American Idol XIV Results: Winner Revealed After Star-Studded Finale (VIDEO)
Tonight is the night! The penultimate American Idol EVER will be crowned, as it’s all come down to Nick Fradiani and Clark Beckham for the American Idol XIV crown!
Last night’s Top 2 performance show, while pretty damn good overall (despite the disappointing elimination of Jax), actually ended up being the lowest-rated final performance show in Idol history, but that hasn’t really tempered my excitement for tonight’s festivities. I’m just a sucker for a big Idol finale.
Before we find out who the winner is, we’ve got a star-studded finale with a veritable wealth of music superstars, both current and classic: Fall Out Boy, Vance Joy, Andy Grammer, Ricky Martin, Chris Brown, Echosmith, Michael McDonald, Janelle Monáe, Nile Rodgers, Prince Royce, New Kids on the Block, Pitbull, Jamie Foxx, Steven Tyler, and judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr., as well as all of your favorite finalists from Season 14. I also wouldn’t be shocked if we got a surprise guest or two.
But who will win it all?
Rickey.org readers predict one of the closest finales in Idol history, as Nick Fradiani is the predicted winner over Clark Beckham, with a vote total of 847 to 826 as of press time. Nick is the clear frontrunner according to iTunes charts, but it’s not too late to vote in the poll, so head on over and add your prediction!
Keep it locked right here as I’ll be updating with commentary, analysis, and videos of tonight’s performances!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open with Nick and Clark walking down Hollywood Boulevard, as they begin to sing an acoustic version of “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy. We then transition into the Dolby Theater as Clark and Nick are performing live with Fall Out Boy themselves. The song is in a lower key (at least, I think it is), and I like it infinitely better this time. This is such a great way to kick off the show. After the performance, Ryan says, “So who will be remembered for centuries? We announce the winner TONIGHT!” I’m guessing in a matter of centuries, this show will mostly be a pop culture footnote taught in college courses on Mars.
-We get Clark and Nick hanging out by the judges, talking about the possibility of winning. Nick overslept, whereas Clark got hardly any sleep at all, apparently, having gotten up at 5:30 and thinking he overslept. The judges are performing tonight, which might have been a surprise had they not announced it ahead of time. But either way, I don’t think anyone is going to flip to the channel or flip away from it solely based on whether or not the judges are performing tonight.
Speaking of performances, we’ve got our first contestant duet of the evening…
TYANNA JONES PERFORMS WITH THE JACKSONS!
-Tyanna, with a stack of blue hair, sings a medley of Jackson hits with the remaining members of the original Jackson 5. With all due respect to these guys, Tyanna is the only one really hitting her notes. These guys still have serious moves though. Seriously, these brothers can MOVE, and it’s kind of awesome to watch, even if their voices aren’t there like they used to be anymore. Random shot of Camryn Manheim in the audience, and then we’re right back to the big closer, as Tyanna gets down in an awesome dance sequence with the Jacksons. This was a lot of fun, in my opinion. And, really, it doesn’t matter whether the vocals are on-point or if the artists are still relevant or not, I just want these finales to be fun.
-Back from break, and Tyanna is heading right back out there…
THE TOP 6 GIRLS PERFORM WITH NILE RODGERS AND CHIC
-The Top 6 girls go through a medley of tracks with Nile Rodgers and the band he co-founded, Chic. The medley includes “We Are Family”, “Le Freak (Freak Out)”, “Good Times”, “Rapper’s Delight”, and Chic’s new track, “I’ll Be There”. At the risk of being shallow, each one of the finalists is more gorgeous than the next. But then, I’m a sucker for Joey’s style. Either way, these girls look absolutely stunning, and they sound great too. It’s weird how much more I like Idol group performances than The Voice’s. I can’t even pinpoint why. There’s just a certain energy here that is absent on The Voice. But then, I’m not trying to get any Idol vs. Voice wars started, so I’ll just shut up now.
RICKY MARTIN PERFORMS HIS NEW SINGLE
-Ricky Martin performs his new single, “Mr. Put It Down,” and I could have sworn Pitbull was supposed to be on this track. I guess he’s performing solo later. Either way, I don’t like the song at all, but I will say that Ricky’s still got dance skills. He’s a consummate showman, and it’s never more apparent than when the Top 6 guys join him onstage for a version of “Livin’ La Vida Loca”. Quentin and Qaasim sound awesome here, although part of it is a result of them being the only two guys other than Ricky that we can hear. But Quentin showed a lot of liveliness and fun here, more so than he did in the actual competition, running into the crowd and dancing with the audience. It’s a good thing the guys are out here, because Ricky is sweating bullets from all the dancing, and seems completely out of breath. But it speaks volumes of his breath control that he can still sing when they transition into “She Bangs” and “The Cup of Life”. I’m really loving this, particularly that big “La Copa de la Vida” finale. See? This is what I mean. Just going all-out and having fun, being goofy and energetic. This was just frigging terrific.
