american idol finale

American Idol Performance Finale Recap: It's All Over But the Crying (Oh, Yeah, and Also the Voting)

Can someone go to Web MD and look up whether or not it’s possible to experience the five stages of grief simultaneously?

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Even acceptance. They’re all bearing down on me like the heel of J.Lo’s Louboutins as she dips it low midway through a “performance” of “Booty.” Don’t believe me? Read on!

1. Ryan Seacrest told us we’d witnessed the final American Idol performance finale ever, that we’re voting for the final time, but it just can’t be true. I mean, the show’s still pulling in a 1.7 demo rating — and that’s damn good!


3. Look, if the entire Idoloonie Nation promised to do some good — sign up to be bone marrow donors or spend the next 26 Saturdays volunteering at a soup kitchen — maybe Fox would reconsider this whole “Farewell Season” nonsense and give us Season 16 instead! God, are you listening?

4. Nooooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooooooo! [All the sad, weeping emojis here.]

5. But here comes my moment of acceptance: American Idol will conclude its joyous, infuriating, deeply emotional, fun-for-the-whole-family run on Thursday — and at the very least, this season’s two best vocalists* managed to survive ’til the bitter end, and then deliver a brutal, beautiful, back-to-back vocal punch worthy of filling the halls of The House That Kelly Clarkson Built. (*Though we’ll never be fully sure about how good Jessica Cabral might’ve been.)

To my ears, it was a slight edge to Trent in Round 1, an easy win for La’Porsha in Round 2, and a toss-up of aching, otherwordly perfection versus gut-busting transcendence in Round 3 — and that leads me to believe La’Porsha will and should win (though I won’t be at all upset if it’s Trent).

Is it a copout to say that it doesn’t really matter who wins the role of Kelly Clarkson’s Bookend? You know it really doesn’t. We got as good a finale as one could hope for given the abbreviated schedule and unprecedented rush-through dictated by Fox — with a minimum of SwayBots, J.Lo reaction shots and Harry Connick Jr. Musical Terminology Lessons (coming soon to paperback from Penguin Books).

So allow me to thank you for taking the “Idol journey” with me for the last 12 seasons of recaps, and get to my letter grades for the night’s performances:

“Winner’s Single” Round
Trent Harmon — “Falling” — Grade: B+ | Was this the least-coronationy Coronation Song in Idol history? Where were the magic rainbows to slide down, the endless obstacles to clear? Trent used his lower range to infuse the track with a gruff sexuality that is uncommon in the Idolverse, then brought it home with a big, booming final chorus — complete with falsetto – that (if I’m being nitpicky) slipped off pitch just slightly in the final 15 seconds.

Dalton Rapattoni — “Strike a Match” — Grade: C+ | Maybe Dalton was thrown by the sound of Scott Borchetta using the horrifying words “showtime go-time” in a chat with Ryan right before his performance began, but I seriously could not make out 75% of the words coming out of Dalton’s mumbly mouth. That simple fact (plus some spots where he was drown out by the band) made the Season 15 rock character’s performance the musical equivalent of trying to start a fire underwater. It ultimately never ignited.

La’Porsha Renae — “Battles” — Grade: B | Unlike “Falling,” La’Porsha’s single sounded like it came off the same corny assembly line as “I Believe,” “Inside Your Heaven” and “Flying Without Wings.” Granted, the last woman standing in Season 15 is so divine she’d sound good singing “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow” to Ann Coulter, but as she pushed this rock up the hill, it affected her intonation, making for a final 20-30 seconds where La’Porsha wound up uncharacteristically under the note.

Simon Fuller’s Choice
Trent Harmon — Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” — Grade: B- | On paper, this seemed like a genius choice for Trent: An achy, heartbreaky ballad to counterbalance the seductive mood of “Falling.” In practice, though, Trent got so committed to fancy embellishments and overwrought riffs (including a just-missing-the-mark falsetto run) that he never really brought to life the song’s glorious melody — or made a  genuine connection to the lyrics, either.

La’Porsha Renae — Dionne Warwick’s “A House Is Not a Home” — Grade: A+ | I will not quibble about Rickey Minor & Co’s dentist-office accompaniment (oh wait, I just did), and instead focus on the way La’Posha commanded every note of this woman-left-lonely classic with surgical precision. We all know the single mom from Mississippi has immense horsepower, but she turned “House” into a study in restraint — taking the bridge down to a fluttery whisper of longing, and making melodic choices on the final refrain that were as gorgeous as they were unexpected.

Contestant’s Choice
Trent Harmon — Sia’s “Chandelier” — Grade: A+ | I’ve spent the last 15 years railing against reprises of past performances during the Idol finale — side note No. 1: remember when David Cook refused to cave to the pressure and brilliantly tackled a new jam in Season 7? — and the idea seemed even less appealing in the context of this verrrrry short farewell season. Imagine my surprise, then, when Trent took us a mere two weeks back to his Sia Songbook pick and then impossibly managed to improve on perfection. (Side note No. 2: If Scott Borchetta doesn’t think La’Porsha should sing the line “I’m a cowboy,” why is he OK with Trent playing the role of “party girl”? Uh-huh, I went there!) Pushing his voice to the tippy top of its range and phrasing the blackout-drinking anthem in a way that every word shone like a pearl on a string, Trent delivered one of the most haunting vocals in show history. If he takes home the crown, Idol historians will look back and declare “Chandelier” his fatal blow.

