American Idol XIV Top 2 Revealed After Results Shocker (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol XIV, “Top 2 Perform”! It’s Night 1 of the two-night finale, as the final two compete for the American Idol crown!
But which singer will be going home in third place?
As of press time, Rickey.org readers predict that it’s the end of the road for former frontrunner Clark Beckham, who is predicted to go home with 40.94%. Nick Fradiani follows with 35.96%, while Jax actually polled the safest. The pop-rocker scored just 23.1% of the vote, implying she’s the only person with a guaranteed spot in the finale. But is this really the case? Or is she actually in the greatest danger? 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 the results, with Ryan revealing that the vote came down to 0.4% between two of them. He reveals the result…
CLARK BECKHAM IS SAFE!
NICK FRADIANI IS SAFE!
JAX HAS BEEN ELIMINATED FROM AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
Her farewell package is just heartbreaking, as she seemed like such a frontrunner in the early stages. Hell, right up until the end, I thought she was a surefire pick for the finale. Blech, I hate this. Also, the absolute silence during these results makes this all the more awkward and uncomfortable. We get the guys meeting the crowd in the Dolby once it’s down to just Nick and Clark, but there’s already a thick veneer of discomfort about this finale already.
-We introduce the judges, as Ryan talks about the auditions for the final season of American Idol next year, and Harry saying that this is a huge opportunity to be the last winner of American Idol, just as Kelly Clarkson was the first. Ryan then explains how tonight is going to work:
Round 1: Contestant’s Favorite Song of the Season
Round 2: Simon Fuller’s Choice
Round 3: Winner’s Single
-We kick things off with Clark…
CLARK BECKHAM opens the finale!
-Clark’s video package just makes me want him to win. Such an emotional look at his journey, particularly that quote about how his family knew he would make it even when he had his own doubts. Granted, I don’t think he’d be a particularly successful winner, but I don’t think Nick would be either. So right now, it’s just a matter of personal preference. And while I’ve liked Nick throughout the competition, I’ve never really thought of him as a winner.
-Clark sings “Georgia On My Mind,” and it’s an absolutely stellar performance. Of course, I always give his performances an extra point any time he’s at the piano. But even if he weren’t playing, he still hits every note beautifully, and his voice never goes into that shrill octave that he has a habit of falling into. This felt like a winning performance in a way few of Clark’s performances actually have. I’ll be interested to see what Nick counters with, since I don’t know that he’s had a Song of the Season that was this compelling.
-Keith called it soulful, and said that was a vocal drizzled with syrup. J-Lo says he started out the competition as a diamond in the rough, noting that he always had the talent, and now his potential has been realized. Harry loves Clark stretching his performance capabilities, and thought he did an excellent job. After the performance, Clark notes that it was hard to kick off the show with Jax leaving, but he’s ready to roll. Backstage, his family greets him, in a touching visual.
-Back from break with Clark and his family, basking in the afterglow of Clark’s performance. This is adorable.
NICK FRADIANI is up next!
-We get a flashback to Nick’s audition, with no sight or mention of that girlfriend he started off the show with. I will say this. Nick has grown a lot as a performer. These flashbacks show just how stiff he used to be onstage, and how inexpressive he was. Now, he comes across as a seasoned pro who can connect to songs emotionally, and engage with the audience each time. Maybe what Nick does is bland compared to other contestants, but he’s very good at what he does.
-Nick sings “Bright Lights” by Matchbox Twenty, and it’s actually better now than it was the first time. And I liked it the first time. I think the bigger crowd atmosphere is partially what gives this the rock superstar energy that this has, because this was the most Nick has ever seemed like a star.
-J-Lo talks about how Simon Fuller was probably looking for someone like Nick when he started this show, although I’m not entirely sure about that. Harry and Keith are equally high on Nick’s performance, and I can’t say I blame them. Maybe it’s just my TV again, but I’m having trouble actually hearing the judges in this crowd.
-Ryan asks J-Lo who won Round 1, and she wants to say it’s a tie. But Ryan says that’s a copout, which gets J-Lo riled up. Harry gets a chant started to force J-Lo to choose, and this whole thing is just powerfully obnoxious. J-Lo remains firm in her conviction that it was a tie. Great. Let’s move on.
-Back from break, and Nick celebrates backstage with his father, mother and sister. His dad repeatedly telling him to “bring it” is really amusing, for some reason.
CLARK BECKHAM kicks off Round Two!
-Simon Fuller’s choice for Clark is “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, because of course it is. Ah well, at least it’s not “What’s Going On”. Seriously, of all the themes we get each year, Simon Fuller’s Choice is easily my least favorite, because it seems drawn from the same list of five songs every year. I say that while acknowledging that this is actually an amazing song choice for Clark, resulting in what is essentially one of his best performances of the season, tearing into the guitar sections and just delivering one of his most passionate vocals. In one amazing moment, he pulls away from the microphone but doesn’t stop riffing. It’s fantastic.
