I hope by now you've seen the American Idol finale.  I watched it live, recorded it, and then watched the playback, not once, but twice.  What was it about the well-produced show that had me smiling all weekend?  I'll share a few random thoughts here:

It reminded me that Idol brought many talented singers into our homes every week.  Those who won the competition went on to become household names, of course, like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.  And we know of some non-winners who've had great success after the show, namely Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Adam Lambert.  But the finale reminded me how many other beautiful singers shared their talents with us while they were on the show.  I literally got chills down my spine hearing Pia Toscano's high notes during Celine's "All By Myself."  And how good was it to see and hear Clay Aiken again?  I love that Idol has been a showcase for talented New Jerseyans such as Beachwood's courney Zahn and East Brunswick's Jax, and this season's wonderful Gianna Isabella from Jackson Memorial High School.   (Side note:  other Idol finalists with Garden State roots include Constantine Maroulis, Anwar Robinson, Elise Testone.  Even winner Jordin Sparks has a Jersey connection.  She lived in Ridgewood while her father played for the Giants.)

The Idol finale was chock full of medleys, putting contestants together in choreographed numbers that provided huge entertainment value.  Plus a few laugh out loud surprises like the "Pants On The Ground" guy and the most famous "bad auditioner" ever: William Hung performing "She Bangs" with his signature dance move.

One of the most pleasant surprises was seeing Bo Bice do his awesome version of "Vehicle."  Remember when he did that song on Disco Night years ago? Without his long hair at the finale, I didn't recognize him at first!

At the end of the show, as Ryan Seacrest signed off, I felt grateful for the series that provided 15 years worth of entertainment while giving exposure to deserving artists.  No matter how bad the news of the day, Idol always seemed ready to provide an escape.  And who doesn't love a good rags to riches story?  It's been rewarding sharing the journeys of all these up and coming singers, hoping the TV show could help make their dreams come true.

What were some of your favorite moments from the American Idol finale?


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