La’Porsha Renae — Rihanna’s “Diamonds” — Grade: A+ | You wanted a performance finale to remember? Well, Idoloonie Nation, give yourself a pat on the back for having it come down to Trent Vs. La’Porsha. Perhaps inspired by the “Dayummm, son!” awesomeness of Trent’s final shot, La’Porsha countered by delivering a vocal that had more curves than a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue — without in any way compromising the singular beauty of the song’s message. The way she turned the “I” in “I’m alive” into a seven-syllable word; the way she glided along with wings outstretched, then hit the gas for a surge of power; that unimaginable drop leading into a falsetto note on “right away.” OK, OK… I’m not supposed to be writing a master’s thesis here, but it was clear long before Harry asked the question that La’Porsha had her tiny daughter on her mind when she breathed life into the lyrics. In the final competitive performance in American Idol history, La’Porsha shone bright like a diamond — and whether or not she gets the final confetti shower, that counts as a victory in and of itself.

Your turn. Who do you want to win American Idol‘s farewell season? What were your favorite performances from Part 1 of the finale? Vote in our polls below, then watch the most recent Reality Check and hit the comments with your thoughts!

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. K says:

    -sigh- I’m devastated that Idol is over, but even more so that Reality Check is over.

    • Brenda says:

      Wonderful show tonight. But I agree that I’ll miss Reality Check most of all! But won’t they keep it going while the Voice is still on?

      • Spitey Spice says:

        It doesn’t look like it since they called the latest episode penultimate. Very disappointed because The Voice talent is really good this season. Plus, this abbreviated version of Idol SUCKS.

      • Smokey says:

        We’re all voting for a continuation for The Voice reviews and commentary, starting next week —>>>???

        • Tyanna says:

          I am!

          • Stacie says:

            I am sad about the show ending, although I do believe it was time. The show still delivers great moments, and La’Porsha and Trent are 2 great artists that were discovered because of the show, but everything has to come to an end, as they say. I do a blog also called I’dol Be The Judge and that will be over. Reality Check is going to be over. I do hope that history proves itself tomorrow and La’Porsha wins. Out of the past 14 finales, 10 winners came from the person who sang second.. So if history means anything it will for her. But Trent did a great job too. But Thanks to Michael Slezak, and TVLine for this blog and all the great articles. It was much appreciated. Thank You

        • Yes, yes, yes, next week.

        • HTGR says:

          yes, absolutely!

    • Sue says:

      We get one more

    • Meme says:

      I have loved Reality Check. Thanks, Melinda and Michael!

  2. Zach says:

    Trent is my final american idol! His voice is supremely perfect! Loved his winner’s single, his pleading was so real in that song….and Chandelier is a vocal masterpiece….truly deserving of the prize. Plus, Scott probably has a perfect album set up for his voice.

    • Brenda says:

      Agreed. I didn’t notice Trent much at first, but in the last few weeks he has gotten all of my votes! Love him!

    • BeBe says:

      Scott Horseshhhhter would make him do a country album. Trent needs to be soul and R&B primarily. Dreamy voice.

      • Lizzie says:

        Agree that Trent’s wheelhouse is more soul and R&B, with a little bit of country just because he can. What a voice that guy has, I hear a Grammy winner. Intriguing that he was the recipient of a song that Keith helped write, hope that was a clear vote of confidence in him.

    • Nutt says:

      I agree. I liked his potential single and could really see it being played on thd radio. I think he showed the most advancement during the season. I love his voice and when Ryan brought out the book I got teary. He appears to be a genuine, nice, heartfelt man.

    • AddiM says:

      With a win or not, Trent will not sell any records…

    • Yea Zach, What you said.

    • sarah t says:

      Agreed, Trent has really stolen the show for me the last few weeks. He’s my pick to win.

    • Max says:

      Scott said in an interview he plans to turn Trent into a country artist. Ugh. His winners single (how is it a winners single if all 4 released singles?) was cowritten by Keith Urban

      • marie says:

        What an idiot Borchetta is. For heaven’s sake, from the first notes of Trent’s audition, didn’t the fool LISTEN to what Keith and JLo were reacting to with such joy, and that is, the very evident R&B soul in Trent’s singing? Keith even made a joke afterwards about “don’t you miss country music,” to show his delight in Trent at surprising him? All three judges were knocked out, as I was, right from the start. Stupid moron Borchetta. To give Keith credit, the song he co-wrote for Trent was not strictly a country song, so Keith is (still) aware of Trent’s natural musical leanings. Freaking Borchetta. I have nothing against country music per se (although I am not much of a fan), but does the imbecile understand NOTHING about a singer / musician’s natural strengths / talents / preferences? %#(@^&!)!!!!!

