So Long, American Idol

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Last night marked the last showing of one of the greatest reality competition shows of all time...OF ALL TIME!

*long post alert

I'll always remember the series premiere of American Idol. June 11, 2002. My sister's birthday. We had some friends over to celebrate, nothing big because it was on a weekday and folks had school or work the next day. I remember my brother cracking a mean joke at the expense of one of my friends. She didn't find it funny, at all. In fact, she was so angry, she got her stuff and left. That still cracks me up till this day. Anywho, I saw the commercials for this singing competition and somehow convinced the crew to watch with me. Of course, that was easy to do because it was the audition phase. A mixture of good singing and horrible what were you thinking?! singing. 

I was hooked.

Of course when watching any kind of competition show, you find yourself rooting for someone. It happens. And with Idol, I had plenty of favorites. But there were only two contestants throughout the 15 years of this show that I completely stanned for: Season 5's Elliott Yamin and Season 11's Joshua Ledet.

I didn't know my feelings for Elliott were even inside of me until the night he was in the Bottom 2. My heart sank. It was him and Mandisa, who I liked, too. But I remember saying, "As long as it ain't Elliott." Mandisa went home and Elliott gained a new stan. Then Top 4 came along. Elliott. (Chris) Daughtry. Katherine McPhee. Taylor Hicks.

photo c/o FOX
(Top row l-r) Lisa Tucker, Elliott Yamin, Paris Bennett, Chris Daughtry, Mandisa
(Bottom row l-r) Bucky Covington, Katherine McPhee, Ace Young, Kellie Pickler, Taylor Hicks

Man, Season 5 was lit lit lit! My favorite Idol season, hands fuckin' down. The best Idol season, too. Anywho, Taylor had the Soul Patrol fans. Katherine was the beautiful girl with the soulful voice. Chris was the rocker who had a strong following. And Elliott was, truly, the Little Engine that Could. He wasn't supposed to make it this far, not with his small stature and homely features. But his voice, sweet personality, and his Mom carried him through. But everybody, even me, knew his end was at the Top 4. But it wasn't. Chris was eliminated (still the biggest elimination shocker of the series)! Elliott made it into the Top 3! However, that's where his journey ended. womp womp. While the general consensus is that A Song for You is Elliott's song, my favorite performance of his happened way back in the Semifinals - Moody's Mood for Love:

I was a Joshua Ledet fan from the jump. The then 19 year old was an electrifying performer. And at that age, too? Amazing. It was noted that he had the most standing ovations in Season 11. Honestly, it was well deserved. However, those standing ovations didn't lead him to the Idol crown. Nope. It lead him to 3rd place. womp womp. Despite all of his great performances, it wasn't hard for me to choose my favorite. I mean, I basically did a post about it the following day after he performed. It was this performance that made me a stan - It's A Man's Man's Man's World:

The judging trio of Simon Cowell, Randy "Yo Yo Yo" "In It To Win It" Jackson, and Paula Abdul had chemistry for days. And while I did miss them, the current and final trio of Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr. have been pretty good judges these past few years. Also, I thought Nikki Minaj was a great judge. It was just unfortunate she was paired up with Mariah Carey that season. Let's pretend the Ellen Degeneres era didn't exist.

But the real winner of Idol is certainly Ryan Seacrest. This dude didn't just rely on some hosting gig on one of the most watched TV shows for the past 15 years. Oh no. He took that hosting gig and raaaannn with it. Now, he's the sole host of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (a prime gig). He's got a top-rated syndicated radio show. Dude gave you guys Keeping Up with Kardashians, a show that's still chugging along for almost 10 bloody years. Macy's is housing his fashion line. Seriously, Ryan is set for life.

No matter what people thought of this show, American Idol changed reality music competition TV. Shoot, I can even go further to say it changed reality competition TV, period.  Idol has made its mark. The show produced actual stars and two superstars in Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Not many singing competition shows can say that. And now the ride is over.

ETA: "For now."

Vivi, out.