-As we head to break, Adanna says not to change the channel, since she’ll be performing with Janelle Monae. Of course, all I can think is, “They’re giving Adanna a duet? She came in, like, 11th place.”
JANELLE MONAE PERFORMS WITH ADANNA DURU
-Adanna performs Janelle’s new track, “Yoga” featuring Jidenna, alongside Janelle and a whole crew of yoga pants-clad dancers. Is it just me, or is this song kind of awesome? I imagine this is going to be stuck in my head all day. I promise this has nothing to do with my long-standing crush on Janelle Monae, or how hot all the dancers are. This is a legit good song that I’m going to buy the hell out of on iTunes tomorrow. To her credit, Adanna carries herself like a star all the way through, even if it isn’t a showcase for her like Tyanna’s duet was for her.
-We then immediately segue into the next performance…
PRINCE ROYCE PERFORMS WITH JENNIFER LOPEZ AND PITBULL
-Prince Royce performs his new crossover single, “Back It Up”. You know, I’ve been waiting for Prince Royce to be a big deal over here for a while. He’s pretty popular with Latino kids at the schools I’ve tutored at, although I’m not sure how much that counts for. Anyway, J-Lo sounds pretty good here, although Royce’s vocals are so smooth it’s making me wonder if he’s lip-syncing. Either way, even if he is, he’s still doing a better job of it than Mariah Carey.
-As we head to break, Joey tells us to stay tuned since she’ll be performing with Echosmith. I actually really like that pairing.
JOEY COOK PERFORMS WITH ECHOSMITH
-Joey performs “Cool Kids” with Echosmith, and she looks absolutely adorable up there. Seriously, she fits so perfectly in this sort of genre, so much so that I wish we’d gotten to see more of this from her. But nope, seventh place finish. Ah well, hopefully, this gets her noticed because hers is the post-Idol career I’m most interested in from this season. Joey’s laughter at the end of the performance is downright infectious. Please don’t be a stranger, Joey.
-After the performance, Ryan plugs the season 15 auditions in Denver, Savannah, Philly, Little Rock and San Francisco, along with the 11 city bus tour, and the return of online auditions. Ryan then announces that all three judges will be returning for the final season before plugging J-Lo’ Las Vegas residency for Planet Hollywood. He then interviews the judges about who they think will win, as we take a filler break. Case in point, we get a video package of judges’ memories from the season, from Harry’s performance of Chandelier during the auditions to Michael Simeon’s slow-dance with J-Lo.
This all leads us into our next performance…
KEITH URBAN PERFORMS HIS NEW SINGLE
-Keith performs his new single, “Even the Stars Fall 4 U,” and I’m always happy to be reminded just how good Keith is at everything he does. If I’m being overly fawning tonight, it isn’t entirely unwarranted. Sure, I don’t like this song (like, at all), but Keith sounds terrific, and he’s playing the HELL out of that guitar. Overall, it’s a perfectly fine performance.
-As we head to break, Rayvon says to stay tuned since he’ll be performing with Jamie Foxx. Hopefully, this goes better than his National Anthem at the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Although if it doesn’t, I’m sure there will be a perfectly valid reason for why it didn’t.
-Back from break with some video encouragement from Kelly Clarkson, who says it was a pleasure to mentor all the contestants. She notes that she was in their spot once, and ultimately, it doesn’t matter who wins, since both finalists are great. It doesn’t matter who wins? Dude, tell that to Justin Guarini.