      • HTGR says:

        ugh. I liked him the least when he did country.
        Then again I don’t know his whole style is what I usually put on the car all that much anyway so maybe my vote shouldn’t count (but I feel you and will stand with your vote). I can’t deny his talent and had noticed and talked about him from day 1.
        So long as Tristan doesn’t go too country country, her, Olivia’s, Sonika’s, Dalton’s-type music, more pop/rock type stuff (or classical, not as in classic rock, but as in classical classical), is more what I’d have on (also Haley stuff even when it’s the stuff that is not regular pop or rock).

    • Rachel says:

      Definitely true that Scott is DYING to work with Trent, he has viewed him as TCO the whole time. Giving him that JT song last week basically sealed the deal, in my mind, that Scotty boy wants him to win.

      Anyone else going to be struggling with their inner will power on the WEST COAST not to check social media from 7:50pm until we get the results????????? THE STRUGGLE IS REALLL!

  3. Davey says:

    I don’t care who wins but I’m looking forward to the finale.

    • Smokey says:

      Ditto, don’t care who wins, don’t care who is supposed to be “marketable” or unmarketable —good luck to both,,,, and it’s a pretty good club to be in, to win Idol,,,, regardless of whether you’re in the limelight or just layin’ back and drinkin’ sangria wine with some pals.———— but should be a good 2 hour show tomorrow night.

  4. BeBe says:

    La’Porsha is great, no denying that. But Trent’s the one that moves me. Go, TRENT!

    • danin says:

      Same for me BeBe.

      • marie says:

        Make that three.
        But I’ll be happy either way. At least we got two worthy contenders: anyone but Dalton.

        • margi209 says:

          Just wanted to say I thought Dalton was a class act last night. He knew he wasn’t going on to the final, he waited for Trent’s name to be announced and then was the first to congratulate him. Plus he went out with a great smile, great attitude.

          • marie says:

            Can’t deny that, and I wouldn’t want to. He always did seem like a nice young man, at very least. I just think Trent and La’Porsha are far better singers.

          • Amy says:

            Totally agree re; Dalton. Class act all the way tonight, “great smile, great attitude.”
            I honestly don’t feel he has a good recording voice at this point…However, that said, I thoroughly enjoyed watching him, liked his unique sound and think he’s got a TON of quirky charisma and camera-friendly looks, that I’m hoping he can do something with off the Idol stage. Wishing him the best, and will be interested to see what he does from here.

          • HTGR says:

            @Amy – yeah Dalton’s music is actually closer to what I might put on in the car, but his vocals just are not there at all compared to Trent and LaPorsha (or others, in the end).

    • word girl says:

      Exactly. He’s way up on the ITunes chart. I think he can do this.

    • Gina watt says:

      Totally agree

    • Karyn says:

      I feel the same way. It is so nice to have a final 2 who are so neck and neck that I won’t feel mad/bad/cheated if the ‘wrong’ one gets it. My vote is for Trent but LaPorsha deserves it too. Now, if what’s his name had made it through (no snark there, nice guy but forgettable singer) I’d be screaming at his beating either of the other two.

  5. Logan says:

    Laporsha should win. That girl had me in tears all night. From her being in the top 2 to Diamonds. So amazing

    Trent is equally amazing, but I love Laporsha more. Trent was a fanstatic finale partner for Laporsha.

    I am mostly devastated that Reality Check is over. That makes my heart hurt. I loved watching Slezak and Melinda fight… :(

  6. Dana says:

    If La’Porsha doesn’t win, I’m going to be so disappointed.

  7. kcostell says:

    Forget tomorrow.

    America already won when they voted these two into the finale.

    • Brenda says:

      Yes, I’d have been really disappointed and disenchanted if Dalton had pushed one of the other 2 out.

    • girl_3 says:

      This. Both Trent and La’Porsha are talented and deserving. I think I may actually want a tie, but I will be happy with either one winning.

    • marie says:

      Absolutely right.

    • Puchinsmom says:

      YES! There is a God, and he, (or she?), is an Idol fan! Perfect two contestants for the finale. I haven’t enjoyed both finalists this much since the battle of the Davids! Won’t be disappointed no matter who wins.

      • Nelda Criswell says:

        OMG! Couldn’t agree with you more on the BEST two finale shows EVER! Absolutely loved the two David’s finale and tonight’s shows. Both are winners in my eyes!

    • janice says:

      kcostell that is VERY well said! I would actually be happy with a tie at this point because they are both so fabulous, but I’m not the competitive type. I just want to listen to them SANG. If anything, I’m sorrier than ever this season was so short. *breathes sigh of relief that Queen LaP made it to the finals.*

  8. danin says:

    I thought LaPo took round 1, my man took round 3

  9. Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

    This top 2 gives me LIFE!!! This finale is gonna be perfect! I am REALLY pulling a Laporsha Win, but won’t be mad if Trent wins as well. But MAN, laporsha SANG!!! 😍🙏👑😱🙌👏😌❤️

  10. marygrace says:

    I am feeling all those things too. Great show, great talent…cannot believe it is almost over. Have loved your coverage..thank you so much!

