Trent Harmon was named the winner Thursday night of the final American Idol.
Harmon fell to the ground and came back up with tears as runner-up La'Porsha Renae Jennings rubbed his back. Harmon matched her graciousness, telling host Ryan Seacrest that "she pushed me to do it."
And push she did. Judge Harry Connick Jr. could be seen saying a wide-eyed "wow" to colleague Jennifer Lopez, in recognition of both contestant's star turns throughout Season 15. Any misstep faded from memory with each successive song.
Harmon took the microphone and sang what will be his first single, "Falling." He faltered early -- so much emotion -- and was joined by the other top contestants.
Season 15's finest sang backup, bouncing in joy that it was over and one of their own had won the show so big that President Barack Obama was the opening act.
An emotional Seacrest thanked fans for tuning in and then said, "Good night, America" ... The end credits ran and then his disembodied voice finished: "For now."
All the former Idol contestants you wanted to see on stage again -- Bo Bice -- and some you didn't -- William Hung? -- let it all hang out as if they were trying to win votes all over again.
Highlights were a pre-taped medley from the first Idol, a too-pregnant-to-attend Kelly Clarkson, and the power trio of Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson and Latoya London, who blew the doors off the stage. The applause for former judge Simon Cowell, who surprised other original judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson and Seacrest when he walked on the stage, then blew the roof off.
And, wait, was that Brian Dunkleman? Remember when Idol had a co-host?
This concert was an appropriate way to end this iteration of Idol; I don't think there's any doubt that the show will return in some form -- maybe a very special episode? Lopez and Carrie Underwood used it the best, basically as advertisements for their upcoming shows.
A notable absence was Adam Lambert, who was on tour, and the early Idol logo. The network got its cost per wear from this show, even showing a salute to sponsor Ford and giving the two finalists each a Ford Fusion and showing ads for its new TV offerings.
Harmon may have taken home a title, but it's the show that went out on top.
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