American Idol Season 14 Performance Finale Recap: That Thing You Dude


Those of you who enjoy the crack of a baseball bat against the ribs must’ve loved the opening segment of American Idol‘s Season 14 performance finale.

Clark Backham, Jax and Nick Fradiani began the hour dangled like slabs of meat above the lion’s cage, grimly accepting that one of ’em — despite having spent the week preparing a whopping three performances — was going to be unceremoniously dropped, his or her shrieks of agony drowned out by the cheering crowd preparing to celebrate its chosen Top 2.

Uff da. Forgive me for awkwardly mixing my sports and animal references — but I’m still trying to make sense of the myriad, conflicting emotions that coursed through my system during the rapid-fire one-hour telecast.

Jax — outfitted in a silver sack that was part “silver poncho you throw over an ailing marathon runner,” part “figure skater waiting for a seamstress to cinch her superhero-themed costume” — turned out to be on the wrong end of the results, based on last week’s performances. And after a quick hug and a wave of Ryan Seacrest’s arm, she was eliminated like the line on Jessica Simpson’s resume that says “recording artist.” (Too bitchy? You’ve never been assaulted by her “I Wanna Love You Forever” in the shampoo aisle at Walgreens, have you?)

MLB_3130_hires1Jax’s ouster that left us with a head-to-head battle that — at least on paper — merely made me yearn for Joey Cook’s wicked creativity, Quentin Alexander’s deep well of moodiness, Rayvon Owen’s distinctive tone, even evicted-too-soon Sarina-Joi Crowe’s delicious sass.

But a funny thing happened as I tried to avert my eyes from mentor Scott Borchetta’s “Music Has Value” shoulder patch. One of the two inarguably solid dudes standing at center stage quickly and definitively drew me onto his bandwagon — a development I didn’t see coming.

Alas, it wasn’t Clark, whose early efforts on “Superstition” and “Sunday Morning” made him look like an unstoppable front-runner, until vocal inconsistency and a lack of gut connection to his songs (and emotion in his eyes) began to make him look vulnerable in the last few weeks of competition.

Instead, it was Nick — a guy who rarely misfired, perhaps because he rarely stepped outside his safety zone — who carpe diem-ed the bejeezus out of the hour, capping things off with a perfectly tailored original track that might give Phillip Phillips’ “Home” a run for Coronation Single Most Likely to Bombard Your Ears For the Next 18 Months.

So let’s get to my letter grades for this week’s performances:

Greatest “Hit” Reprised
MLB_3202_hires1Clark Beckham: Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” — Grade: B | I’ll be the first to recognize I’ve been steadily less enamored of Clark ever since he peaked — to my ears anyway — on that bluesy-spectacular “Superstition” cover in Top 6 week. Yet while “Georgia on My Mind” was a reasonably good vocal, I was nevertheless distracted by Clark’s very practiced, “Look! I’m feelin’ it!” head sways — and their failure to disguise his somewhat sleepy energy on the verses. Not only that, but his Rev. Beckham howl in the final third of the performance steered more toward screamy than soulful. Given that, I’d rank Clark’s “Georgia” lower than Nick’s Round 1 reprise, plus Kendra Chantelle’s landmark Season 10 Wild Card “Georgia”  and Matt Giraud’s soulful Season 8 take, too.

Nick Fradiani: Matchbox 20’s “Bright Lights” — Grade: A- | Nick didn’t do anything to shake up Rob Thomas’ vocal template — not that this far into the season, he’d given me much reason to hold out such hopes. But the Connecticut hottie delivered every word of the lyric such gorgeous gusto — and with so much lively energy — that I found myself getting caught up in the story he was telling, even if he was ultimately coloring well within the lines of the original. J.Lo’s comment that Simon Fuller cooked up Idol specifically for a singer like Nick — “someone with voice, look, presence… everything that it takes” might’ve been a bit of hyperbole but Nick’s urgency throughout the hour was a clear message he wasn’t playing for second place.

Idol Creator Simon Fuller’s Choice
MB2_4927_hires1Clark Beckham: Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” — Grade: B- | Kudos to Clark for stripping down his arrangement to a simple acoustic guitar — the better to differentiate it from Kris Allen’s hard-to-beat Season 8 rendition. But honestly, I heard quite a few iffy notes in Clark’s lower register during the opening verse. Perhaps even more troubling, though, was that after giving us wonderful restraint in the opening half (and creating a real sense of tension in the process) Clark inexplicably shifted gears into screamer mode, almost as if he’d forgotten there’s any other way to end a performance.

Nick Fradiani: Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” — Grade: B- | Wait, what? Nick plays piano? Well, bully for him! As with Clark’s Round 2 number, Nick also exhibited some problems with pitch — in particular on the rapid-fire bridge — but on the plus side, he also managed to pack more emotion into a 90-second performance than you’ll find in the entire climactic scenes of most modern rom-coms.

Coronation Single
Clark Beckham: “Champion” — Grade: B | I can’t be too too hard on Clark’s “Victory Anthem” performance, since dude got saddled with a verse that was too low for him and a chorus that stretched his upper register its breaking point. (Not only that, I suspect the song’s Katy Perry-meets-Ryan Tedder DNA probably doesn’t represent the kind of artist Clark wants to be in his post-Idol life.) That said, would it have been too much to ask for a little more excitement, a little more movement, a little more conviction from the blue-eyed soul-man? A song that’s written as the official anthem of the 2015 Women’s World Cup needs 10 gallons of rocket fuel, not a room-temperature bottle of Vitamin Water.

MB2_5166_hires1Nick Fradiani: “Beautiful Life” — Grade: A | If Nick winds up inheriting Caleb Johnson’s crown on Wednesday night, Idol historians can play back his “Beautiful Life” performance, slo-mo the three explosive fist bumps at the start of the first chorus and tell their students, “This was the moment he sealed the deal.” Unlike Clark’s tentative approach to “Champion,” Mr. Fradiani seemed completely sold on his song — and transferred those good vibrations right through the TV screen. I mean, my  response to Idol coronation ditties typically ranges from fetal position and groaning (“No Boundaries“) to “Did he just say ‘Magic Rainbow’?” (“The Time of My Life”), but as Nick chanted “This! Could! Be! The last night of our lives!” the best kind of chill went through my veins (and no, I don’t think it was the ghost of Danny Gokey’s “Dream On.”) Even more shocking? When the audience began to sway — in time with the music for the first time ever?! — I wasn’t even mad at ’em (although SwayBots will always be Enemy No. 1 in the Idoloonie Nation.) Instead, as Nick’s voice began to quiver with emotion on the line, “this is just one perfect night,” I started envisioning him getting his confetti shower. And if “Beautiful Life” represents the kind of jam he’ll be singing — and the conviction with which he’ll be doing it — then the House That Gave Us Lil’ Sweet might have a few more hits left in it.