  11. Lisa Roberts says:

    La’Porsha for the win – by a hair – but I love them both – can’t they both get contracts? That used to happen :(. Michael – you were absolutely correct in your letter grades tonight – Melinda will be proud :). I am still in the denial stage because my grassy knoll thoughts today wandered to the possibility that Uncle Nigel is plotting a hostile takeover – so he will make the finale so fantastic that another network will pick up the show and give it another chance – oh – and he’ll get his old job back. Some food for thought…. :)

    • karenb says:

      Lisa, you may want to go read the article on the Hollywood Reporter. You may be on to something!

      • Lisa Roberts says:

        Just read it – thanks! I love when Nigel says it’s “his” baby – you can almost hear those wheels turning :). I also like his statement about bringing the focus back on the contestants – which is absolutely correct and needed to be done. I think people are going to take a second look at Idol when they see all the talent on tomorrow’s finale – no other singing show can boast their track record.

        • karenb says:

          I’m glad you found the article! I would love for Idol to come back in some form. Ryan has to be involved though! I would love to see more behind-the-scenes in the life of an Idol. Here’s hoping we all get to meet up here again sooner than later to Discuss the new Idol-Reboot!

          • Lisa Roberts says:

            Absolutely – Ryan is the underrated glue that holds it all together – let’s hope they finally give him an Emmy this year for it!

          • Mary says:

            I wouldn’t mind if they came back, but honestly I think they should wait a year or two. The new format has to be in sync with the times and yes by all means make it about the Contestants.

        • HTGR says:

          He is correct about that, it needs to be the simpler show when it was about the contestants. And, for the most part, the finale finale show was great. However, no way in heck do I ever trust him after the Haley trashing (and note the guy was too cowardly and shameless to give her a single prop this entire finale week that he became the producer for again; when he was gone, the new producer’s finally gave her credit, now that he was back she had about two seconds of unmentioned time, basically the only really top name to be a totally zilch for the entire final week) and he is wayyyy too much into the pure scripting and stick with it no matter what and even trash and bash and try to destroy what people think of any contestant who gets in the way thing. To a lesser degree he pulled it against Elise too. And to much lesser degrees he has pulled it against many. He was 100.000% unwilling to ever go off his initial script no matter how much a new more compelling story developed. At least the other producers would give stuff up when they had too.
          Nigel is NOT the one. Two things sunk Idol.
          One was when he took the scripting to an over the top and totally sick level in S10 where he literally tried to break down and get people to hate on their best contestant just because she was spoiling his script. That was the first Idol finale ever to not get the mega-ratings bump and the next fall was the first one to start off noticeably lower. And it sent away the last of somewhat more broad scale America voters left by that point (although that is a third thing htat didn;t help, it had already become a thing where once all of America wasn’t 100% obsessed with the show, it literally became impossible for anyone but WGWG to win and that created a feedback loop that made it ever more impossible). He didn’t back off on the next season enough with the scripts either and did more of the same, just not in quite such an evil and direct in your face fashion. Elise got some absurd scripts tossed against her.
          And the fact that he had the audacity to this week brag about how S10 brought a much kinder Idol for the first time, when they bashed Haley to bits, purposely trying to make her cry and drive her to lash out, just for a sick ratings ploy and to insure his script, to call THAT the kindest Idol season yet?? And then not mention her name once the entire final week. No on Nigel, no, no, no. Also he played crueler games with the reveals as to who goes and who stays. This year if someone had no chance they basically telegraphed it so they’d truly no for sure withotu making them suffer as much. Another sign of his spirit is that he failed to even bother to give an in memoriam to S7 finalist.
          And notice how in the ultimate busing seasons, the two who sent the entire fleet after, Haley and Elise, were just about the only top names to not get one single mention this final week now that Nigel was back in control for the week. Heck, even JLo had been back to singing Haley’s praises again when we were in an Nigel-less Idol earlier in the season.
          And two that yeah it ended up becoming too much about the judges and other stuff. The first season with Kelly Clarkson seems so innocent and contestant performance and singing focused in so many ways. Not with all the sob stories and producer manipulation. Not all about the judges (I mean it was in a way, but just not like it became). Having those huge current names on the panel I just don’t think is the way to go. So I will give him that he is correct about that. But LET SOMEONE ELSE CARRY THAT OFF! It’s a simple concept that hardly requires Nigel. Who took scripting to blatantly absurd levels. Ones that backfired and were destructive to the show and people on it. Notice also how The Voice became big when they promised to not ever destroy.
          After the new producer’s tried to make that right the last thing we need is Nigel back who couldn’t even toss a bone to her this final week (maybe she was away on performance, who knows how much lead he gave her though, but so what, for all he did, he sure couldl’ve tossed a little video of in her in or something and let Idol end on a fully bright note and put that to bed once and for all, but nope, when he wasn’t in control the show had done their part, but as soon as he came back, for the final week, nope).

  12. Trent says:

    I really really want Trent to win. Not only because we share the same now and that he follows me on Twitter. I can just see him doing so well in the industry. They’re both very special singers though and I wish them all the best of luck

  13. Court says:

    First time watching this season and Trent blew me away tonight! Voted through text and google.

