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Season 14 of American Idol premiered on January 7, 2015 and ended on May 13, 2015 on Fox. Host Ryan Seacrest returned as did judges Harry Connick, Jr.Keith Urban, and Jennifer Lopez. Big Machine Records president and CEO Scott Borchetta was the in-house mentor, replacing Randy Jackson.

This season was the last for executive producer Pers Blankens, who left the show after two seasons.

The season was won by 29-year-old Connecticut singer Nick Fradiani.

Changes Edit

Changes that were introduced during this season included a showcase for the Top 48 that took place at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. There was no results shows, resulting in the show only airing one day a week when the show reached the Top 10. Coca-Cola also ended their longtime sponsorship deal with the show. Another change is before the auditions even aired, viewers would get to see the Top 24. The winner would also record the theme song to FOX Sports' coverage of the 2015 Women's FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, which was won by the United States on July 5, 2015

New Label and New In-House Mentor Edit

On December 3, 2014, it was announced that Big Machine Records president and CEO Scott Borchetta would be the show's new in-house mentor. Along with him joining the show, the winner will be signed to his label.

Auditions Edit

During the Top 3 reveal of Season 13, they announced the audition locations and bus tour stops for Season 14.

Bus Tour Edit

The Bus Tour made stops in the following places starting July 1, 2014: Portland, Oregon; Portland, Maine; Reno, Nevada; Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Virginia; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Amarillo, Texas; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Branson, Missouri; Tallahassee, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Audition Cities Edit

The following cities held auditions for Season 14; dates of the auditions are also shown.

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota - June 18, 2014
  • New Orleans, Louisiana - June 25, 2014
  • Long Island, New York - July 23, 2014
  • Nashville, Tennessee - July 30, 2014
  • San Francisco, California - September 29, 2014

Guest Judge Edit

Due to the September 12, 2014 death of his father-in-law, author and psychologist Antony Kidman, in Singapore, Keith Urban was forced to leave the Idol auditions to be with his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, and their family during the difficult time. Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert took Urban's place when the auditions went to New York.

Hollywood Week Edit

Hollywood Rounds Pic

The contestants performing during the Hollywood Rounds

During Hollywood week, the contestants who obtained a golden ticket had to withstand the tension of competition and nerves. Those who withstood the pressure advanced on to the Top 24.

Surprise Judgement Round Edit

Generating a sense of nostalgia from Season 13's surprise knock-out round, certain contestants about whom the judges weren't confident were asked to perform. The ending result produced no cuts and everyone made it through to the next phase of Hollywood.

Judgement Round Edit

Just like every season, the contestants performed in solos to hopefully advance on to the group rounds. Using the "move back, move forward" method the judges tend to use every year, contestants who the judges disapproved of were cut from the season. Those who weren't cut advanced.

Group Rounds Edit

With the drama inducing phase of Hollywood upon the contestants, cooperation became a key element. Much like Season 13, the contestants were allowed to pick group members no matter their gender. After spending an entire night practicing, the groups were set to perform in front of the judges. As soon as a group's performance ended, they would receive their final result on whether or not they made it to the next round. The groups who the judges disapproved of were cut and the those who did well advanced.

Solo Rounds Edit

Those who advanced past the group rounds got the opportunity to sing in L.A.'s House of Blues. They were required to sing a solo to ultimately impress the judges. The contestants that did well advanced on to the Top 48, while the others were cut.

Showcase Week Edit

After Hollywood Week, the 48 contestants performed onstage at L.A.'s House of Blues. Those who performed well advanced on to the Top 24 while those who didn't were cut from the season.

Top 24 Edit

During the Final Judgement, 24 contestants were chosen to move on to the Semifinals.

Males:

Quentin Alexander Mark Andrew Clark Beckham Riley Bria Trevor Douglas Adam Ezegalian
Nick Fradiani Qaasim Middleton Rayvon Owen Daniel Seavey Michael Simeon Savion Wright

Females:

Shannon Berthiaume Joey Cook Sarina-Joi Crowe Adanna Duru Alexis Gomez Lovey James
Jax Tyanna Jones Loren Lott Shi Scott *Maddie Walker Katherine Winston

Sing-Off Edit

Between contestants Maddie Walker and Rachel Hallack, the judges were indifferent about who should claim a spot in the Top 24. With the spot originally given to Hallack, Walker's elimination seemed to have left a negative impression on the judges. Both contestants performed a "sing-off" and the judges then decided to send Walker through to the Top 24 instead of Hallack.

