long and blond — and Casey James (his surprisingly brown) did as well. Clay Aiken went solo. Scotty McCreery joined a crowd. Ruben Studdard and Amber Holcomb were a duo, Taylor Hicks and LaToya London too. Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and London were a trio. Chris Daughtry seemed to be everywhere and with everyone. Five former winners performed a tribute to David Bowie.
But Jennifer Lopez almost stole the whole show — with the help of a lot of feathered blue boas — and she was just a judge.
The former contestants were terrific, all of them a testament — and tribute — to these last 15 seasons. Thankfully, they were also in pitch. After all, Simon, Randy and Paula — who also turned up — once told us they were.
“Thank you, America, for letting us into your homes,” said Simon.
Thank you, Simon, and good night, “Idol.” You’ll be missed.
(Yes, Simon. Even you.)