American Idol says goodbye with Season 15 finale
US reality TV singing series American Idol, which started airing in 2002, finally dimmed its lights for the last time at the Season 15 finale held yesterdayin Los Angeles. NATASHA MEAH (email@example.com) recaps the 10 most talked-about moments of the farewell celebration
1. AND THE 15TH AND FINAL WINNER IS...
It was a woman - the inaugural season's champ Kelly Clarkson - who started it all, but it was not one who took home the last title.
When pop-R&B singer Trent Harmon was announced as the final winner, many felt that soul diva La'Porsha Renae, who was runner-up and fan favourite, was robbed of the prize.
Irate viewers took to Twitter using the #IdolFinale hashtag to express their disappointment with the result.
User mrsbonnerfide tweeted: "This is why we're saying farewell."
Another user wrote: "He'll be unknown like so many of the Idol 'winners'."
Clarkson had unabashedly thrown her support behind Renae, saying she had never once voted for any contestant, but did so for Renae.
She tweeted: "I need her future record."
But there is still life after the show. Both Renae and Harmon will be joining the Universal Music Group family, signing with 19/Big Machine/Motown Records.
2. SEACREST, OUT!
The panel of judges experienced its fair share of reshuffling, but one person remained constant throughout the 15 seasons - US host Ryan Seacrest.
For his long-time commitment, he was presented with a giant American Idol sign, which he joked he would keep by his nightstand.
3. ORIGINAL TRIO REUNITED
Original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson appeared on stage together and shared a group hug that made fans emotional.
Cowell said: "I'd like to say on behalf of us, thank you America for inviting us into your homes.
"Thank you to the contestants, to Fox for actually putting us on air, to you guys for actually being my best friends now, and I'm going to miss you."
4. BACK WITH A BANG
It was brief, but, boy, was it a trip.
William Hung, one of the show's earliest contestants who went viral, showed up for a quick rendition of She Bangs.
He gained infamy for his audition in the third season, where he butchered Ricky Martin's hit song. Even though the Hong Kong-born American did not go further in the competition, his unyielding optimism left such an impression that the show had to acknowledge him one last time.
5. NOT LOOKIN' LIKE A FOOL ANY MORE
William Hung was not the only viral sensation at the finale.
Season 9 tryout Larry Platt popped up with a hilarious rap of his signature "Pants on the Ground" audition while Season 8's Allison Iraheta covered US singer and songwriter Meghan Trainor's new single No.
6. CLARKSON STILL THE BEST
Clarkson proved again why she is the original and most successful American Idol winner.
As she is nine months pregnant with her second child, Clarkson pre-recorded a special segment for the finale.
She sang a string of her hits, including Miss Independent, Breakaway, Because Of You and Since U Been Gone.
She concluded with a powerful rendition of A Moment Like This, her first single and Season 1's coronation song.
7. A BOWIE TRIBUTE TO PUT YOU TO SLEEP
As with most music awards ceremonies, the show also paid homage to the late English singer. Now if only it had not been so boring.
Five winners from previous seasons - Kris Allen, Nick Fradiani, Phillip Phillips, David Cook and Lee DeWyze, who are, incidentally, all WGWG (white guys with guitars) - stood in a row, strumming and taking turns singing parts of Bowie tunes like Starman, Rebel Rebel and The Jean Genie.
Let us just say Lady Gaga at the recent Grammys they were not.
8. WHO IS THAT AGAIN?
Most of the American Idol alumni looked just older or chubbier, but there was one whom we just could not identify until his name showed on screen.
Rocker Bo Bice, who came in second after Carrie Underwood in the fourth season, was unrecognisable after shedding his trademark long straight locks and wearing a pair of spectacles from the end of the rockstar spectrum.
9. YES, TAYLOR HICKS IS ALIVE
Since inexplicably winning the fifth season over Katharine McPhee, the overly-enthusiastic crooner has not been seen much.
Heappeared at the finale to perform I Knew You Were Waiting, alongside Season 3 diva LaToya London, and one small change was that his signature salt and pepper hair seemed to have just turned to salt.
But he was as forgettable as everand will probably be seen again only at the next Idol reunion - if there is one.
10. IDOL-ED BE BACK?
Speaking of American Idol reunions, Seacrest ended the show with a hint that it might come back in the future.
He said: "And one more time - this is so tough - we say to you from Hollywood, good night America."
But as the stage lights went off, he added: "For now."
It looks like they are not prepared to give it a rest for good.
Idol creator Simon Fuller told The Hollywood Reporter: "There will no doubt be another format or refinement or elevation of the format. Now I can actually revamp it and come up with a new version.
"And we can look back on 15 seasons and think of some legitimate ways to allow people to enjoy them again, maybe adding another dimension to it."
"Now I can actually revamp it and come up with a new version."
- Idol creator Simon Fuller