Nick Fradiani became the poster boy for the word “stunned” when Ryan Seacrest announced him the winner of Season 14 American Idol last night. So certain was Fradiani that runner-up Clark Beckham would win that it took almost the entire last moments of the show for the wall of shock to crumble enough to allow him to go on.
He need not have worried in my book. My family had Fradiani Fever. Though runner-up Clark Beckham can definitely sing, there were two bumps along the way that threw him completely out of the race for us. Number one: he has the emotional presence of a Ken doll. Number two: the only real emotion he ever showed on American Idol was when he stood against not only his mentor Scott Borchetta, but against guest mentor Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flats. And after singing the song his own way on the show, even the judges had to agree with the mentors — and he still argued.
They were trying to get Clark past his piano bar sound, which can be pretty but it’s not going to make me jump up and shout. When someone’s trying to teach you how to drive a car and you insist you’d rather not push the little pedal at your foot, that’s not only the height of arrogance but . . . you’re not going to get that sucker out of the driveway.
Height of arrogance? Clark told his mentors that if he couldn’t win American Idol his way, he’d rather not win it at all. His way or the highway. Even though he stepped up his game after that, it wasn’t enough for me to get around that Ken doll face and “my way or no way” attitude.
In contrast we have Nick Franiani. Emotion flows through him — in his voice, in his face and eyes, in his movements. Yes. It took him a while to get off the ground in this competition. But his humility not only allowed him to listen to instruction from those with years of experience and knowledge, his innate gift allowed him to carry through on them and grow.
As for the judges, Nick Fradiani was Keith Urban’s choice for the win; Clark Beckham was J-Lo’s, and Harry Connick sat on the fence. I read one news item that said Nick was Jennifer’s choice. That was wrong. Jennifer chose Clark. Keith backed the winner. I watched the show. And this time — AMERICA GOT IT RIGHT. I love this guy and believe he will make his mark in the music world.
* * * * * A shout out here for Keith Urban. Keith, you seem to be a great human being, definitely a great singer and entertainer, and a fine husband. Seeing your beautiful wife, Nicole Kidman, in the audience, backing you up and looking so happy, filled my heart with a smile. And after the win, when you clasped Nick’s hand and came around the table to give him a hug — that was awesome. That’s when Nick lost it. Thank you, Keith, for being a beautiful island in a sea of disappointing entertainers.
Oh, and another thing. Judges J-Lo, Keith, and Harry really rocked it last night. I’ve always known J-Lo could sing, but that was the best I’ve ever heard her. She was and Keith were awesome on the vocals and Harry was hot on the instrumentals. All in all, there were some great moments on American Idol last night. Sorry if you missed it.