If you forgot about American Idol‘s season finale tonight, I can forgive you.
The fact is that most of the current headlines about the show aren’t about whether Nick Fradiani or Clark Beckham will be named the champion, but instead focus on the fact that the show is ending its impressive 15-year run in 2016.
That said, there is a finale to discuss and last night’s episode resulted in the most shocking elimination of the season.
In one of the most brutal cuts in reality TV history, Jax was eliminated to start the second-last episode of the season (that emanated from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California). While host Ryan Seacrest did his best to put a positive spin on things (advising the viewing audience that there was a less than 0.4% vote differential between Jax and her closest competitor), it felt like every Idol fan in the world needed a second to catch their breath.
Upon further analysis, while Jax’s elimination seems shocking, given Idol‘s history of crowning guys with guitars, the songstress from the New Jersey was really in tough against Nick and Clark.
As for the show itself, after the finalists realized that one of them would be the ultimate winner, they went on to duke it out in a match-up that seemed pretty even.
In Tuesday’s performance finale, Nick and Clark were asked to perform three songs. The first would be their own personal choice from the season, the second would be selected by American Idol creator, Simon Fuller, and finally, they would each close out their run on the show with their winning single.
Beckham, 22, kicked things with a cover of “Georgia On My Mind,” while Fradiani, 29, chose Matchbox Twenty’s “Bright Lights.” Round two featured Fuller’s picks. It was “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers for Beckham, and “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz for Fradiani.
The final round offered up a sampling of what each contestant’s record will sound like as they both offered up their original tracks. It was “Champion” for Beckham, and “Beautiful Life” for Fradiani.
After a lot of posturing, the judges gave the first round to Fradiani and the second to Beckham. At the end of the show, however, Keith Urban finally went on the record and said that Nick had the better night by a slight margin.
I caught up with the two finalists at the post-show press conference.
Murtz Jaffer is the world's foremost reality television expert and was the host of Reality Obsessed which aired on the TVTropolis and Global Reality Channels in Canada. He has professional writing experience at the Toronto Sun, National Post, TV Guide Canada, TOROMagazine.com and was a former producer at Entertainment Tonight Canada. He was also the editor at Weekendtrips.com.