(Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the series finale of American Idol — and have plans to — it is not a good idea to continue reading this post.)
“Whoever wins will be the bookend to a legacy that started with Kelly Clarkson,” Ryan Seacrest told People ahead of the finale. “People will always remember the first winner and the last winner.”
America’s votes helped Trent Harmon, the 25-year-old farm boy from Mississippi, become that winner Thursday night. “I’ve worked so hard,” he said after Fox revealed its last Idol. “I know that I have a God-given ability, but I didn’t want to take it for granted. I wanted to work so, so, so hard — and [La’Porsha Renae] pushed me to do it!”
Like the judges, you might have been surprised Renae didn’t win, especially after Wednesday night’s show. But the 22-year-old, also from Mississippi, told ET she “kind of expected it to happen” this way. “This has happened so many times,” she said. “The person that everyone thinks is gonna win, never wins, and the person that everyone thinks is not gonna win, usually does.”
You can watch Harmon’s coronation and Idol performance of “Falling” above. And here’s his finalist duet with Renae, a nod to Idol’s first-season finale:
Billboard notes that both Harmon and runner-up Renae, in a departure from recent seasons, have nabbed label deals: The former will tackle country music with 19/Big Machine Records, and the latter will take her R&B stylings to 19/Big Machine/Motown Records. “Because of the overwhelming fan demand and success of the farewell season of American Idol,” Big Machine’s CEO explained, “we have made the decision to sign both.”
Read Dave Holmes’s full recap of the final finale here while you mourn and/or celebrate the end of all this:
This post has been updated throughout.