On the final performance night, the competition is too close to call
Credit: Michael Becker/Fox
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We made it, y’all. We’re standing on the edge of American Idol‘s farewell finale week, and I’m exploding with emotions. Just a ton of emotions and vibrato and falsetto and maybe just a little bit of eyeliner.

But we have to save a little bit of room because we’re not done. After tonight, Dalton, La’Porsha, or Trent will have gone home and the other two will have given their final performances. I worried if we’d be able to build up to that old Idol feeling this season, but there’s something pretty special about Dalton, La’Porsha, and Trent standing before us on this final week singing “Stole the Show” because they’ve grown and turned this farewell season into a real competition. Get your big curls and loose hair crimper ready, kids — we have a finale to recap.

Round 1: Winner’s Single

This is such a hard round because historically American Idol winner singles, with the exception of probably “A Moment Like This” and “Home,” tend to not be that spectacular. It’s hard to separate the performer from what they’re performing, which makes the song choice so incredibly crucial for this round. With that being said, if the finalist remembers all the words and vaguely stays in tune, then he or she should be rewarded a full ten out of ten.

Trent Harmon, “Falling”

Rank: Second

Trent sounds incredible, and it’s clear that he’s put his entire weight into the single that has been chosen for him. With all that being said, I don’t know if it’s a song that I would download on my own without the influence of Trent being on Idol. I think that is probably to his detriment. Again though, that’s taking nothing away from Trent’s vocal, which allowed him to showcase the power of his voice as well as his falsetto. It’s proof that he belongs in the finale.

Dalton Rapattoni, “Strike a Match”

Rank: Third

Um, Dalton’s dad told him that this was his final shot to go after he’s dream. He’s 20. Meanwhile, I’m over here at 25, and I guess I’m never getting off my couch again. But we can let that go because Dalton’s lead single is actually pretty stellar. But unlike Trent’s performance, I’m not entirely sure that he’s strong enough to carry it. As he pushes through the chorus, it almost seems like the beat and the synth nearly drown him out. With absolutely no snark meant toward Dalton, it wasn’t ever really his finale to be in. Good song. Okay performance.

La’Porsha Renae, “Battles”

Rank: First

This is what happens when you’re an amazing singer and you get a radio-ready song. Do I think that this will be La’Porsha’s biggest hit? Absolutely not. But do I think that it’s completely worth downloading and listening to while I’m crying on a treadmill in a couple weeks? Absolutely yes. It’s surprising that the single chosen for her doesn’t fixate on her signature vibrato, but I think that is to her benefit. La’Porsha has a newfound sense of confidence tonight that shows through her entire performance, and after this round, it would seem that this season is as it’s nearly always been — La’Porsha’s to lose.

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The Final Two Revealed

With no judging, we turn immediately to the elimination, cutting the final three down to Idol‘s farewell final two. The first person announced to be part of the finale is La’Porsha, because duh. It leaves Trent and Dalton fighting for the final spot, and honestly, could it go any other way? You’re right — it couldn’t. For the record, I love Dalton, and I love his response to Trent taking that final spot because he’s clearly a good guy, but this finale has always belonged to La’Porsha and Trent. It’s been that way for quite a while.

NEXT: Clash of the titans

Round 2: Simon Fuller’s Choice

Trent Harmon, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”

Rank: Second

Lord. Lord. Lord. This is a Trent song, and it’s captivating from moment go. But it’s an older song that doesn’t give us a feel for what Trent might do as an artist. But as a known standard, it allows Trent an opportunity to play with the vocals and really tear into the lyrics. What I do hope is that with the final song of his choosing, he goes with something a bit more in his pocket and calculated because, even in the best parts of this song, Trent seems to get a hair yell-y. (That’s a technical singing term for “yelling.”) Trent is hardly out of the race, though. La’Porsha will have to put out a show stopper to take him out entirely.

La’Porsha Renae, “A House Is Not a Home”

Rank: First

Throwback to Tamyra Gray, am I right? This is kind of Idol hallowed ground, but if anyone this season is capable of treading on Tamyra’s hallowed ground, it’s La’Porsha. The performance is vocally spectacular, and I’m a fan of the hat tip to Idol seasons passed, but I find it a little surprising for the last finale night that both Simon Fuller songs would be rooted so deeply in the past. La’Porsha’s performance showed a completely different side of her talent, but much like Trent, I’d like to see the La’Porsha that we’ve come to know come blasting out in round three.

Round 3: Contestant’s Choice

Trent Harmon, “Chandelier”

Rank: First

This was the perfect song for him to choose because the first time he performed this was the first week that he didn’t just match La’Porsha — he surpassed her. Tonight he did it again. And of all the wonderful Trent performances that have happened to date, this was his best of the season. Trent was simply breathtaking because he was smart and calculated and emotional and experienced. This was the moment that Trent had been building up to all season, and something about it all felt more authentic than anything else that had happened during the finale. Trent deserves to win this round, if not the whole competition.

La’Porsha Renae, “Diamonds”

Rank: Second

I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but La’Porsha totally stole Sonika’s floor-length dress gimmick. But if you missed that, I wouldn’t blame you because La’Porsha’s revamped version of “Diamonds” is so much stronger than what she did it back in the top 10. She has blossomed into a true performer, and it’s truly incredible. She’s mastered the stage, and it doesn’t feel like you’re watching an American Idol finalist. It feels like you’re watching a true performer. Harry asks her who she’s thinking of when she sings “you and I,” and she says, “my baby.” I melt into the floor, unable to vote for anyone ever again.

Y’ALL. I wanted so badly to give the whole finale to Trent because I love Trent. Trent is my little nugget that I’ve loved since the first time we saw him. But there’s La’Porsha, who has just been insane every. single. week. Back after initial auditions, I put them both in my top five, and even though the rest of the choices may have been a little suspect, it’s been an incredible finale. So now it’s time to vote. Where’s your head at? Is this going to be a La’Porsha sweep, or is Trent going to sneak in and steal it from the judges’ favorite? And most importantly, do you think that Ryan should have to host the final episode with Brian Dunkleman? I THOUGHT WE CARED ABOUT BOOKENDS, RYAN. Hit the comments, battle it out, or shoot me a tweet @justinkirkland4. Otherwise, I’ll see you tomorrow with my box of tissues, screaming the lyrics to “Inside Your Heaven.”

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