-Harry says it takes a lot of guts for Clark to do two slow songs back-to-back, somehow ignoring that this wasn’t Clark’s choice. But he praises Clark for the performance, saying he delivered it with conviction, and comparing this finale to a fight between a puncher and a boxer. Keith congratulates Clark, but not before delivering the classic “How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?” joke (the answer: “Stick it in the microwave until its bill withers”). J-Lo, meanwhile, simply asks “Who is she?” since she feels the performance was so passionate that Clark HAD to be singing it to somebody. But she lets him off the hook by saying he doesn’t have to answer. Good. I imagine if he did, he’d lose a lot of votes from people who’d want him to be perpetually single, as per their fantasies.
-Back from break with a promo for auditions for the final season: Among the cities, San Francisco, Little Rock, and Philadelphia. You can get more info at AmericanIdol.com. Interestingly, this video reveals that Clark actually auditioned online. Hmmm…nice.
NICK FRADIANI is up next!
-Simon Fuller’s choice for Nick is “I Won’t Give Up” by Jazon Mraz, and Nick is actually seated at the piano for this! Is this the first time he’s played piano all season? If it’s not, I completely forgot he could even play. That said, this performance doesn’t do a whole lot for me. The vocal just feels off. You can also kind of tell he’s not used to performing while sitting at the piano, because he’s filled with this really nervous energy. His head is shaking wildly back-and-forth like a mad man, and it’s actually kind of distracting.
-Keith had no idea Nick played piano, and says he’s showing a lot of different sides. J-Lo says she caught hell for not choosing between Nick and Clark, but says it really is hard after performances like that. Harry, meanwhile, calls it a very emotional and heartfelt performance. After the performance, Nick heads back into his “corner” with his family. Ryan then asks Harry to pick who won Round 2. In a hilarious moment, Harry says it’s a tie, and J-Lo strangles him for his hypocrisy. Harry explains that it’s a tie because Nick won Round 1 while Clark won Round 2. They’ve each won a round, so it’s a tie. Ryan then reveals that J-Lo has signed up for a residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. We get a promo for this as we head to break, and I’ll say this: J-Lo has loads of showmanship.
CLARK BECKHAM opens Round 3!
-Clark talks a bit about his winner’s single, “Champion”, saying he loves the lyrics, “We are the sons of a promised dream.” He thinks it’s the perfect song for him, and we actually get to see him record it in the studio with Scott Borchetta, who looks annoyed to be there. I’m surprised he’s even bothering with the rest of this season now that Jax is gone.
-I dig this song. It just feels like a winner’s single. And it’s a great song, to boot. At least, I think so. And Clark sings the hell out of it. In a moment that’s as weird as it is amusing, Clark pulls away from the mic and just shouts a few times, as if to loosen up his voice. It makes for a cool, if quirky visual, although not nearly as quirky as the panning shot across the audience that shows a little girl in the audience cleaning out her ears after the song. I blame the pyro.
-J-Lo congratulates Clark on performing his first song. Harry says Nick did what he could with it, but he felt there was a learning curve to doing a new song that will be a disadvantage for Nick as well. But Keith thought it was great, noting how inspirational the song is, and saying it could inspire someone to audition. After the performance, Clark heads to his “corner” where his mother, father, and grandfather await him. His job is done for tonight, and it was a job well-done, if you ask me.
NICK FRADIANI closes the show!
-We get a look at Nick recording his winner’s single, as Scott Borchetta advises him in the studio. Nick says “Beautiful Life” is reminiscent of Fun, and he’s excited that Scott thinks it’ll be a big hit. Of the two songs, this probably has the better chance of being a hit, but I still like “Champion” better. Still, this should be a perfect fit for Nick.
-Yup, Nick is pretty much winning this. He felt immediately at home in this song in ways Clark didn’t come across with his. It also feels exactly like the type of song Nick would release. He makes full use of the stage, trying to get all sides of the audience into it. And it works, as he gets all their hands waving, even the former contestants in the audience (Qaasim is SUPER happy). At this rate, I’ll be shocked if Clark can overcome this. Nick felt like a star here. (Still, I’m voting for Clark)
-Harry tells Nick he really enjoyed it, saying it was a strong performance. But he notes Nick also got really lucky, since that song sounded tailor-written for Nick. J-Lo’s favorite part was when Nick was overcome with emotion upon seeing the crowd waving hands with him. She loves how “in the moment” he is. Keith, meanwhile, says that this was the kind of song people are going to want to buy, and the type of performance that will encourage people to see Nick in concert.
-Ryan asks for the favorite rounds from each finalist, and Nick says round three while Clark says round one. Ryan then asks Keith which singer he thinks will win, and Keith opts not to copout. He says he’s leaning towards Nick’s camp.
-And that’s a wrap! It’s looking like Nick Fradiani is winning this season, not only becoming the penultimate American Idol, but also becoming the oldest winner in history. But hey, it’s not over yet! Vote for your favorite! And join us tomorrow night as the winner of American Idol XIV is crowned! Until then, let us know what you thought of the show in the comments!
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Thanks for reading and for hanging out! Hope to see you tomorrow night!