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Five must-see moments from the American Idol finale (video gallery)

Dozens of former Idol finalists took the stage for the opening number on the American Idol Season 15 finale Thursday night. (FOX Photo)

Dozens of former Idol finalists took the stage for the opening number on the American Idol Season 15 finale Thursday night. (FOX Photo)


Now that’s the way you do a finale.

Sure, the singer I picked to win Season 15 of American Idol — La’Porsha Renae — didn’t.

Sure, that means we only had one female winner on American Idol in the show’s last nine seasons.

And that makes me wonder if Kelly Clarkson could have beaten Justin Guarini in 2016.

But Trent Harmon sang like a champion for at least the last three weeks of Season 15, so if his victory ranked as an upset, it wasn’t a shocking one.

And don’t waste too much time crying for La’Porsha. Billboard is reporting that both finalists have been signed to label deals. That hasn’t been the case for recent second-place finishers.

Meanwhile, Idol finally got a finale right, celebrating the show’s history and all of the wonderful singers we met through it.

My five favorite moments …

1. That opening: We started with this season’s top contestants singing “One Voice.” Slowly, they were joined by dozens of other contestants from past seasons. Judging from my Twitter timeline, I wasn’t the only one in tears over the power of the moment. I just wish they would have allowed the camera to scan each and every one of those faces. And hadn’t ended the performance so soon. They could have found the time by cutting Jennifer Lopez’s booty shaking performance later in the show.

2. “A Moment Like This”: Kelly Clarkson couldn’t be on hand for Thursday’s finale because the due date for her second child is so close. But she pre-taped a medley of her hits. Wow, so many hits. And she ended the performance with an a cappella snippet of “A Moment Like This,” her Season 1 coronation song. And her very first hit. Let’s just say Kelly didn’t have to be there in person to deliver another powerful moment.

3. “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”: With Kelly unable to attend, Carrie Underwood was easily the biggest stars present among all the former Idol finalists. She showed why, singing “Something in the Water” late in the show and doing a duet of “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” with Keith Urban. It was easily the best of the judges’ performances Thursday night.

4. The new singles: During their medleys, Chris Daughtry got to sing a snippet of “Torches,” the single off his band’s greatest hits album. And Fantasia later got to sing part of her new single, “Ugly,” a country song that just hit iTunes on Thursday. Check out the 1-minute mark in the video below. Shame it took Idol 15 years to realize the finale should be a showcase for new music from its former artists.

5. Jessica Sanchez: There were some amazing vocals on Thursday’s show. Didn’t Katharine McPhee and Casey James sound splendid on “Need You Now?” How about Carly Smithson on “Here You Come Again?” And Kellie Pickler and Lauren Alaina on “Done?” But my favorite of the night was Jessica Sanchez’s cover of “The Prayer.” Wow, what a voice. Someone, please rescue Jessica from musical obscurity. Did I mention that she finished second in Season 11? And that only one female won Idol over the last nine years?

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