After 15 seasons and nearly 14 years, “American Idol” is finally over.
It was a trip down memory lane, and the last ever episode of the singing competition that started it all should have been titled “American Idol: All Stars.”
First of all, let’s get to the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the book-end to Kelly Clarkson is…Trent Harmon! The 24-year-old worked as a waiter at his family’s restaurant before auditioning for the show. He grew up on a farm and described himself as a “dude from Mississippi,” from the town of Amory.
The 22-year-old runner-up, La’Porsha Renae, is a single mother who overcame domestic abuse to compete. She’s also from Mississippi, and many thought she was a shoo-in since the season began earlier this year.
Meanwhile, it was a “who’s who” of “Idol” through the years, featuring several group performances of Idols past and present, plus several more intimate performances that blew our minds.
In fact, one of the most recognizable faces in the world led off the two-hour extravaganza: President Barack Obama, who had a message: “Not all of us can sing like Kelly Clarkson, but all of our voices matter,” so get out and vote.
Next up were the stars of every season, led by the final two contestants: La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon, who later performed a sublime duet of “It Takes Two” by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston.
And the surprises never stopped. When host Ryan Seacrest came out, he was accompanied by Brian Dunkleman, his co-judge from season one.
Then a very long string of pop songs came, with performances from stars like previous judge Kara DioGuardi, plus contestants Jordin Sparks, Tamyra Gray, Allison Iraheta, Colton Dixon, Justin Guarini, Kimberly Locke, Larry Platt and Pia Toscano.
One of the highlights of the night was the first ever Idol Kelly Clarkson singing a medley of her own greatest hits, which are numerous. The pregnant star didn’t let her impending baby slow her down, and she rocked it as hard as anyone who hit the stage.
Another major highlight was a duet from "American Idol" standout Carrie Underwood and current judge Keith Underwood, who sang "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks.
And Connecticut's very own Idol, Nick Fradiani, was joined by other past winners to pay tribute to the late David Bowie. Phillip Phillips, Lee Dewyze, David Cook and Kris Allen joined him for a quintet to honor the rocker.
One of the most touching moments was when judge Harry Connick Jr. joined forces with a young girl from his hometown of New Orleans who lives in a section of city that was battered by Hurricane Katrina. Marley Fletcher, who attends the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, sang her heart out with Harry to "What a Wonderful Life."
We also saw great performances from season two stars Reuben Studdard and Clay Aiken, plus stand outs like Taylor Hicks and Kathrine McPhee.
Some of the other incredible moments included Jennifer Lopez not only debuting her new song "Ain't Your Momma," but also performing hits like "Let's Get Loud."
Later we got a blast from the past of the ultimate divas--Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson and LaToya London, who sang "Remember the Music."
But some of the best moments were saved for the last half of the show. There was the memorable memorial of David Bowie, but then came the moment we've all been waiting for: an apology from the meanie who started it all...Simon Cowell!
First out were Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, two of the three original judges on season one of "American Idol. And no one knew that Simon was right behind them; Ryan even said he drove us all a little crazy as Simon was walking out! But then came Cowell, and boy was it worth it.
Simon did what we never thought would ever do, and (sort of) apologized. "I just thought this would be a good opportune on behalf of myself, for you Ryan, for Paula, to apologize over the years for being so mean to the contestants. We were trying to be nurturing, helpful, you were really horrible, and I think now is the time to apologize to america," and then he handed the mic to Paula! She was understandably a bit shocked, and could only say "Unbelievable. Guilty as charged--not!"
That shocking reunion was followed up by another shocker: the reappearance of the worst most memorable "Idol" try out ever, William Hung, who performed his timeless hit "She Bangs" with all the best moves!
We got one more incredible performance from Carrie Underwood, and that left just one thing: who will be the last ever "American Idol"?
The answer: Trent Harmon.