Semifinals Edit

During the Semifinals of Season 14, the Top 24 contestants performed a song in Detroit's Fillmore Theater to earn America's vote. Those who obtained the most votes per gender group advanced onto the Top 16 and sang a song from Motown to hopefully advance further the following week. By the end of Detroit, the Top 16 were chosen.

Top 16 Edit

The following contestants were Season 14's Top 16:

Males

Females

Wild Card Edit

Once the Top 10 contestants were chosen, the final two remaining spots were to be chosen by the judges. Between contestants Adam Ezegalian, Mark Andrew, Quentin Alexander, Adanna Duru, Alexis Gomez, and Loren Lott, the judges gave the final spots to Alexander and Duru.

Top 12 Edit

The following were Season 14's Top 12.

Males

AI14top12

The Finalists; Back Row: Quentin Alexander, Clark Beckham, Nick Fradiani, Jax, Qaasim Middleton & Rayvon Owen; Front Row: Tyanna Jones, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Daniel Seavey, Maddie Walker, Adanna Duru & Joey Cook

Females

Finals Edit

Top 12 Perform Edit


During the first round of the finals, the chosen twelve contestants performed a reprise of their audition song for a spot in the Top 11. Separate results shows during the first live show were discontinued in favor of a single two-hour broadcast on Wednesday nights; results from the previous week were revealed during the following week's show.

Eliminated Contestant Edit

Sarina-Joi Crowe Pic

Sarina-Joi Crowe was the eliminated contestant, bringing the total down to 11 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on March 12, 2015.

Top 11 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 11.

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 11 Perform (First Week) Edit


During this round of the Finals, the contestants performed a "Party Themed" song for a spot in the Top 10.

Saved Contestant Edit

Qaasim Middleton Pic

The judges used their save on Qaasim Middleton, who received the lowest number of votes on March 19, 2015. He was declared safe keeping the total at 11 remaining contestants.

Top 11 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and remained in the Top 11.

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 11 Perform (Second Week) Edit


During this round of the Finals, the contestants performed a song from the movies for a spot in the Top 9. Two contestants were eliminated in the next week's third live show after the Judges' save was used.

Eliminated Contestants Edit

Maddie Walker Pic

Maddie Walker was one of the two eliminated contestants, bringing the total down to 9 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on March 25, 2015.

Adanna Duru Pic

Adanna Duru was one of the two eliminated contestants, bringing the total down to 9 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on March 25, 2015.

Top 9 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 9:

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order.

Group Performance:

  • "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk

Top 9 Perform Edit


During this round of the Finals, the contestants performed an 80s-Themed song for a spot in the Top 8. On next week's live results show, the season introduced the "Idol Fan Save". Viewers could vote via Twitter to decide which of the two contestants, who received the lowest number of votes from the previous week, would advance. After the performances of the bottom two contestants, the viewers had five minutes to vote before the time limit expired. The contestant who had the most Twitter votes advanced to the next round, while the other contestant was eliminated.

Eliminated Contestant Edit

Daniel Seavey Pic

Daniel Seavey was the eliminated contestant, bringing the total down to 8 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on April 1, 2015.

Top 8 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 8:

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club

Top 8 Perform Edit


During this round of the finals, the contestants performed songs from the Kelly Clarkson Songbook for a spot in the Top 7.

Eliminated Contestant Edit

Qaasim Middleton Pic

Qaasim Middleton was the eliminated contestant, bringing the total down to 7 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on April 8, 2015.

Top 7 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 7:

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

Top 7 Perform Edit


During this round of the Finals, the contestants performed a Billboard Top 100 song for a spot in the Top 6.

Eliminated Contestant Edit

Joey Cook Pic

Joey Cook was the eliminated contestant, bringing the total down to 6 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on April 15, 2015.

Top 6 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 6:

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order.

Top 6 Perform Edit


During this round of the Finals, the contestants performed American Classic songs for a spot in the Top 5. On next week's live results, this is the last Idol Fan Save where only the top five remaining contestants would perform in the Idol Tour 2015.

Eliminated Contestant Edit

Quentin Alexander Pic

Quentin Alexander was the eliminated contestant, bringing the total down to 5 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on April 22, 2015.

Top 5 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 5:

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order.

Top 5 Perform Edit


During this round of the Finals, the contestants performed anthems for a spot in the Top 4.