  14. Roddie Santos says:

    For God sakes, the vocal monster and artist called La’Porsha Renae awoke tonight!!! Come on everybody vote for this woman, she really deserves to win this whole thing and be Kelly Clarkson’s bookend, who even declared that La’Porsha is the first contestant EVER that she will be voting for!!! Trent was tremendous also, but I really think that he should be the runner-up, but I won’t be upset if he wins too, both of ’em deserve it! But please everyone, vote for La’Porsha, you saw what was the VERY LAST performance of Idol, that’s the greatest reason you could have to crown this woman tomorrow!!!

  15. Lisa G says:

    When Ryan said, “Seacrest, Out” I had a real moment of “It really *is* over.” I’m glad that even those little things are getting a final showing. As he was walking around the audience I kept seeing familiar faces. I was a little surprised they didn’t mention that Keith was one of the songwriters on Trent’s winner single. On iTunes Trent’s single is above Dalton’s whose is above LaPorsha’s. I’m not surprised if only because her song isn’t that great (performance is different from song quality.) I still want Trent to win, but I admit LaPorsha won round 2. I thought it was poor form for them to ask who won round 2 without doing the same for rounds 1 or 2. Gee, who do they want to win? I thought that Dalton was gracious in defeat, and he sounds great on the iTunes version of his song. I hope all three do great things. Who do you think Keith and Harry are going to collaborate with tomorrow night?

  16. BAMMMMM says:

    I honestly DID NOT like any of the top 3 winner singles..Trent’s doesn’t sound as good live..& La’Porsha single is a perfect fit for a winner single, i just don’t care fr the song.

    Trent & La’Porsha did their thang in round 2..They evened each other out..both were good. BUT I must say, when round 3 came..Trent chandelier we as good but not a attention gradding because we just heard him perform..but still, he did is so well & good. I wasn’t feeling La’Porsha performances/song choices for the last 2 weeks..except for GLORY & STAY WITH ME BABY, I actually think Glory is one of her best performances. La’Porsha pulled me back in this week.. Not only was did she do good on the Simon Fuller choice.. But she gave me EVERYTHING with the redo of Diamonds, you could tell she was full of emotions. It’s gonna be a tough call on who will win, but I’ll be happy with either of them winning..they are just amazing… And I think this is the best final 2 in a long time.

    • Puchinsmom says:

      I feel the same way about Glory, Bammm. I’ve listened to it on YouTube ALOT. I like it better than Diamonds.

  17. Kayk says:

    After watching every season of Idol, it’s gonna be hard to let go! What I will NOT miss is the JLo Slutwear Collection.

    Also, thanks to Slezak and Melinda for Reality Check. I loved your flower shirt and your happy shirt on this week’s episode, both of you!

    Tomorrow’s final finale is gonna be so interesting!

  18. Kayk says:

    And that little segment of Avalon in Reality Check reminded me that I wish she could have made it into the finale!

  19. dj says:

    Thanks, Michael. I stumbled upon your recaps and videos at some vague point during all my years of watching idol (starting in season 1), and you only added to my enjoyment of the whole experience. I loved your insightfulness, your wit, your excitement, your guests and cohorts, including your editor. You just made it even more fun. I didn’t always agree with you, but I respected your point of view even when you were infuriatingly wrong ;p (but you were mostly right on the money). I’m glad we still have the Voice so you are not going away, too. That would be too much.

  20. BeBe says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Dalton’s singing at all, but man, he was so very gracious tonight. I do think he needs all the help he can get from studio magic like AutoTune, but I do wish him the best. He certainly made things interesting and seems like a good guy.

    • Nutt says:

      He was gracious and sincere. I like the kid just not his vocals. I hope he goes on to have some sort of career in the industry.

    • Collin says:

      I totally agree. He took the loss with pure class. Good luck to him with his future endeavors.

      • Smokey says:

        Just showing first six listings around 9:45 central time tonight…
        Current Rank on the iTunes Top 100 Pop Songs Chart:

        Falling Trent Harmon
        Genre: Pop/Release Date: April 6, 2016
        Current Rank Chart: #12

        Strike a Match Dalton Rapattoni
        Genre: Pop/Release Date: April 6, 2016
        Current Rank Chart: #19

        Battles La’Porsha Renae
        Genre: Pop/Release Date: April 6, 2016
        Current Rank Chart: #23

        Drink You Away Trent Harmon
        Genre: Pop/Release Date: March 31, 2016
        Current Rank chart: #62

        Sharp Dressed Man Trent Harmon
        Genre: Pop
        Release Date: March 24, 2016
        Current Rank Chart: #63

        Dancing In the Dark Dalton Rapattoni
        New Release
        Genre: Pop
        Release Date: March 31, 2016
        Current Rank Chart: #101

    • Micki says:

      Ok….I’m a little confused…. Last week they announced the top two to compete against each other for the title. The votes came in and it was Trent and Dalton. This week La’Porsha was thrown in the mix and then Dalton was taken out without another vote.?????

      • janice says:

        No, last week the top four was taken down to top 3 when Mackenzie was eliminated, and voters voted for their top 2 (revealed tonight.) Tonight we vote again and the winner will be declared tomorrow.

