AMERICAN IDOL Recap: And the Winner Is…

idol winner

Not since Kelly Clarkson has my favorite done so well.

Way back when this season I unveiled the Molly DeWolf Swenson Scale of favoritism. A surefire kiss of death named after my favorite contestant of all time. The scale has become a kiss of death because my favorite never wins. Never comes close. Only one favorite has ever accomplished the feat and that was the first season’s winner who appeared long before Molly DeWolf Swenson got punched in the face by Randy Jackson. She also remains the only contestant for whom I’ve ever voted.

That’s why it’s so remarkable that Clark made it all the way until the end of the show before losing. Especially after the early judges’ save he seemed destined to go out early due to a buried performance or one off week just because he was my favorite contestant this year. Amazingly, it took America the entire season to catch up with my curse and finally send him packing when there was no show left to leave.

Of course I would have preferred to see Clark take home the title, but it was never much in the cards for my AM Gold stalwart. As soon as Nick started to turn himself into a hybrid of every lead singer of ever crappy band that’s existed in the last quarter century, it was over. The cute guy with a guitar is back on top after a two year absence in the ‘Idol’ winner’s circle. It’s only fitting that the very archetype that essentially killed this show would win two days after the show’s final season was announced. Especially when he beat one of the most talented performers we’ve seen in the series’ history.

But it wasn’t all bad for Clark. It certainly wasn’t all bad for a Clark fan like me. He got to play with Michael McDonald. The king of yacht rock right there with his heir apparent. Dueling pianos to boot! Just knowing that moment got made is worth dooming Clark into the runner-up spot. That was the solid gold of which I knew Clark was capable since the very beginning.

The rest of the performances ranged from boring to atrocious. Any show that opens with Fallout Boy playing the most obnoxious song of the last decade is already trending downward and it only got worse from there amidst a sea of Pitbulls, Ricky Martins and (gulp) Chris Browns.

It’s hard to point to a bright spot outside of Clark’s duet with McDonald. There was certainly some solid unintentional comedy in whatever number of Jacksons are left trying to sing along with Tyanna and remembering that Addana Duru and Sarina-Joi Crowe once existed as living breathing contestants on this show.

There was also some puzzlement. Such as why in God’s name is Daniel Seavey singing with that band of fifty-year-old men who still refer to themselves with words like new and kids. And why would you keep Nick Fradiani from fulfilling his crap rock destiny by having him sing with crap-country artist Andy Grammer? Shouldn’t there have been a reunion of The Goo Goo Matchbox and the Blowfish?
Oh well. It’s his first taste of being a mis-managed ‘Idol’ winner. Speaking of, nice to see you, Casey Abrams! I forgot you won last year so much that I just called you Casey Abrams instead of Caleb Johnson.

Until next year. This was ‘American Idol’.

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  • Mary W

    Nice and funny article! 🙂 I agree, Clark is one of the most talented perfomers in AI’s history. I’ve given him the most votes and I voted every week for him. The last time I’ve voted for an AI contestant was for Manidisa. I didn’t watch AI again until 2012 when I caught Philip Phillips singing “You Got it Bad”. I knew right away that he could win it all. Then by accident I stumbled into AI again this year and caught Clark singing Georgia. He reminded me of Phillips, another potential winner, able to moved you to tears and go WHOA. I think Clark is better in looks and vocal department than Phillips but both have passion for their craft. I was moved to vote for him.
    A lot of things worked against him in the past couple of weeks, but he was able to overcome the adversities and make it to top 2 against the tide. All his songs charted on ITunes. For most of them, he was the only contestant who charted on ITunes top 100 and pop charts every week except for this finale week and with Nick’s What hurts the most beat him in sales. He has the most youtube views. Well done Clark! God bless! Will definitely buy your album. Advance happy birthday! All the best! The best is yet to come. 🙂

  • Dan Buck

    Clark was a student of mine, and is now a friend. It’s been fun to read your posts all along. I was worried I was being biased in thinking he was so far superior to others. Glad to find a kindred spirit. And your writing is pretty good. Enjoyable to read. Thanks for waving the Beckham flag. He’s a great guy and I’m glad he got this opportunity.

  • uncledoodoo

    Great way to put it! You nailed it! I’ve known Clark for a few years, and we were of course rooting for him early on and we knew he was good, we even have his album (Songs About Her) from before the show, but honestly we were blown away by how good he really is! I really appreciate AI showing us all how great a talent this young man is. I will, for the first time, buy AI tickets when they come through my area. I quit watching the show after the Sanjaya debacle and would not have watched this season (but for Clark) because of all the reasons you said, but I am grateful for this season for sure, and I will likely tune in for the final season just for old-times-sake.