Eliminated Contestant Edit

Tyanna Jones Pic

Tyanna Jones was the eliminated contestant, bringing the total down to 4 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on April 29, 2015.

Top 4 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 4:

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order.

Top 4 Perform Edit


During this round of the Finals, the contestants performed songs from the Judges' Hometowns and Soul for a spot in the Top 3. On next week's live show results, the four remaining finalists will also perform three songs for a spot in the Top 3. Afterwards, the results from last week's performances were revealed at the end of the show.

Eliminated Contestant Edit

Rayvon Owen Pic

Rayvon Owen was the eliminated contestant, bringing the total down to 3 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on May 6, 2015.

Top 3 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 3:

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 3 Perform Edit


During this round of the Finals, the contestants performed songs of Scott Borchetta's choice, the Judges' Choice, and their Hometown's Choice for a spot in the Top 2. Next week after the elimination of Rayvon Owen, one of the top three remaining contestants will automatically leave the competition after announcing last week's performance results while the remaining two contestants advanced to the final round of the Finals.

Eliminated Contestant Edit

Jax Pic

Jax was the eliminated contestant, bringing the total down to 2 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on May 12, 2015.

Top 2 Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 2:

Performances Edit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 2 Perform Edit


During the final round of the Finals, the chosen final two contestants performed songs of Simon Fuller's choice, a reprise of their favorite performance, and their winner single for a spot as Season 14's American Idol.

Runner-Up Edit

Clark Beckham Pic

Clark Beckham was announced as the Runner-Up on May 13, 2015, making fellow contestant Nick Fradiani the winner.

Performances Edit

Winner Edit

Nick Fradiani Pic

Nick Fradiani was announced as the Winner of Season 14 of American Idol on May 13, 2015.

Twitter Fan Save Edit

Starting with the Top 8 live show, American Idol introduced the Twitter Fan Save, which would be used until the Top 5. Similar to the "Instant Save" which is used in The Voice, fans would see who the Bottom 2 were and vote via Twitter who they wanted to keep on the show. Many suspect that this was introduced due to contestant Qaasim Middleton getting the Judges' Save early in the competition. Rayvon Owen received the Twitter Save all four times he was in the Bottom 2.

Controversies Edit

Awkward Exchange of Comments Edit

National media outlets reported on an exchange between judge Harry Connick Jr. and contestant Quentin Alexander noting the incident of Connick scolding a contestant was awkward. On the live airing of the Top 6 show, there was three contestants who had not been saved when Alexander was chosen. After he performed, host Ryan Seacrest noted that he appeared to be upset. When asked Alexander responded "This sucks, We've got two of the best vocalists, my best friend [Joey Cook] sitting over there. This whole thing is whack, but I'm going to shut up right now." Seacrest then replied saying that this is a competition, and with the save anything could happen. When Alexander had left the stage, Connick Jr. said, "Quentin, if it's that whack, then you can always go home, because Idol is paying a lot of money to give you this experience and for you to say that to this hand that is feeding you right now, I think is highly disrespectful." Alexander was then prompted by the producers to return to the stage where he approached the judges and clarified he meant the two being potentially eliminated was whack, not the show, or the experience. Later, after performing his second song, he explained "I understand that these things are going to happen, and I just didn't want my friend to leave" and apologized. Judge Jennifer Lopez empathized with Alexander's emotions running high but said that as an artist he had to learn to work through that even when it happens to put on the performance. Joey Cook commented after being eliminated on Alexander's statements:

"I pretty much just told him what he did was beautiful, in my opinion, and it was the perfect representation of him. Quentin is a very emotional person. He’s very 'all cards on the table.' There is no sugar coating. He doesn’t hide his emotions. He’s honest. He’s a raw human being, and I think what happened last night was the perfect example of that and how emotional of a person he is."

The producers played up the exchange in what Music Times termed "what seemed like shady circumstances" to replay the incident throughout the week in show promos and at the beginning of the Top 5 show. An AI source also stated that for fairness purposes the judges and contestants have a strict wall of silence between them and only interact onstage so Connick Jr. and Alexander have not had contact since last week. Alexander was eliminated the next show the following week with what Music Times questioned as possibly the first time American Idol "went into an episode with what seemed to be a very clear agenda." Yahoo's managing editor Lyndsey Parker detailed many points that she argued was American Idol "throwing Quentin Alexander under the tour bus" referring to the idiom of throw under the bus by sacrificing a friend as the show heavily promotes the summer tour which only guarantees the top five finalists will be included. Included in her critique was that the show had aired the promotional video featuring the confrontation which she characterized as "misleadingly edited" to boost ratings which have been historically low, had a surprisingly few negative judges comments, and instead lavish praise for other contestants while Alexander's was pointedly negative, and what Parker saw as a "backhanded and unflattering" exchange from Connick Jr. insinuating Alexander needed Auto-Tune. She also noted that the "Fan Save" portion was handled uniquely in that the other contestant Rayvon Owen didn't have a replay or critique until after a commercial break, while Alexander did not get the same treatment, and host Ryan Seacrest claimed Alexander had muttered "I give up" which Alexander had to clarify was actually "I give it up." USA Today echoed the sentiment stating that the awkward moments probably led to his elimination.

