American Idol said farewell with a massive finale. As promised by the show’s executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, the finale episode encompassed 15 years of the reality competition series’ legacy, bringing back the original as well as other former judges, contestants and even the long-lost Brian Dunkleman, who co-hosted the show’s first season with Ryan Seacrest.
Stellar performances took over the finale, which also crowned the show’s last winner with Trent Harmon. Take a look back at five of last night’s best performances.
Jennifer Lopez Gets Loud
As one of the final judges on the show, Lopez also offered an over-the-top, thrilling farewell. She debuted her new single “Ain’t Your Mama,” a sassy ode to women being treated like caretakers for their significant others. She performed the song with a purple feather duster and a French maid-type apron before stripping free to unveil a sparkly purple and nude bodysuit for a dance-heavy, Vegas show-esque take on her classic “Let’s Get Loud.”
The Three Divas Reunite
Twelve years after competing against one another on the third season of American Idol, Jennifer Hudson, LaToya London and Fantasia Barrino showcased their powerhouse vocals once more, singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with the same passion that made them each other’s biggest competition that season. Afterward, Hudson took the stage alone to belt “Remember the Music,” showing off the even more supreme-level of diva she transformed into after getting booted early from the show.
Kelly Clarkson Is Still America’s Idol
Clarkson has already returned once this season to perform her emotional new single “Piece by Piece,” but her finale appearance was a triumphant ode to the massive success she’s seen after being the series’ inaugural winner. The very-pregnant singer performed a medley of her hits, including “Miss Independent,” “Breakaway,” “Because of You,” “Since U Been Gone” and “Stronger” before ending with the song that started it all: “A Moment Like This.”
Return of the Juke Box Heroes
Over 15 seasons, the hard rockers have always stood out as the perfect combination of performance and insane vocals. The combined forces of Bo Bice, Caleb Johnson, Constantine Maroulis, James Durbin and Chris Daughtry hit the Idol stage together, showing off their hard-rock chops, harmonizing and basically transforming into a heavy metal boy band by the end of their time on stage.
The Guitarists Pay Tribute to the Starman
Once Idol began allowing instruments, the dudes with guitars thrived on the series and produced winners Nick Fradiana, Kris Allen, David Cook, Lee DeWyze and Phillip Phillips. The singers joined forces to pay tribute to David Bowie’s early catalogue, performing his Seventies hits: “Starman,” “Rebel Rebel” and “Jean Genie.”