Will Win Season 14: Nick
Should Win Season 14: Nick

But that’s just how I see it. How about you? Who “won” the night? Who should win the season? Did you hate the way producers kicked off the hour in such grim fashion? And what was the night’s best performance? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Clark’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” was nearly on the same level as the Mia Z version, which is still one of The Voice’s best this season.

    • Clark won that round, but just by a little, because it was so nice that Nick finally went out of his comfort zone and didn’t just do guitar/front-man, he played the piano and his voice just sounded really good. Nick definitely won the first round, and was suited so much better for the original song in the third round. I think Clark sounded better than he has the past couple weeks, but Nick really delivered tonight and has stepped it up for over a month. He should win.

      • kalyn says:

        Nick did what now? Clark was the clear winner. Scott clearly sabotaged Clark by giving him a coronation song not suited to him and giving Nick one that suited him. Plus they let Nick go last, but will all this manipulation help one note Nick?

        • Emma says:

          I kinda really want Clark to win for the sole reason that Scott Bruschetta does not want Clark to win. Is that wrong? LOL.

          • Alan Dvorkis says:

            It is exactly how I addressed my comment. I also added that Nick could NEVER sing either Georgia or Aint No Sunshine as well as Clark. He is not as talented as Clark but the powers that be gave him the far superior winners song, which Harry noted. That and the subtle manipulation for Nick and against Clark, may get the inferior singer the win. That would be extremely sad.

          • Tyler says:

            @ Alan Dvorkis: I couldn’t have said it better myself. The only thing I would add is that I felt both coronation song performances were drowned out by the loud band. Couldn’t Clark had just sung his song stripped down to just a guitar or piano? Probably not because why mess with manipulation–right?! It’s too bad because I think that would’ve made his performance better.

          • karyn says:

            I had the same reaction and honestly thought about voting for Clark just to spite SB. But in the end, I was turned off by being able to see Clark trying to “feel it” (or make us think he was) and get “intense” from the very beginning just like Harry told him to last week. So, I think Nick clearly won the night, though they both did well. Clark was much more like the Clark I remember from a few weeks ago when he seemed unstoppable, so even though I didn’t vote for him I wish him well and think he will certainly get plenty of opportunities post-Idol.

          • No matter who wins, I will find this season so distasteful because of Scott Brushetta. Maybe he is a kingpin in the music industry, but most of us have never heard of him and found his comments to be inane and stupid.

          • Alienate says:

            Yes! ScottyB hated the thought of Clark winning and Sabotaged him with a piece of crap song. He knows Nick is a limited talent guy that will make shallow tweenies buy shallow music and make mucho $$$ with him.

          • No its not wrong. Because I do to. Want Clark to win. The are pimping Nick so hard it makes me feel sorry for Clark!

          • Lizzie says:

            I’m with you on that.

          • Jayne Bsughmsn says:

            I believe it was rigged for Nick to win. This was blatently obvious.
            I will not be watching next season, and I have watched every year since it was introduced.
            They must think we’re stupid.

          • Jeremy says:

            This idea it is rigged and manipulative is so damn ridiculous! It’s a damn singing competition with judges speaking their minds and the public voting, there is no conspiracy here.

          • Jayne Bsughmsn says:

            Last night was as bad as politics.
            Dishonesty, manipulation. Surely it was obvious to others.
            The Cornation song was a rip off for Clark andisgusting song designed for Clark to loose.
            Nick would have not been able to sing it.

          • Karen says:

            I know exactly where you are coming from!!! I will always love Clark’s voice. Can’t wait to buy he’s CD’s

        • Mary says:

          How can you say that Nick is one note when Clark does the same thing with his song every week. If Clark is such a musician as he claims, then he could have arrange the song to suit him. Clark will probably win due to the fact that he is from the South and the demographics of this show proves that they like the oldies but goodies music. but Clark had many off notes during the last several weeks and if people listen with their ears then they would, also his screaming is not a glory note – does not have to do it on every song. Clark would do great in a club behind a piano.

          • jessica dorbat says:

            Because what Clark does is outstanding every time he does it… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

          • It just felt like Clark was straining on his first two songs, while Nick was navigating his songs much more assuredly. My greatest joy was the elimination of Jax, an inconsistent singer with only moderate talents. She certainly got votes but it seemed to me that those votes were more for her quirky style of dress than any vocal prowess.

    • karenb says:

      C’mon Slezak! Sunshine was an A freaking +!

      • Bart says:

        There’s nothing more satisfying than proving Slezak wrong. The public wants Clark to win and Slezak can’t accept that since his fight with Scott.

        • Tyler says:

          Slezak could never accept it. He gave Clark A-‘s for stellar performances like It’s A Man Man’s World, Sunday Morning, and Every Breath You Take. IMO all of them deserved either an A or A+. I have no idea what Slezak has against Clark because he never LIKED him from the very beginning.

          • Mary says:

            Key word is IMO – you have yours and Michael has his. Don’t know if the public wants him to win, but the Southerns sure do. I find it amazing how nobody can see that Clark has hit many of off notes and that glory note is truly a scream. I really don’t care who wins at this point, but I will say Nick at least tries to put energy in his song, and truth be told he actually has not had to many misses in his vocals.

          • Tyler says:

            Maybe Nick hasn’t had many misses in his vocals because his songs are limited in range unlike Clark’s. And as far as I’m concerned–Slezak’s “opinions” are inconsistent. He marks Clark’s grades down due to pitchy notes but gave Quentin A’s for pitchiness left and right.