      • Collin says:

        Last week Trent and Dalton were safe. Then Laporsha and Mackenzie were in the bottom 2 with Laporsha moving on to complete the top 3. In other words last weeks results were for the top 3. They all performed and America voted after last weeks show to make the final 2. Dalton had the lowest number of votes so he went home. Now America votes for either Laporsha or Trent for the win. Hope that clarifies it for you.

        • HTGR says:

          LaPorsha was not in the bottom two last week. They never said it was bottom two. They just said the first two sent to safety are Dalton and Trent and now one more will be from LaPorsha and MacKenzie. That do that all the time. Unless they specifically, clearly, state these were all the bottom votes, it is rarely the case that it is.

  21. Kim Moores says:

    Archangel La’Porsha God damned Renae, the right hand of Jesus himself

    This is how we refer to that sanging angelic heffa from now on.
    Nothing else.

    • Texaslynn says:

      What irony you would place those words in the same sentence. I wish you would take a look at that.

    • Helen says:

      Urr, that might be taking things a little too far, for those of us who love Jesus.

      And can we talk about the use of “heffa”? Is it meant to be ” jeffe” which — I think means “chief” in Spanish? (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.) Because that spelling, heffa, sounds like “heifer,” which is a really insulting slang word and is often disgustingly used against heavy women, especially black women. I’ve been seeing people online refer to La’Porsha as “heffa” lately, and I’d like to assume that everyone means it as a compliment, not a really terrible insult. Can anyone clarify?

      • janice says:

        Melinda Doolittle uses the phrase “Sing, heffa!” as a compliment, regardless of the race of the singer – she explained it in a past season of Reality Check or Idology (back in season 11? 12? I don’t recall.) It’s meant as a compliment but she also said she might have offended Carrie Underwood with it. I can understand your discomfort with the term however!

    • Helen says:

      Please can you explain the use of “heffa”? Do you mean jeffe, the Spanish word for ” chief”? (Someone correct me if I’m wrong.) Heffa looks a lot like “heifer,” which is a terrible insult. Please clarify.

    • Helen says:

      What do you mean by “heffa”? Please explain, because it sounds insulting.

      • Kim Moores says:

        Colloquial slang which can refer to an insult and a compliment. In the complimentary sense it refers to her just being a sangin demon who just slays lives with her vocals.

        • marie says:

          And if I’m not mistaken, it was Melinda who used the term originally about some contestant in a past season’s Reality Check, and she certainly meant it as a complement. (Don’t recall which contestant, unfortunately.)

      • John May says:

        Melinda Doolittle used it originally in connection with Carrie Underwood (who apparently wasn’t thrilled with it). It basically means that the singer sang the stuffing out of a song. It’s meant as a compliment.

  22. MicoMendoza says:

    Either one of them is a perfect idol. Thank god America got it right! One of the best finales ever.

  23. MyFavoriteSong says:

    Trent for the win. I’d buy his music/go to a concert. LaP – will do OK but would not buy or go see in person. Just my opinion. Sadly no one in AI mgt or the general population for that matter will care much anyway after tomorrow.

  24. 15 years’s been an incredible and infuriating ride. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hate Idol a little bit the past couple of seasons..but then they had to have this group of kids..who were pretty good. (And in Idol fashion, screw it up with wonky eliminations and a terrible format…and yet we still ended up with a great top 2.)

    I’m gonna say something I hardly ever say..I’m going with the white dude. I thought Trent was going to win from his audition, what I didn’t expect was for him to earn it. La’Porsha was better in the earlier parts of the season, but Trent has dominated the later parts..he won two out of three rounds for me..Chandelier was just incredible..So..end of the day, I’m rooting for him.

    The infuriating parts of the season..we got cheated out of Avalon Young. She should have been top 3..and maybe could have had her own dominating stretch.

    • Brenda says:

      Agree with all you said! Especially about Avalon. I loved her. I didn’t really notice Trent much until after she was gone. He won me ver in the last month or so.

  25. 2Blessed says:

    I’m really gonna miss Idol.

  26. Collin says:

    I must say I’m actually a little disappointed. I thought the the winners singles were bad. Both did as much as they could do with them and vocally were good. To me the lyrics were terrible. The first round was very underwhelming IMO.

    I also think the second round could’ve been a lot better with better song choices. I think this was Trents worst performance in a while. But Laporsha didn’t do a whole lot better. I thought the song choices restricted both.

    The third round was a masterpiece vocally. Performance wise I was bored. I think the major problem was we’ve heard both of them before. I’m not sure if they had to pick previously done songs. All I heard was it was contestants choice. Maybe I’m wrong. I would’ve much rather heard something new from the both of them. Something a lot more energetic. Don’t get me wrong both sang beautifully this round. Maybe I expected to much? IDK. They both did fine. I just thought it could’ve been a lot better.

    I could make a case for either to win. I think Laporsha has been the most consistent. IMO she never had a bad week. Trent really came on at the end. IMO he won the 2 previous weeks. I also think he makes more sense on Scotts label. To me this week was a wash. I don’t think there’s a bad choice. I’m just not sure how well Laporsha would do with Scotts label. And for that reason alone I’d rather see Trent win. Both deserve to win though.