RAYVON OWEN PERFORMS WITH JAMIE FOXX
-Jamie starts off at the piano, playing his new track, “In Love By Now”. Honestly, it was about time we slowed it down for a ballad, and this one is absolutely gorgeous. Rayvon’s voice is perfect on it, to boot, in a way few songs were over the course of this season. But then, I usually find that most contestants sound infinitely better on finale night, since the pressure of competition is gone. But even if Rayvon were one of the final 2, I’d imagine this would still be one of the best performances of the night. This is my favorite duet of the night so far, and I kind of wish Rayvon were featured on the actual studio track.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Rayvon Owen and Jamie Foxx sing ‘In Love By Now’ on American Idol
-Ryan interviews Clark and Nick again. Clark trusts the Lord and will go wherever he wants him to, while Nick says he’s proud of Clark and Clark is proud of him, so while he certainly wants to him, whatever happens will happen. They then give advice for prospective Season 15 contestants. We then get the Ford car tribute, as we see a video of Nick and Clark giving their mentors tickets to the finale. Nick’s guitarist, Nick Abraham, is his mentor, while Clark picks out his choir director, Pastor Jim Phillips. Back in the studio, Clark and Nick hand their mentors keys to a brand new Ford Focus for each of them. It’s predictable, but it’s just so damn sweet that it’s something I actually love about finale night. Ryan then reveals that Nick and Clark are getting their own Ford Focuses as well.
-We then see Daniel Seavey meeting the New Kids On the Block, as they teach him their dance moves in a video package that’s really amusing. “It’s hard to dance with big old feet,” Donnie says. But he does note, “J-Lo can’t do this!”
DANIEL SEAVEY PERFORMS WITH NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
-The guys perform a medley of NKOTB songs, including all of my favorites, like “Please Don’t Go Girl,” “Step By Step,” and “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)”. I’m actually shocked by how good this is. I mean, the vocals aren’t all there for the guys (in fact, I’d argue Daniel is outsinging almost all of them), but it’s just such a perfect pairing that I can’t help loving it. This is exactly the kind of music Daniel should be doing, straight-up pop music. The kid has something. I don’t know what, but it’s something. (Can’t really dance though, poor thing. But they can’t all be Justin Bieber, and get mentored by a crazy-good dancer like Usher)
WATCH AND DISCUSS: New Kids on the Block perform with Daniel Seavey on American Idol
-As we head to break, it’s Quentin now who’s imploring us to stay tuned, since he’ll be performing with Vance Joy. I LOVE VANCE JOY!
-Back from break, as Scotty McCreery wishes the best to the two finalists at the finale, and tells them to enjoy it.
QUENTIN ALEXANDER PERFORMS WITH VANCE JOY
-Quentin performs “Riptide” by Vance Joy, and this is one of my absolute favorite songs to do. Actually, it’s one of my favorite songs, period. And both guys sound wonderful, although part of me wishes they’d performed “From Afar” instead, since it could have been a real moment. But it’s less well-known, so I get why they did this one instead. It bugs me that they truncated the song, as it leads to a weird moment where one of either Quentin or Vance misses their cue. But it goes by so quickly, it’s hardly noticeable. Overall, this was a wonderful performance, and the choir added a lot to it at the end. The visual of the audience singing along was also really cool.
-Aaaaaand back in the audience with Ryan and the finalists, as Scott Borchetta telling Clark and Nick that he’d be proud to sign either one. However, he says there’s a long road ahead for the winner, including a full media tour, including serving as a presenter at the CMT Awards.
QAASIM MIDDLETON PERFORMS WITH CHRIS BROWN AND PITBULL
-Qaasim performs “Fun” with Chris Brown and Pitbull, and he actually comes across as the star of this track, as he gets a big entrance towards the end. He gets to dance with the dancers at center stage, and while he’s barely audible, he totally looks like a big deal up there. At least more so than Chris Brown, who seems totally off in his own world (ugh, I can’t stand that guy, seriously). I don’t particularly care for the song, but this is a really cool performance, as he has a dance off with Chris Brown (and wins it, in my opinion). As the performance comes to an end, the audio just gives up, as Pitbull can’t be heard at all. But still, I mostly enjoyed this for what it was, a fun display of showmanship. Could have done without Chris Brown, but whatever.
-Jax says to stay tuned as her duet with Steven Tyler is next!
-Back from break with Chris Daughtry telling the finalists to enjoy finale night, to “soak it in, breathe it in”. I still can’t believe he went home in fourth place. Anyway, it’s time for Jax and Steven Tyler to perform. Please don’t be “Dream On”, please don’t be “Dream On”, please don’t be “Dream On”…
JAX PERFORMS WITH STEVEN TYLER
-Okay, so it’s not the Jax duet yet, apparently, as Jax is in the audience with the other contestants. Steven performs his new country single, “Love Is Your Name”, and it’s actually a surprisingly good song. Seriously, I don’t hate this at all, and would totally download it. Hell, I probably might. Keith is loving this, standing through the entire performance. Harry and J-Lo join him, and they all look like they’re having a great time, although Steven looks like he just rolled out of a coffin. I really can’t front on Steven’s vocals though. This was one of the better guest performance vocals of the night.