        • Owen says:

          Mary. That is the true distinction between the two. Nick “tries”. I have ALWAYS gotten a sense of entitlement from Clark. That he had this in the bag from the beginning. I”m sure that’s the reason he and Borchetta were at odds. Clark felt he didn’t need his mentoring. I don’t know if this is former jock swagger, blind Christian faith, or complete douchey sell-centeredness. But if Nick has the more throw-awayable pop voice, he also has the real soul.

          • Susan Curry says:

            I disagree. Clark is clearly an introvert. I don’t think he is entitled. Nick is a cover singer. A likeable competent handsome cover singer. Not a single note strayed from even one original.

          • Lizzie says:

            Never gotten a sense of entitlement from Clark – although there were others, including Jax who always were so sure they were the real deal. Clark seems like a good guy, unpretentious, humble. Nick is a dime-a-dozen kind of singer, and Jax isn’t much of a singer at all – she sure isn’t the rocker she imagines herself to be – those performances were just the worst, as was that odd affected sound she produced in the early rounds. Joey did the similar kind of affected tone that was irritating early on, but she is clearly a better overall singer. Clark seems to know who he is, Nick seems like some kind of sneaky guy who laid low in order to not get dumped, and somehow here he is in the finale. The show doesn’t always get it’s way, hence the elimination of Jax. I missed it because I was watching The Voice, but I’m going to go watch it now from the DVR recording just so I can see her get sent home. Slezak, you were kind of nuts this season about who should stay and who should go.

          • SLS says:

            “Clark seems like a good guy, unpretentious, humble” Those are the same words that I’d use to describe Nick. Nick “seems” like a sneaky guy – really? It’s funny because I think, from watching a lot of the interviews with the contestants” that Nick is one of the most likeable contestants on the show this season. Clark seems to be the one that is on the outside. I find Clark socially awkward. I think Nick’s personality (which I think is, like I said, very likeable) is one of the reasons why the mentor’s and judges liked him so much.

          • Francine says:

            Owen, I could not have said it better. Clark as you stated has an attitude of entitlement.

        • thesideye says:

          The public? Nicks’ coronation song is outselling Clarks’s on iTunes, and every poll ive seen online seems to favor Nick……I get that YOU prefer Clark, but try to keep in mind that music/talent is subjective.

      • Caroline says:

        No it wasn’t. It started off beautifully. But he lost me when he started screaming. Which he does at the end of pretty much every song he does. It’s annoying as hell because he doesn’t even scream on pitch.

    • Andrea says:

      Kris Allen’s “Aint No Sunshine” >>> Clark’s. Artistry >>> screaming.

    • Lizzie says:

      There is no reason to insult Clark by comparing him to that horrific Mia Z, although I do believe that was her only performance without the dolphin squeals.

  2. Christian says:

    You know what. I’m proud of Jax for making it this far. I would’ve loved to see her win, but I am so happy for her nevertheless. Scott Borchetta better sign her.

    • Cherry says:

      She certainly didn’t deserve to win (or the finale for that matter) based on her performances. She had numerous awful ones, including her last one. That is what cost her.

      • I really wouldn’t have minded a 3-person finale. I mean with all the twitter saves and no results shows and weird eliminations, it would have been interesting to see the 3 of them battle out, given we didn’t see it last week because Rayvon didn’t get eliminated til the very end. I am not saying Jax would have won, but since we don’t know how everyone has been doing all season long it would have been interesting to see Jax’s final songs, and how all of them would fare. But with them having a 2-person finale for the previous 13 seasons I guess that would have been too much to change. Either way she had a great run. Not consistent all the time, but still an interesting, fun performer to watch.

      • Smokey says:

        If Jax has great appeal, she will get signed, whether it’s Borchetta or one of many other Labels. But even getting signed may not mean much, unless a Label is willing to invest plenty of money into production and appearances for a main ticket artist. ……………..
        and, the aspiring artist can’t get side-tracked into personal drama that keeps them out of scheduled appearances, etc. , or they get dropped fast.

      • Ken says:

        Obviously that is a matter of opinion. Jax is the only one out of all of them that I would by there music.

    • Mary says:

      To be honest I didn’t care for Jax and I knew she would be the one to go this week due to the demographics of this show. After saying that I cannot believe how they did the elimination of the contestants this week. That is not good TV at all. Either have everyone sing and then do the elimination of have a half hour show before the finals and do it. I felt so bad for her.

      • karyn says:

        I agree. I also am not a fan of hers and thought she should be / would be the one to go, but this was just awkward and cruel. Plus it is weird that we went from 4 competing to 2 competing.

        • Sissy says:

          I agree. I didn’t know what happened – all of a sudden she was just gone! I thought I had missed something. Why was she just suddenly directed off the stage? Why were they behind a curtain? Most awkward and strange elimination ever!

    • Caroline says:

      He will. He’s been pimping her hard all season. I think she’s the only one he will sign other than which of the Top 2 guys he is contractually obligated to take. I don’t think he will sign the runner up

  3. mamamitzvah says:

    bs’d I love you, Michael, but I can’t stand Nick. I would have voted for Jax for sure, but ~~~~~~~~~

    • Timmah says:

      Nick is awful. But it doesn’t matter anyway because Clark has had this sewn up from the beginning.

      • Lizzie says:

        Nick isn’t awful, and he has improved over the past few weeks. He’s just kind of bland, now that the king of bland, Rayvon, is gone.

  4. Ethan says:

    I would bet money that Nick is going to win, because of all the pimping that they gave him tonight, although Clark is the better singer. Having said that, Nick would probably make more money for them in the end if he won. Whatever happens tomorrow doesn’t really matter to me, they both seem like genuinely nice guys with great voices.

    • Yes and they did that last year(pimping) with Jena and it backfired, so you never know. It might be a big surprise! It will be interesting! Also I noticed performance show is 1 hour. Other years BOTH the finale nights used to be 2 hours long and they had great guest performers and everyone sang with a guest. This sucks! I havent even watched yet because im west coast. It starts at 9 and its 7:56 right now, but I have read what Michael wrote and it sounds like a boring final sing-off night with the top 2. What happened to the idol journey they used to show when a contestant has to go home. The film clip of their journey and instead they are rushed off the stage?