    • Rob says:

      My issue with the winner’s singles is that they weren’t written for the winners like they usually do. I know that they just didn’t have the time this year but they mustve known based on votes at some point that these three would be the final three. They could’ve hired a few songwriters earlier in the season right after the first couple of live shows and gotten down to business.

      • Collin says:

        I agree. Neither song matched with Trent or Laporsha. Very bad choices. God if round two would have had better song choices this would’ve been a fantastic final night!

        Really looking forward to tomorrow night!

    • tealeaves says:

      I did not care for any of the winners singles. If the winner is lucky, they’ll push one of their covers to get some airplay. I don’t know if that is an option. I remember after season 8 Kris Allen’s version of Heartless probably got more radio play than the terrible single they were given.

  27. Seriously? says:

    Why is Reality Check ending???? Slezak, how could you do this to us? The Voice is perfectly capable of providing fodder for your and Melinda’s insights/wrath.

    • Amy says:

      I agree. Trouble for me is…good singers aside…I just cannot stick with The Voice! I’ve tried more than a few seasons…always watched a few audition episodes and then could not sign on. Just lost interest, much as I tried. It’s format is what does not interest me, as well as too much judge theatrics. Sorry #Isimplycannot. And I’d love to just to follow RC, if it continues. Idol was a whole different thing and the only reality show I ever signed onto. That said…I won’t have a clue what you two are discussing but would tune in anyway. Maybe another idea will come up for M&M. Maybe there’ll be an AI reboot as was hinted at more than once this week….maybe…

  28. Rob says:

    Look, there’s no denying Trent’s insane talent. We are witnessing the beginning of a stellar career with him. However, Idol has always been about more than just talent. Whether we always agreed with it or not, the show, at its core, is about the person and their story. A down-on-her-luck Texas girl living in her car, the single mom from Georgia trying to make ends meet, the farm girl from Oklahoma looking for her big break. Long after the seasons end, we remember the stories that went along with the voice and we got to say that we were apart of those stories in some way. This is the House that Kelly Clarkson Built and, as far as I’m concerned, this is the Home that La’Porsha Renae Purchased.

    • JM says:

      Very well said, and I agree.

    • janice says:

      // This is the House that Kelly Clarkson Built and, as far as I’m concerned, this is the Home that La’Porsha Renae Purchased. //

      Rob, this is my first year actually following idot (save the best for last? IDK) and your comment actually brought tears to my eyes (This focus on the stories is why AI for it’s faults is more interesting and engaging than the Voice.)

      It’s lovely that Kelly herself tweeted that she voted in AI for the first time tonight for LaPorsha. To me Queen LaP is the perfect bookend to Kelly. But I’m glad that the right two people made it to the finale!

    • John May says:

      Beautiful comment!

  29. Trevor says:

    La’Porsha must win!!!

  30. Tina says:

    I want Trent to win. I’m really excited to see all the alums tomorrow. Seeing all the BTS videos and pictures has been really awesome.

  31. I’d be happy for whoever wins. But I’m rooting for Trent. His arc these past few weeks has been so interesting to watch.

  32. marie says:

    I’m so glad I was wrong and that it’s Trent and La’Porsha in the finale. I’ve been for Trent all season, right from his audition, but honestly, either one deserves the win.

    • Mary says:

      You and me both, I thought with his following Dalton would sneak into the second spot.
      I am rooting for LaPorsha because I think a female singer would be a perfect bookend to Kelly, but I won’t be upset if Trent gets it.

  33. Julie B says:

    I can’t see Trenton or LaPorsha making it in Top 40 radio. Dalton has the most contemporary voice. But all 3 will hopefully find a niche where they can make a living doing what they love.

    • JoMarch says:

      By contemporary, do you mean winded to the point of burying the end of every line, not being able to be heard above the band, and missing a quarter of the notes, then yes, he’s more contemporary. Trenton handled all different genres including the VERY contemporary “Chandelie”r. La’Porsha slayed the VERY contemporary “Diamonds”. I don’t see any facts supporting your opinion.

  34. D says:

    La’Porsha needs to win, and I don’t understand how she won’t. She has been so consistent and it’s as if the overall body of work is subsided. Nonetheless, she still won the night for me. Her last two performances were undeniably amazing. Trent, is unquestionably amazing, but I just can’t crown him the winner. I understand many of the points, though. All are valid!

  35. 2young2bwise says:

    Thought they both did an excellent job tonight. However, I think Trent’s single would be a better radio fit than LaPorsha’s single. I’m happy with either winner and can’t wait for tomorrow’s show.

  36. Temperance says:

    I wish they both could win. But in the absence of that possibility, I have to say that I think Trent pulled off upset (to me, at least). Chandelier was sublime.

  37. Holly says:

    Thank you Michael Slezak for all your wonderful, hysterical commentary on this maddening, amazing show over the years. I am in awe of you, as much as I am in awe of the talent Idol has managed to discover in its 15 year run. My playlist is full of songs by Idol contestants – my friends are always asking “who is that artist?” They can never believe that such great singers came from Idol. Maybe I’ll see you at the races some day!

