american idol finale series farewell

An American Idol Moment Like This

Some people wait a lifetime for moments like the ones I had during what was, without a doubt, the time of my life in Los Angeles last week (all of which I am still processing – please, don’t pinch me just yet).

Thanks to the good luck of being in the right place at the right time to meet the right people (and extremely kind people at that), I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the two American Idol finale shows at the Dolby Theatre during the final farewell week of the series on April 6th and 7th.

Continue reading “An American Idol Moment Like This”

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American Idol Season 15 XV Top 10

American Idol Season 15 Top 10

After surviving through the audition rounds, the hell of Hollywood week, and even duets with Idol All Stars, ten Season 15 contestants emerged from the talent-heavy ranks to form American Idol‘s last group of Top 10 finalists.

They are… . Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon, La’Porsha Renae, Tristan McIntosh, Sonika Vaid, Gianna Isabella, MacKenzie Bourg, Avalon Young, and Lee Jean. One of these singers is on track to becoming the fifteenth and final winner of American Idol, and the bookend to the woman who legitimized the entire series, the one and only Kelly Clarkson.

Speaking of Clarkson, during this week’s Top 10 night, the original Idol graced the Idol stage one last time to deliver an emotionally riveting performance of “Piece By Piece” from her latest album, making for the perfect parting gift for the show that launched her into superstardom.

american idol kelly clarkson

A Final Encore for American Idol

American Idol changed my life. I’ve written multiple essays on this very statement over the years, but I’ve never been able to fully express just how much of an impact this televised singing competition has had on me since 2002 (and specifically the last eight years).

Besides the usual suspects (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Daughtry), Idol introduced me to many of my favourite artists today, including David Cook, David Archuleta, Brooke White, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams, Phillip Phillips, and last but never least, the late and great Michael Johns. The unique talents that have emerged from this show over the past fifteen years have made me sit up and listen to their creative takes on modern music with fresh and eager ears. They’ve also opened my eyes up to a global community of music lovers, and the connections I’ve made with fellow Idol fans have turned into some of the greatest friendships I’ve ever been blessed to have.

As Season 15 premieres tonight and begins the search for the last American Idol, I hope that this final season will be a fine and fond send-off for the Idol series, with a solid cast, a worthy winner to bookend Kelly Clarkson, and a huge celebration of all the years of memories that have gone by.

To me, Idol was more than just a game. It was a game-changer. Following this show has been a crazy and unforgettable ride, and I’m excited to tune into (and blog about) this farewell season with all of the Idoloonies out there.

Because this…. is American Idol! Dim the lights, Kieran, and here we go…

Image Credit: Fox

Caleb Johnson Wins American Idol Season 13

Congratulations to Caleb Johnson, the winner of American Idol Season 13!

The big-voiced, retro rocker from Asheville, North Carolina, who successfully channeled his classic rock/southern bluesy-rock sound into stand-out performances each week, was named the champion of the 2014 edition of the long-running singing competition. As first proven by Season 12’s Candice Glover, another returnee contestant turned winner, Caleb proves that the third time really is the charm! Jena Irene, the spirited and talented teen from Farmington Hills, Michigan, is this year’s runner-up. From wild card to blossoming pop-rock musician, she fought a fierce fight and came a long way with her gutsy artistry and steady growth.

Caleb and Jena kicked off the grand finale celebrations with a BANG – their sensational duet medley of “We Will Rock You”, “I’m Just a Girl”, and “It’s Only Love” raised the bar sky high for the night’s performances. The Top 2 also got the chance to sing with their own favourite bands, with Caleb and KISS on “Love Gun” and “Shout It Out Loud” and Jena and Paramore on “Decode” and “Ain’t It Fun”.

The Top 10 finalists were also treated to special duets, trios, and group performances with some of the industry’s top stars, including: Alex Preston with singer/songwriter Jason Mraz on the new single, “Love Someone“, Jessica Meuse with country singer Jennifer Nettles on “Wrecking Ball“, Sam Woolf with fellow Idol Phillip Phillips on “Home” and “Raging Fire”, Alabama boys CJ Harris and Dexter Roberts with Darius Rucker on “Alright“, and Malaya Watson with soul singer John Legend on his beautiful ballad, “All of Me“. As well, the Idol Guys teamed up with Aloe Blacc to sing “The Man” while the Idol Girls girl-powered it up with Demi Lovato for “Neon Lights“.

The judges (Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr.) and Randy Jackson joined forces for a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration to pay tribute to two classics – “True Colors” and “Go Your Own Way”. Even host Ryan Seacrest got in on the performance action with his primetime television singing debut – a duet of “Right Here Waiting” with Richard Marx.

Caleb’s winning moment was met with genuine shock and gratitude from the singer, who ended his victory night with an encore of his debut single, “As Long As You Love Me” while bombarded with hugs and congratulations from his finalist friends, his family members, and the judges.

And with that, it was another end to another great American Idol season. Until next January, when we will do this all over again!

American Idol Season 13 Top 3

American Idol 500

Tonight, American Idol reached a special milestone with the airing of its 500th episode. The show led the celebrations with cake, confetti, and a trip down memory lane with a moving montage of Idol moments throughout the last twelve seasons, featuring footage of former contestants and judges, and its veteran host Ryan Seacrest. Despite the falling viewership and continual ratings slide, Idol has just been renewed for Season 14 (and will likely be a mainstay on FOX for multiple seasons to come), proving that after all of these years, this singing competition continues to be the juggernaut all other reality shows of its type should aspire to. One cannot deny that impact that Idol has had on pop culture – just take a look at their list of alumni! During tonight’s broadcast, Idol shared video shoutouts from past winners, including Carrie Underwood, Phillip Phillips, Kris Allen (who baked a cupcake for the special occasion), David Cook, Candice Glover, Lee DeWyze, Fantasia Barrino, Scotty McCreery, and Jordin Sparks, all of which aired in-between performances from the three people who could fill their shoes…

This week, the Season 13 Top 3, who had just returned back to their second home at Idol after a weekend of homecoming festivities, each performed three songs chosen for them by their mentor Randy Jackson, the judges (Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban) and their hometown (they selected a song from the season for their hometown Idol to reprise). Caleb Johnson rocked out to “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS, “Demons” by Imagine Dragons, and an encore of “Dazed & Confused” by Led Zeppelin. Alex Preston delivered “Pompeii” by Bastille, “Stay” by Rihanna (featuring Mikky Ekko), and an encore of “Story Of My Life” by One Direction. Jena Irene sang “Titanium” by David Guetta (featuring Sia), “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato, and an encore of Radiohead’s “Creep” (the highlight of the evening’s performances, as well as the top performance of the season overall).

Tune in Thursday night to find out who makes it into next week’s Season 13 finale. It’s gonna be a close call!