      • They also pimped Jax all season long and that didnt work out! Now we all have to figure out is where jax’s votes will go and there you have it! Because the two guys are both soft rock, her votes just might split between them! or her voters just wont vote for anyone?

        • River City says:

          I think Clark will get more of the Jax Pack votes than Nick. Clark’s performances are also a little off the beaten path, as was Jax and her way of doing songs.. And that will give Clark the win.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            yep. This.

          • River City, Quentin was my fav but if I had to pick a winner between these 2 I would have to say Clark. Nick bugs me and Im not sure why.

          • Benjamin says:

            I’m agree. Nick seems like a nice guy with a “fine” voice but he play safe and average almost the entire season… so for me he doesn’t deserve to win. I’m not appealed for Clark but i can’t deny his talent and consistency from the begining, and that’s always better than a flat wgwg winner.

      • MAB says:

        Check it out the performance show before the final was always just one hour. The guest sing on the finale which is tomorrow night.

      • Jill Moy says:

        WELL BECCA, my streak of picking 1ST or 2ND for many, many years is over…INDIA’S gone on The Voice! Well, Nick my pick is at least second so I am the usual winner on my streak, with AI results! That’s what I get for only seeing India when I picked her! Well, at least I announce I only came in 5th! New streak now…LOL!


        • Emily says:

          The moose snorts, stamps, and takes a small poo by the river.

          The other animals look askance at the poo, and skirt around it as they go about their day.

          • guesty says:

            TVLine post of the year.

          • Lol, Emily. So true.
            My 2 cents:
            Jill Moy remains the undisputed lowest troll on this board, per usual.
            Guess we are in for another WGWG victor in 2015.
            Serious question; Do people think that JLo will still receive a 17 million dollar salary next season.

          • Jill Moy says:



        • Jill but you actually did very good on your pick with India when you didnt even see the others performances! It was very close!

        • jILL i USED THE WORD humbleness in a comment and somebody tried to make a big deal and tell me IT ISNT A REAL WORD. LOL So I looked it up and it is a real word! What in the he** is wrong with people on here? LOL Ouch I hit someone with the WIRE HANGER! LOL LOL LOL LOL

          • Jill Moy says:


            I will come in 2nd in AI as Clark will win…100% sure! The same way I told everyone Lee would beat Bowersox that season. Everybody I knew said I was cuckoo! I have my own reasons and it isn’t about who’s better, it never is! I picked Nick and I’d like him to win, of course! BUT, you’ll see, CLARK WILL WIN….AGAIN 100% SURE!

            I’m disappointed that my ancient streak of winning or runnerup was snapped with THE VOICE, which as you know I wasn’t even going to watch! That’s life, it couldn’t last forever!

            JAX A$$ GONE…THANK GOD!

            As for The Voice, Sawyer is winning for sure….end of story!

        • Mike says:

          go F*CCCK yourself, cause no one will ever F*CCCK you :)

        • CaliGirl says:

          Thanks SO much for the Voice spoiler. Jeez

        • Tommyo2000 says:

          Now now Jill, you are coming off as the unhinged one with that rant …

    • Gailer says:

      I bet Nick is going to win because Ben Haenow won XFactor UK, and they’re alike.

    • Smokey says:

      Although I like and enjoy Nick’s work on the show——————If Borchetta is going to make Nick a Star , if Nick wins, he better be ready spend a dollar for every 60 cents he gets back. The last 2 years of winners are a good example of how quickly the faithful voters forget about their favorite and forget to buy their music after the show is over.

    • River City says:

      Nick is a nice guy I guess, but he is very unlikely to have a big appeal to music buyers. I discuss Idol with a group of people that watch, and no one is waiting for his first album, if it comes………….. I doubt that we will hear much about Nick in a couple years win or not.

    • Jeremy says:

      Not every good singer needs to go in an all out wailing frenzy. Think of how many great bands have singers that don’t go all ballistic every song. I understand the draw of it, but Nick is great for other reasons. Not every girls has to do Aretha Franklin runs and not every guy has to be Ray Charles. Think of great rock songs. The singer sings them properly and then done.

    • karenb says:

      @Ethan-they do seem to be nice guys. I find it funny tho-I don’t see any camaraderie between Nick and Clark. I know men are competitive but I think something else is going on. Too bad they can’t be more like Kris and Adam.

      • Nan says:

        Clark seems emotionally stunted. The lights are on, nobody’s home. He never seems to connect emotionally to the lyrics of any song, and he seems equally distant with people. Nick, on the other hand, seems like an open book.

        • karenb says:

          Yeah but I’ve seen Nick give Clark the side eye at least twice. So I don’t think it should all be on Clark. When Clark got tweets last night addressed to he and and Nick, he responded to both the tweeter (?!) and Nick. Nick on the other hand just responded to the tweeter. Not sure if that is a word/term haha

          • Nan says:

            I’m not sure if you misunderstand me or vice versa. To be clear, I meant that IMO Clark seems insulated and “apart” from the meaning of the music and what’s going on around him. Almost Amish. Nick on the other hand seems street smart, aware and in the moment. So for me, Nick is “cool”, Clark is not.

          • karenb says:

            Nan-I’m talking about the lack of comraderie between Nick and Clark. That’s all.

    • thesideye says:

      I think the big difference is that Nick seems willing to play along with what the label wants from him, Clark not so much. As a fan of the show, it would be nice to see another winner gain mainstream success…and I cant see how Clark will do that, considering he’s already butting heads with Scott.

  5. fmichaels says:

    I knew it would come down to Nick and Clark, both had great performances tonight. I’m hoping Nick takes it

  6. khs says:

    Personal preference is Clark. For the show’s sake, I’ll pick Nick. Clark is like a Joshua Ledet–incredible singer but how do you market that? Hoping Nick can find some Daughtry-like success.

  7. Tahoe Mike says:

    I’m on the west coast. I streamed it online, at least for two minutes. That sucked. So much for my conflict with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    See you all next season.

  8. LK says:

    two bland guys again…. that why this show is getting cancelled.

  9. LeslieAnne says:

    Highlight of the night: Jax’s face when she found out she didn’t make the finale! I’ve been patiently waiting to see that for the past month. You could tell it was a genuine shock to her and she thought she had it in the bag because they’ve been kissing her ass for subpar work all season long. Thank you America for finally seeing the light!