  38. HeartMN says:

    Thank you Michael (and also Melinda) for so many amazing recaps and Reality Check – I love,love, love!!!! the two of you discussing the show…as with many others have said, you two could discuss the headlines of the day and I would tune in with bated breath!! I can’t believe Am Idol is over either, I am clinging to Simon fuller’s hints that he is going to reboot it – slightly altered(just so long as it isn’t Idol Junior!!!!). an amazing vocal extravaganza this evening – I have to completely disagree on the scoring of Trent’s second song – I thought he was amazing and deserved an A or A-, otherwise I think you nailed it!

  39. Spell says:

    La Porsha is a gift sent above by God.
    No way you can tell me that Trent won the night over her because she slayed BIG time.
    She must win and become the final American Idol. It’s the only way the series can conclude perfectly..

  40. davmon says:

    Two young people from small towns in Mississippi in the end. Both finishing up with soaring Sia songs–wow, that was an unusual and singular honor for a single songwriter.

  41. Flicker says:

    Explain to me WHY is Trent’s chandelier not available on iTunes??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Mary says:

      I don’t believe that was the song he recorded when it was done originally during Sia week. This week I-tunes are their songs written for them if they win. Sorry you probably won’t get a recording of it.

    • I feel the same way about several of La’Porsha’s songs (they recorded Stay with Me? Of course they did…*sigh* ) – as well as Trent’s Simple Man. (For some reason that is my favorite performance of his.) In the past seasons there were top ten recordings, top 8, top 6 – this year, next to nothing. And the thing is, it’s not that expensive I should think, especially now that music is delivered digitally and not on vinyl. And they already have these kids under contract while they’re competing. Sad way to go out – neglect the music.

  42. Katy says:

    SOOO sorry to see Dalton go..he so should of had, at least, second place. Trent doesn’t place in the memory of the last American Idol. Just one person thoughts!

  43. kevstar says:

    I have my preference but I’d really be happy with either one winning. At least Dalton didn’t make the final 2. On the that, we can all be happy!

    • M says:

      Dude, why are you so happy about him getting voted out? If you don’t like his singing, you should be happy about the other two, not happy about a 20 year old getting 3rd place. I swear, everybody is treating him being voted out as Trump got out of the race. Chill, take a deep breath, and live and let live. We get it, you’re “edgy”.

      • Zac says:

        Puh-lease. Lots of people are happy about him being voted out last night because he got further than he should have. Lots of people are also happy that the best two singers made it to the F2. They are not mutually exclusive (really two sides of the same coin), and being happy that the clearly inferior vocalist finished in third place doesn’t make anyone here a bad person. That degree of sensitivity is unnecessary; nobody is going after Dalton with an axe.

  44. kathy says:

    Dalton should be signed by a record company. He has sound is as good as LA Porchas

  45. i smell a rat going on and just watch the Finale will be a TIE! it’s possible and they kept saying they are neck and neck. That would be the way to send it off, and give these 2 legit recording deals where someone can actually hear them in commercial radio. Idol has not produced a radio friendly artist in eons.

  46. Renee says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve entered “slezak idol” into my google search field over the past 12 years but I suppose it could be calculated if you added up one time after each show, another the next day after the update, and multiple times each week waiting for the TVline segments to post. I’m feeling such an impending deep sense of sadness and loss. There have been so many good, and frustrating times watching this show over the years, but mostly anticipation and joy. It defined the past 15 years in so many ways. I will miss it, and I will really, REALLY miss your always delightful and insightful recaps and chats with Melinda. You two are really awesome and I wish you the best!! Thank you for a very entertaining 12 years.

  47. India says:

    We all have opinions I know, however, to an ear for singing skills and techniques, LaPorsha Renae wins this season for sure! I like Trent too, but he is not as skilled vocally as LaPorsha. Good luck to both…

  48. davmon says:

    Only 22, yet La’Porsha was like a polished professional headliner tonight, hitting the boards in a Broadway musical or Vegas show—lovely pockets, rich textures, full dynamic range. Although 25, Trent was like an immature schoolboy whose voice is still changing; he cannot find a pocket except in his high falsetto. His best effort was on Chandelier; but I could not get past how inferior it was to Jordan Smith’s Blind Audition version last season on The Voice; this was too fragile, meandering, forced. Meantime, La’Porsha seemed to cruise effortlessly through all 3 songs, hitting her notes and offering up delicate runs. Regardless, I am sure they made the old home state proud—birthplace of the blues.

  49. Lking says:

    I have always enjoyed Reality Check even when I disagreed with you , which was not that often. Ian disappointed to see Dalton leave as I have little faith in Trent or LaPorsha having a great career…still waiting for Nicks Debut album??? 1+ yr later. Cheers!

    • Lizzie says:

      Why would anyone be waiting for Nick’s debut album? Bad enough that we had to hear him sing on the show this year.

  50. Becky says:

    No gimmicks, gorgeous staging!

    • ann says:

      YES on the staging. Finally! … “Idol” gets it right; it only took 15 years! The lighting right from the top was incredible, beautiful, and so flattering to all the contestants. Set-wise, at last no weird ‘flames’ or too much fog, etc., etc. screwing up the stage. Bravo!

      • Lyn says:

        It’s because they moved to a different theater for last night’s show. Different gaffers and sound techs.