The song then transitions into “Walk This Way,” but the band quickly puts a stop to that, as if it’s some kind of mistake. They then transition into “Piece of My Heart,” with Jax joining him up onstage. Something is up with the audio here, as Jax isn’t anywhere near as audible as Steven. But man, from a showmanship perspective, she’s totally keeping up with him, if not surpassing him. She and Steven crowd over the microphone, lay across the judges’ table, and generally have a really fun time out there. This was an absolutely awesome duet, and I wish it lasted longer than just those 45 seconds or so.
-As we head to break, Clark reveals he’ll be performing with Michael McDonald, while Nick will be performing with Andy Grammer.
-We return with Clark’s parents and grandfather, who are on-hand to introduce him for the next duet…
CLARK BECKHAM PERFORMS WITH MICHAEL MCDONALD
-They perform “Takin’ It To the Streets”, and while the song choice doesn’t do a whole lot for me, the performance is pretty great, as they’re both battling against each other on the piano. It’s very lively, which I wasn’t expecting to be. Again, no issues from me here.
-We then get a video package from this season to encourage people to audition for Season 15, although I don’t get why this video is focusing so much on people who got cut, like Hollywood Anderson and Sal Valentinetti. But the package eventually catches up by centering on the Top 12 and the big moments from this season. In retrospect, I think this was a much stronger season than people might be willing to give it credit for. We get a last conversation with Nick’s parents, as we head into our last celebrity duet of the night…
NICK FRADIANI PERFORMS WITH ANDY GRAMMER
-They perform “Back Home”, which was Nick’s hometown dedication last week, and it’s better here than it was then, honestly. Granted, it doesn’t last long before they transition into “Honey I’m Good”, which is a FANTASTIC song that I was really hoping someone would do this season. That said, I immediately get distracted by the shot of Haley Reinhart in the audience. SO GORGEOUS AND TALENTED, I CAN’T TAKE IT. I’d listen to her read War and Peace. Anyway, this is the most natural of the duets after Rayvon and Jamie Foxx. They seem like old friends and bandmates, and I think this exactly the type of artist Nick should be once this show is over, whether he wins or not. On the one hand, he’d probably fit better as part of a band like Chris Daughtry, but on the other hand, I think he’s grown enough as a performer to be a compelling solo act.
JENNIFER LOPEZ, KEITH URBAN AND HARRY CONNICK JR. PERFORM
-The judges perform “Diamonds” by Rihanna, and this is miles better than their awkward performance from last year’s. For real, this is probably the best I’ve ever heard J-Lo sing. The song then transitions to “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, with Keith singing the lead and sounding about even better than Bruno. I’m not even kidding, dude sounds amazing. The sight of the finalists in the crowd jumping up and down with the beat is such a joy-filled visual. This has probably been my favorite finale in the history of the show.
FINAL WINNER RESULT
-Ryan asks if the guys have anything to say to one another, and Clark says he wouldn’t pick anyone else to be here with but Nick, while Nick says Clark is one of the best musicians he’s ever known. And now, the final result.
The winner of American Idol Season 14 is…NICK FRADIANI!
NICK FRADIANI WINS AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Nick Fradiani wins American Idol Season 14 (VIDEO)
-The finalists rush the stage as Nick’s dad goes crazy in the audience. Ryan hands him the trophy as Nick calls this the greatest moment of his life. The crowd chants “Nick”, and Ryan thanks the judges, Scott Borchetta, the band, and the viewers for the season, as Caleb Johnson someone wanders into the background. I guess he’s here to hand off the trophy, but he doesn’t get a moment in the spotlight.
-Nick performs “Beautiful Life” as the pyro showers down and his father cries, As he high fives Keith Urban, Nick is overcome with emotion and fights back tears. It’s far from my favorite winning moment, but I can’t pretend I wasn’t moved when Nick hugs his family in the audience as the confetti falls. I wouldn’t say Nick is a bad winner, necessarily, although I never would have pegged him for “the one” when this season started. Still, I think he has far more mainstream appeal than the past two winners. So if Big Machine plays their cards right, they could have something with Nick.
But what do you think of the final result? Did the right singer win? Will you follow Nick’s career post-Idol? Who, from this season, has the best shot at being a star? Sound off in the comments! Until next season, thank you so much for reading and hanging out with me this season. It’s been an honor doing this for you all, and it’s hardly even felt like work, most of the time.
Thank you again!