    • Your kids are going to grow up to be standout citizens.

    • Cookie says:

      Yep every AI site has a Jax/Nick finale, so i guess she read them too…tomorrow is Clark time for pick up..the bus is coming

    • Cookie says:

      Yep every AI site has a Jax/Nick finale, so i guess she read them too…tomorrow is Clark time for pick up..the bus is coming clark…

    • Gailer says:

      Once again this new format was awkward.

    • Katie Killjoy says:

      Dunno how anyone can find enjoyment in the way she was eliminated.
      I’m snarky, but that was just awful.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I agree. Man, do I miss those emotional “good bye, my butt got kicked off” performances-. Alison Iraheta’s “Cry Baby” and Haley Reinhart’s “Bennie and the Jets” are my favorites.

      • Douglas says:

        How was that any worse than what they’ve been doing all season long? Some of them didn’t even get exit packages. It was just like “Thanks for playin’! See ya!” and they were ushered off the stage.

        • Katie Killjoy says:

          Yeah, she got a goodbye video…such a consolation.
          Let’s ignore the deafening silence that overcame the room as they called her name. The entire awkwardness of her trying to maintain her composure.
          The complete and utter disregard of her existence only seconds later as she was hushed away.
          Add onto that, she prepared 3 songs tonight and didn’t get to sing even one. She spent a whole week working on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g for the finale and all it amount to was her being ushered off the stage.
          That was the worst elimination all season.

          • Arial says:

            Stop behaving like she is some victim. They have licked her behind all season long even when she didn’t deserve it. “Beat It” comes to mind and during it and several other awful performances they refused to even comment on her vocals cause they were THAT bad. The show gave her exposure, treated her like she was a princess and laid out the red carpet for her the entire time while they threw numerous others under the bus or judged them far more harshly just to push HER along.

          • Katie Killjoy says:

            As someone who didn’t enjoy her for a single minute. Grow up.
            You sound as though she deserves this simply because she was pimped. Why you sound even remotely okay with ANY of these eliminations is beyond me. These eliminations have been just rude and poorly planned from start to finish.
            This one? This one had the worst affect and I would feel this strongly for anyone regardless of being pimped or not.

          • Yolanda says:

            While I have referred to Jax as “Sanjaya in a Skirt” all season long and was pleased to see her finally get the axe for her consistently terrible performances, I agree how they did her elimination was somewhat cruel.

          • Katie KIlljoy, Yes that was a terrible elimination. This show is rude. But at least she got to go and not stay and be humiliated like poor Clark. Can you imagine how it must feel when the judges are just pimping and pimping Nick, and then even Keith said Nick was probably the winner? Imagine how Clark feels! How Awkward. I would rather be in Jax’s shoes and just leave. I just really feel bad for Clark. He seems very sweet and Humble! By the way neither of these guys were my favorite, but I still feel sorry for Clark. Also, Clark isnt dumb and prob knows Borchetta would rather have Nick to win! So I hope Clark wins!

        • Sid Neeto says:

          I heard next season they’re introducing a trap door.

    • Preach says:

      YES!!!!! HAHAHAHA

  10. Stevehasanopinion says:

    Nick has been my fave since Joey left. I think Clark should have been gone after Qassim.

    • Cherry says:

      In my opinion Jax should have left after Qaasim. The finale should have been Clark vs. Quentin or Sarina and with Joey rounding out the Top 4 (possibly higher if she had more performances like Fancy and Mad World).

  11. Cookie says:

    Sadly clark never connected his dead eyes with his wonderful voice, for consistency nick is the winner and also a wgwg..i love clark voice but he never played the AI game, the bus is coming for him tomorrow…

  12. Cherry says:

    Wow, Clark’s performances are so under-scored it is ridiculous. Your bias is showing and I think you are personally taking it out on him that Jax was cut!

    • khs says:

      Agreed on the first two scores…we need a Melinda Doolittle Veto over here!

    • Marianne says:


    • Karyn says:

      I agree that MS underscored Georgia but not the others. They both had a good night and I was happy for them both. But I could see Clark’s brain clicking away and him trying to show angst. Did anyone else notice he kept his eyes closed almost the whole time. I think he’s reading these blogs and figures closed eyes are better than dead eyes. In the end, Nick pulled ahead with that great song. And I was thinking the same as MS. This one may just accomplish what Home did for P2.

      • Cherry says:

        I don’t agree at all. Has ANYONE actually looked at Nick’s eyes / face when he sings? There is not one ounce of emotion there either! He makes the same wide-mouthed grimace every single song and his eyes are widened but NOT expressing any kind of palpable emotion. This is a complete double standard people are using to denigrate Clark and they are just running around parroting it because the judges said it. They said the same to Jessica Meuse all of last season cause they didn’t want her to win. And so what if Clark seems to feel more with his eyes closed?! At least you get the sense he IS feeling it, unlike Nick. I am sick of hearing this nonsense it to be honest!

        • safado says:

          When I think Nick, i think teeth. Still.

        • Jeremy says:

          Are you serious? Nick is all emotion! He commands the stage and sings directly to you! You are thinking every singer has to do an all out spastic frenzy. Think rock music. Clark goes nuts with these runs but that is not rock music. Nick sings properly to the heart. Listen to the subtle notes in his voice. The dude is singing form his heart to you. Clark sings to himself for himself. Nick will win!

      • Margarethe says:

        @Karyn, agree 100% about Clark – I could almost see the gears clicking in his head. “Are my eyes dead? Better close ’em and grimace – there’s emoting for ya! Wait, my eyes are open and dead again, my face might be blank – time to grimace again.”

  13. Angel says:

    I saw this coming from the minute the top 12 was announced,.

  14. Jessamine says:

    Clark’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” just made me yearn for Kris Allen. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Nick for the win!

  15. jj says:

    I hope you are wrong about nick’s song Hanging around for 18 months. I thought it was dreadful. I don’t want to hear it on the radio

  16. Florence+TheMachineRules!!! says:

    In my mind, Nick came out fighting tonight!!! He was my favorite in the last 2 rounds while clark slayed with GOMM. To be honest, I did not like how they handled Jax’s elimination. I would have rather liked if all 3 sang their songs, then at the end of the episode, reveal the result. Otherwise, this finale was pretty good.

