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Belated "American Idol" Finale Recap

I just realized that somehow, with my cramped schedule, I forgot to post my final recap from "American Idol" Season 14. Here it is.



• At the top of the night, both of the finalists, Clark Beckham and Nick Fradiani, performed "Centuries" live with Fall Out Boy. Afterward, host Ryan Seacrest asked, "Who will be remembered for centuries? The results are in." Centuries, hmm. A year, if you're lucky, with the show's recent past.
• After the judges were introduced, Ryan chatted with Nick and Clark, who joined him in the audience. They introduced The Jacksons, performing with Tyanna Jones. They started with "I Want You Back," with her singing Michael's part. She was cute in a black tuxedo jacket with silver piping and her blue hair puffed up on top of her head, afro style. The song got off to a rough start, but got better. Then they switched to "The Love You Save," and it got even messier. Then they did "(Dance and Shout) Shake Your Body to the Ground," and the coordinated dance moves got more audience response than the vocals had.
• The Top twelve girls appeared with Nile Rodgers and Chic to perform "We Are Family," then "Le Freak," then "Good Times" and "Rapper's Delight." Joey's violet hair now has burgundy tips. It was weird how many of those faces I couldn't no longer match up with their names, it had been so long since we saw them. Jax was looking remarkably cheery considering she'd just been cut the night before. They had a lot of fun, and their vocals were well-matched to his playing.
• Next, Ricky Martin took the stage to sing his single, "Mr. Put It Down." He wore a black silk suit and was uber tan, dancing with a crew of dancers. He followed it by singing his best-known hit, "Livin' La Vida Loca," along with the guys: Quentin Alexander, Qaasim Middleton, Rayvon Owen, Nick Fradiani, Clark Beckham. Then they moved on to "She Bangs" and "The Cup of Life." Seeing Ricky with these young guys, he really seemed like a seasoned older brother teaching them the ropes.
• Back from a commercial break, we heard from Janelle Monae, doing "Yoga," who now has a long braid and a tiara, along with her white and black sporty outfit. She was joined by contstant Adanna Duri, who really got the dance moves right. And a cool dude in a 1930s style suit, pocket chain and all, with a big beard and curly hair, came on for a solo.
• Next was "Back it Up" by Prince Royce, featuring Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull. He was wearing a white suit, in front of a beach scene, dancing with girls in colorful short shorts. The song was a little campy but very catchy.
• After another break, Joey Cook perform "Cool Kids" with Echosmith, wearing a silver dress with an A-line skirt and a stack of colorful bracelets on each arm. She fit right in with this song, singing harmonies nicely when it wasn't her turn to be featured.
• Ryan asked the judges to predict the winner. Harry Connick Jr. said it could be either one of them. Keith Urban said that he thought Nick had it by a hair, and Jennifer Lopez went with Clark, which got a big cheer from the audience. Then Ryan introduced a montage featuring the judges.
• Then was Keith Urban when "Even the Stars Fall 4 You." The song kicked off with some great guitar strumming. For a country guy, he rocks. Cut to his wife, Nicole Kidman, watching from the audience.
• Next, Jamie Foxx started off his song "In Love By Now" at the grand piano, in a black suit with a black shirt. He was joined by Rayvon Owen, wearing a gray suit with black velvet lapels over a gray patterned T-shirt. The harmonies on this were very nice. Rayvon really ought to do more duets.
• Ryan interviewed the two finalists, leading into a taped segment about their mentors, with the two guys inviting them to the finale. Nick invited his guitarist from his band, Nick Abraham, and Clark invited Pastor Jim Phillips, his choir director from school. Then, live in the audience, Clark and Nick presented them with keys to new cars. Ryan then told them they would both be receiving a new Ford Focus ST, as well. They acted surprised, but this has been one of Ford's bonuses for a while now.
• Next we saw video of Daniel Seavey meeting New Kids on the Block, who were going to teach him some dance moves. He then performed with them onstage, doing "Step by Step." He looked like a bouncy little puppy, but he kept up, more or less. They followed this with "You've Got It (The Right Stuff)." NKOTB are definitely not kids any more. It was cute how they called Daniel "the newest kid" and how much he looked up to them.
• Quentin Alexander performed "Riptide" with Vance Joy, with a large backup choir onstage. Quentin seemed to be loving the experience, bouncing his way through the chorus, wearing a long green jacket and black pants, along with a T-shirt and layers of necklaces. He was a lot shorter than Vance, who looked even taller because of his tousled dark curls.
• Season 14 mentor Scott Borchetta came on to talk to the guys about what comes next: they will both be making a host of public appearances, including Ryan's radio show. Scott was pleased to report both of their singles were in the Top 15 on iTunes.
• With "Fun," Qaasim Middle performed with Pitbull and Chris Brown, starting off with Chris Brown wearing a black satin suit and white button-down shirt with sunglasses. He's quite the dancer. Pitbull then came out with a crew of backup dancers. Pitbull called out Qaasim, who was wearing a black military-style jacket and who seemed uncomfortable dancing with the dancers, as much as he likes to perform. The mix almost drowned out Qaasim.
• Steven Tyler started off "Say Your Name," then was joined by Jax. Then, faking the audience out with the first few chords of an Aerosmith song, "Walk This Way," Jax ran onstage and sang Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" with him. She was in heaven! At one point, they both lay on their backs on the judges table, kicking their legs. Lots of fun. As Ryan came up to talk to them, Jax stepped forward to say that she didn't get much closure last night but she was really grateful to all the viewers and was happy to have the opportunity to perform with Steven Tyler.
• Clark Beckham then performed "Taking it to the Streets" with Michael McDonald, both of them playing piano.
• Nick performed with Andy Grammer. They did "Back Home" and then another one, "Honey, I'm Good." The upbeat songs were a lot of fun, and Nick seemed very comfortable up there. Certainly, he's grown a lot this season.
• Then all three judges performed the Rihanna song "Diamonds," with Jennifer singing the lead in a silver sparkly dress with lots of sheerness near the top. Harry was on keyboards, and Keith was on guitar, of course. The three made beautiful music together. From there, they segued into "Locked Out of Heaven," sung by Keith, with a keyboard solo by Harry.
• Finally, it was down to the results. Ryan gave them a chance to say some final words, and they both had nothing but praise for each other. Envelope please, brought out by the president of Telescope. The winner of Season 14 was... Nick. His fellow contestants ran out onstage to hug him, and Ryan asked for his reaction. He just wanted to thank everyone. Nick ended the show by singing "Beautiful Life," his coronation single.
• I can't say I'm really surprised, since the judges (and producers) were doing everything to sing his praises and help him out throughout the season, but I'm just not excited about Nick. It's possible that he'll do well, since he does have a good voice. I'd be more interested to see what happens with Clark Beckham from here on out. Maybe he'll go the way of the indie artist and make some waves.

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