    • PL says:

      Because Keith said he thought Nick was the winner, I’ll bet that comment will get the Clark voters voting!

      • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! says:

        Who knows, I thougt jena from last season would win, but I was way off. Like I said, idol can really surprise you.

        • Mary says:

          I will only be surprise if Nick wins. Clark fits the winner to a tee. Nice SOUTHERN boy who sings those old songs. Good looking to some – never saw the appeal. Being bussed must vote him to the win. After show over – where are these voters supporting him.

  17. Sara.Marie says:

    I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority when I say that I’m happy Jax didn’t make the finale. I just wasn’t a fan of her voice and I don’t think her “rocker chick” performances were genuine; it was like a little girl playing dress up in her mother clothes. I never had strong feelings against a Nick/Clark finale and I’d be happy with either of them winning.

    • Darryl says:

      Don’t worry, there are many of us here who think she overstayed her welcome by weeks if not a month+ Personally I think she is the worst female to ever make the Top 3 in the entire history of the show.

    • Jeremy says:

      I thought Jax was the perfect Disney Tween Sitcom star kind of girl. I could totally see her being the big money maker for 9-15 year old girls. Like kids would buy clothes to look like her or something.

      • Nan says:

        She’s already past the age to appeal to the tween fandom. At 19, she’s no candidate to be the next Miley.

  18. Marianne says:

    Clark’s “Georgia” was solid ‘A’. Song 2 score should be Clark-B, Nick-C….that low-register was rough.

    I would not buy Nick’s music. I might possibly buy Clark’s. (I also would not have bought Jax’s)

    • jj says:

      Same here. I would not buy Nick’s music but might possibly buy Clark’s

    • River City says:

      Yes, there are certain “pockets” of the Blues/Jazz/Soul genres where Clark can very definitely sell records/downloads. It’s a set of genres where you don’t have to be a mainstream artist or be current Pop , Rocker , etc. It’s a world of it’s own and you don’t have to be 16 or 18 to catch the interest of those music buyers.

  19. Ann says:

    I was so sad to see Jax go. Either Clark or Nick should have gone home. Jax deserved to be in the finale. I don’t really care who even wins now. Clark was my early favorite, but he’s fallen the past several weeks and I can’t root for Nick because he’s so bland and just sings the songs and took no risks. His voice isn’t even that great or any different than the hundreds of frontmen of garage rock bands. He’s a really good karaoke singer.

  20. Patty says:

    Nick has a nice smile, that’s it. Nothing, NOTHING special about Nick. NO way he could outdo P2 ” Home”. He would fade very quickly, just like Caleb. Jax would/ will do better.

  21. Kirk says:

    I feel like I just entered The Twilight Zone with these grades considering Clark knocked it out of the park with his first two performances. The original songs were both uneven but that is always the case with the coronation songs we – and they – are unfamiliar with.

    • MC says:

      I thought Clark did his best work in weeks on the first two songs. I don’t agree with the grades.

      • Christine says:

        I think so, too. But his last song was pretty awful. The actual song itself was awful, and he just didn’t do anything with it.

        • AB says:

          I just got the feeling that Clark really disliked his “coronation” song. It really was awful, wasn’t it?

          • karenb says:

            Yes but I think it was a (small) step up from S8’s “No Boundaries.”

          • guest says:

            I dislike his coronation song, there’s no way that Clark likes it. Borchetta is such a jerk, saddling Clark with a crappy song.

  22. Amy says:

    Wow, Michael…a solid A and some well-earned props for Nick….Fiiiinalllly. I’ll take it! Yes, he’s a hometown guy (I might have mentioned this a time or two or ten here this year…sue me, I’m excited…lol. Honestly didn’t start out thinking he’d get this far!)
    My favorite line (maybe ever) of yours..”..who carpe diem’d the bejeezus out of the hour”…I’d been searching for words on Twitter to say that somehow…Nick was IN. THE. MOMENT. 110% thonight, taking it all in, and it showed. He’s amazed me all this season, in how he’s been upbeat and positive, grateful, without one bad step. And honestly, though I want to say he’s a great competitor, who knows how to play this game right, and I think he is…but he has seemed genuine. As Keith noted, he does seem like a guy with heart. And he’s definitely paid some musical dues to get here too…so all that…AND *cough* he’s a hometown guy…. :) I wish him the best.

    • Amy says:

      Disclaimer to clarify above…”I started out not thinking he’d make it this far” not because of him so much (though I was worried he wasn’t showing enough depth and growth at first…then he DID peak at the right time and got stronger and stronger just when it counted.) But, because we had such flamboyant “artiste” types this year that I feared would overshadow the “working mans’s musician”, at first. I’m glad it all paid off for Nick…even to get this far. But hoping now he wins since he seems to want it, and is ready to go!

  23. Marilyn says:

    Thought Nick was actually the best tonight, the best of the season. Really peaked at the right time. People can not like him but he rarely hits a bum note . I think he’ll be up there with the David Cook, Phillip Phillips, Scotty, probably not the Kellys..

  24. Kim Moores says:

    Clark was better than Nick on the first two performances..
    Slezak, what are you on?

    • Erica says:

      He jumped on Clark the second he had his first bad week about three week ago and has been bashing him ever since then; never giving him credit even when he deserves it and outsings the others. I think Mr. Slezak saw Clark stumble a bit and then saw a door open up for Jax. Tonight that door slammed in both of their faces… as it should have!

      • Kim Moores says:

        ‘He jumped on Clark the second he had his first bad week’
        Oh my Lordt, the truth in this statement

    • khs says:

      Slezak came down with some Borchett-itis. Soon, the side burns will start to show.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I agree, Kim Moores.

  25. Kim Moores says:

    We all know Clark will win.
    Stop acting like these things change.
    Nick is boring as hell, Clark is boring as hell, but once again I don’t need Nick thrown in my face just for me to like him so I expect Clark to win.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      The only person boring around here is you Kim. You feel the need to go to multiple sites and repeat the same drivel about Nick over and over and over again, We get it, you think he is boring, I think Clark is boring but I don’t feel the need to post something about 9 million times a day. And guess what, you may think Nick is boring but he Slezak is exactly right, Nick won all three rounds tonight. All you had to do is feel the difference in the energy inside the theatre when Nick performed as opposed to Clark. So you’re wrong, things do change and Nick will win, and you’ll get the opportunity to post 9 million more times about that on Thursday.

      • Kim Moores says:

        funny, the only thing I got out of this is that you agree with slezak.
        We get it, you’re a Nick fan.
        I’m hardly (not even remotely) concerned with your concern with the ONE other site I make mention of how boring Nick is, but I’m glad I’m important enough for you to come at me about my words on Mj’s.
        Thankfully, I can be a lot ruder here rather than there…but I won’t.
        Nick was most certainly not better his first two performances but if you wish to think that…it’s okay.
        We’ll just sit back and watch Nick lose anyways.

  26. Kim Moores says:

    Also, what an utterly disrespectful elimination for Jax.

  27. I’ve grown tired of the current singing reality competition voters.

  28. Daniel Puselj says:

    As much as I wanted Clark to win American Idol, his coronation song was just not on par with that of Nick’s. I haven’t liked Nick all season but his final performance and that song is just brilliant.

    • Davey says:

      So Clark should lose because they gave him the inferior song. He didn’t choose it. The producers want Nick to win but America may think otherwise.

    • karenb says:

      I’m sure that it was planned that way. Along with him getting the pimp spot.

  29. Ginger Snap says:

    It’s about the old guy. I’m just tired of underipe teenagers clogging up Idol.

    Nick FTW!

  30. Terry says:

    My vote has and will always be for Clark! Michael, Nick has dead eyes too. Never once felt anything from any performance he gave. Never once wowed me.

  31. Annetm says:

    I can’t say who is going to win because the minute they told Jax she was going home I turned it off

  32. Pk says:

    Agree. Nick won.

  33. rlwebbjr says:

    You’ve been wrong the last two weeks about Clark, and I’m hoping you’re wrong again! Nick just sounds too familiar – Daughtry, Plain White Tees, etc. His voice gets lost among so many. Clark’s voice is amazing and distinctive.

  34. Troy says:

    Couple complaints. First off, how you think Nick took all three rounds completely baffles me. Second, Clark’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” was way better than a B-. I mean come on. If you’re gonna compare his version to Kris Allen’s, then you have to compare Nick’s “I Won’t Give Up” to George Lovett’s from last season. And he paled in comparison. C+ at best. Third, can we talk about how Clark’s last song didn’t fit who he is as an artist AT ALL? I mean seriously. The sabotage was so obvious.

    • Terry says:

      I felt that too! Nick’s fit him better but that doesn’t surprise me! They did that with Scotty and Lauren. They pimped Lauren to win, gave her the better song, but Scotty pulled out the win!

    • khs says:


    • Davey says:

      They should both sing the same song. I remember when they gave Jessica Sanchez an awful song and Phillip Phillips a catchy tune that became a huge hit. They want Nick to win.

    • Some Dude says:

      Yes! Sabotage. Exactly! I’m so glad somebody else said it. It’s this sort of behavior that has really soured me on the show, this season in particular. Stop trying to manipulate us. Even though I don’t really have a horse in this game, I almost want to vote for Clark just to spite the Idol PTB.

  35. JL says:

    Oh god why? Thank god this show is canceled if this is what it comes to.

  36. Some Dude says:

    Wow, it really seemed like Scott Borchetta was kind of done with Clark Beckham by this point. Judging by the video package they showed (and what they have shown over the past few weeks), it seems pretty obvious who Scott wants to win.

    But honestly, the final round was just a nail in the coffin for Clark–his single track was just weak. Not a great song on its own, but made worse by the fact he seemed to have no connection with it and it just wasn’t remotely in his wheelhouse. Horrible pick for him.

    This season of Idol has been kind of disastrous on a number of levels. The format has honestly been totally wacky from my perspective. It’s almost like they were making stuff up as they went along. And then the way they manipulated the hell out of the final five or so…? Kind of makes me not sad at all that Season 15 will be the last.

  37. MAB says:

    I am so upset in how they handled Jax’s elimination. It was heart wrenching. I don’t care who wins it is a toss up. If Clark wins, will there be trouble with Scott. If Nick wins will he be able to have his band perform with him? I seem to remember when Phillip won he wanted his brother-in-law to play guitar with him and it was a no go. The only one who would have had no issues winning was Jax.. She fit the mold perfectly. I think she will still get signed and she may wind up more successful than the guys.

    • Gailer says:

      I can’t see these guys doing anything. Jax could if she drops the affected part of her act

    • River City says:

      If Jax stays fully focused on career , she will be more likely to be noticed in the biz 3 years from now, than any of the other top 12 except possibly the winner. Anyone with a 5 year calender should make a note to google their names in summer 2018 and see who’s doing something above and their local venues.

    • Jill Moy says:



  38. Lindsey says:

    Wow. The bias here is pretty thick. Clark is my favorite, but I hope he doesn’t win because his coronation single isn’t suited to him at all, and I don’t think that’s the kind of music he wants to make.

    • wendy says:

      Absolutely. I’d hate to see him forced into stuff that doesn’t suit him. He’d hate that. But I’m torn because winning is just a lot more fun than losing!

  39. Terry says:

    Should mentors have a financial stake in the competition? To me, I feel that bias weighs too much into their mentoring. I would rather see a mentor strictly mentoring!

  40. Donna says:

    I was really surprised that Jax had the least amount of votes. I did like Nick’s last song and he will, most likely, win, but the reason that I like Clark is because he is more versatile. Many times the winner of American Idol has not done as well as the runner up or someone who was voted off when they were ranked sixth or seventh. An excellent example of that is, Jennifer Hudson, who is now a megastar. Caleb Johnson, who won last year, has not done very well. He had a concert in Atlanta this past weekend and only 50 people showed up for the concert. That’s really sad for him. One cannot have a very good musical career with that. Anyway, I wish Nick and Clark much success!!!

    • Lizzie says:

      Caleb Johnson sold less than 25,000 albums. The last winners to really sell were Phillip Phillips and Scotty McCreery.

  41. Claidale says:

    CHAMPION WAS CERTAINLY GREAT!!! God, that was the EMOTIONS YOU WERE LOOKING! And guess what!!! HE IS PREACHING IT!! THE MESSAGE WAS SO DAMN GOOD!!! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU GUYZZZ!! Many were emotional out there!! Look at the face of the people and the rest of the top 12!!!

    • Jessamine says:

      I disagree with this. When Clark was singing the camera panned to Qaasim, and he was not emoting at all. When Nick sang, Qaasim was dancing. I’m not a fan of either Clark or Nick, although I wish them both well, but Nick took the night.

      • Claidale says:

        You only looked at Qaasim but you didn’t notice TYANNA, and the others in awe!! You also didn’t took notice of somewiping their tears!! When NICK song is electric! CLARK’ INSPIRING!! WHICH he is GOOD AT!!! INSPIRING!!!

      • ara says:

        I wonder if Qaasim might have some beef with Clark. Everytime Clark sang and the camera panned to the other Idol contestants, he wasn’t feeling it but was going nuts with Nick singing. Opposite for Adanna. Weird.

  42. ABC says:

    I agree with HCJ that Nick won the first round and Clark won the second. I actually hated both “coronation” songs, so that round is a wash. It doesn’t really matter who wins, but I voted for Clark since he’s been my fav since top 24 week.

  43. jc says:

    None of these two guys are going to get a hit single so might as well not vote.

  44. Sue says:

    Nick was awesome!!! How he hugged Jax and said he loved her and not to worry shows how genuine a guy he is. Clark is a nice guy but Nick deserves the win!

  45. darcy's evil twin says:

    Well, I can’t believe I called this. Jax went home and we’re down to Clark and Nick. I still think Clark will win, Mr. Slezak. Sorry.
    I gave rounds one and two to Clark, but the final round went solidly to Nick.
    Even though I was never a fan of Jax’s I still felt badly for her. What in the name of Sam Hill was she wearing???????? I can see her being a current star, and although she’s not my personal favorite I understand why viewers like her (I DID like “My Generation”).
    Nick is the better performer right now but I see Clark growing, maturing, and finding his stride. And oh, those blue eyes. When they’re open, LOL.

    • Terry says:

      I felt Jax had some good performances. She did wow me occasionally. But I don’t enjoy her style. Too much fake emotion (hands through the hair or on her face ) I finally figured out why that bothered me so much- it reminds me of a porno. 😣

    • JudithQ8 says:

      I will miss gazing upon Clark’s plush, bee-stung lips and gorgeous pearly-white teeth. Sigh…

    • karenb says:

      I couldn’t believe Jax’s outfit either. It was not very flattering and very distracting.

    • Darcy I know what was she wearing? And how in the heck did they let her go on stage with that? It reminded me of some star wars Princess Lea Halloween Costume that comes in a cellophane package and comes out shiny and wrinkled! I would not have let her walk out on stage! It was horrendous and added to the nightmare of the whole elimination.

  46. Diz says:

    1 dimensional Clark made it to the finals and not Jax? No wonder they finally canned this show. They pushed Nick all night saying that’s what an Idol is supposed to do and look like. J’lo hunny quit making Clark feel uncomfortable, he was probably singing to his bf not his gf.

    • Olivia says:

      I thought Clark was actually really good out of the three

    • Olivia says:

      Hi my name is Olivia and ever since I was three I have wanted to be on American Idol!!!!! I found out recently that this will be the last year though so give it your best shot Nick and Clark!!!!!! Eventually one of you will win but know that everyone’s a winner🏆
      If this shows up on American Idol I will be laughing my head off!!!! PEACE OUT!!!!!✌🏻✌🏻✌🏻✌🏻✌🏻

  47. connerc says:

    Nick has a radio friendly sound. Maybe not the most original sound, but I could see him having hits. Clark has the better voice, but is not particularly current. Nick had the better coronation song and the better night. But, Clark is the one who had a few Idol moments during the year. Not sure Nick had a moment, but his best performances may have been tonight. Very tough. I figure whoever was in the lead going in will win regardless of the night. My guess is that would be Clark. Unless Jax voters take a side. I think they would side with Nick. So, very unpredictable. I’ll be happy either way.

  48. wendy says:

    Why do people think the viewers are so easily told what to do? Are you easily manipulated? I’m not. I’m capable of forming my own opinions and I think others are too. I’m for Clark. It’s not even close for me. Their comments don’t influence me. He’s the best voice & creative artist and the only one I’ve looked forward to. I can’t wait for more of his music.

    • Arial says:

      Not all of us are manipulated but a lot ARE easily influenced and the show knows this and runs on it and always has really. Repeat something long and loud enough and many start believing it. You can see exact comments repeated endlessly on here and other forums by fans who think it’s a fact cause a “judge” said it.

      • tealeaves says:

        The comments can have an effect. For instance, all the negative comments toward Clark the last couple weeks have indicated they don’t think he will be the easiest to promote post-show. It won’t make someone like Nick if they did not before. But it can make Clark fans less enthusiastic to see him win, and it can make Nick fans more enthusiastic that they are supporting the person the label wants to push. It can back-fire when they are really rude to a contestant who gives a great performance. But most of Clark’s best performances were earlier in the season while Nick has had his best performances in the past few weeks.

    • River City says:

      I agree, I don’t think the Judges comments or the giving grades on these sites that do that— have any real influence on what most people do in the voting. The 3 Judges are a detriment to the show IMO. ………………..

      They should have a starting top 48 , start open voting, no Judges, more contestant songs per show, no Judges rambling pointless garble, decent mentors, no Judges, and have a real talent show. ……………..

      Anyone in the past 5 years who has been a Judge on this show should be banned from the building, fined a million dollars and labeled with deflating a talent show.

    • Jeremy says:

      Yeah people think judges have a vast conspiracy to subliminally sway voters and by saying a few comments we all vote accordingly like robots. They think they purposefully destroy chances of some winning and throw them under the bus on purpose. Serious paranoia! Seriously stupid!

  49. Sid Neeto says:

    Nick is the only one with whom Scott’s company could possibly have a hit record.

  50. Mellie says:

    Ughhhh. So many amazing, interesting people this season, and in the end we were left with two of the most generic.