Connick was also criticized by fans and critics for what many felt was him instigating the confrontation with Alexander when it was a situation that had nothing to do with him.

Guest Performances Edit

  • Aretha Franklin - "I Will Survive" (March 5, 2015)
  • Jussie Smollett & Yazz - "No Apologies" (March 12, 2015)
  • Jennifer Lopez - "Feel the Light" (March 19, 2015)
  • Kenny Loggins - "Footloose" (March 19, 2015)
  • David Hasselhoff - "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" / "Walking on Sunshine" / "Never Gonna Give You Up" / "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" / "Let's Dance" / "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (March 25, 2015)
  • Salt-N-Pepa - "Push It" (March 25,2015)
  • Kelly Clarkson - "Heartbeat Song"/"At Last" (April 1, 2015)
  • Jason Derulo - "Want to Want Me" (April 8, 2015)
  • Florida Georgia Line - "Sippin' on Fire" (April 8, 2015)
  • Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson - "Trouble" (April 8, 2015)

Notable Past Idol Contestants Edit

  • Hannah Mrozak, who finished in the Top 48, later tried out for Season 13 of The Voice, where she had R&B superstar Jennifer Hudson as her mentor. She was eliminated in the Playoffs.
  • Sal Valentinetti, who was cut in Hollywood week, later tried out for Season 11 of America's Got Talent, where he finished in 5th place.


Season 14
Finalists
Nick Fradiani ·Clark Beckham ·Jax ·Rayvon Owen ·Tyanna Jones ·Quentin Alexander ·Joey Cook ·Qaasim Middleton ·Daniel Seavey ·Adanna Duru ·Maddie Walker ·Sarina-Joi Crowe
American Idol
Seasons
1  · 2  · 3  · 4 · 5  · 6  · 7  · 8  · 9  · 10  · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15 · 16 · 17 · 18 · 19
Judges
Simon Cowell (Seasons 1-9)  · Paula Abdul (Seasons 1-8) · Randy Jackson (Seasons 1-12) · Kara DioGuardi (Seasons 8-9) · Ellen DeGeneres (Season 9) · Steven Tyler (Seasons 10-11)  · Nicki Minaj (Season 12)  · Mariah Carey (Season 12) · Jennifer Lopez (Seasons 10-11,13-15)  · Keith Urban (Seasons 12-15)  · Harry Connick, Jr. (Seasons 13-15)  · Katy Perry (Seasons 16-)  · Luke Bryan (Seasons 16-)  · Lionel Richie (Seasons 16-)
Hosts
Ryan Seacrest (Seasons 1-16) · Brian Dunkleman (Season 1)
Winners
Kelly Clarkson · Ruben Studdard · Fantasia Barrino · Carrie Underwood · Taylor Hicks · Jordin Sparks · David Cook · Kris Allen · Lee DeWyze · Scotty McCreery · Phillip Phillips · Candice Glover · Caleb Johnson · Nick Fradiani · Trent Harmon · Maddie Poppe · Laine Hardy · Just Sam
Runners-up
Justin Guarini · Clay Aiken · Diana DeGarmo · Bo Bice · Katharine McPhee · Blake Lewis · David Archuleta · Adam Lambert · Crystal Bowersox · Lauren Alaina · Jessica Sanchez · Kree Harrison · Jena Irene · Clark Beckham · La'Porsha Renae · Caleb Lee Hutchinson · Alejandro Aranda · Arthur Gunn
Coronation Songs
"A Moment Like This" · "Flying Without Wings" · "I Believe" · "Inside Your Heaven" · "Do I Make You Proud" · "This Is My Now" · "The Time of My Life" · "No Boundaries" · "Beautiful Day" · "I Love You This Big" · "Home" · "I Am Beautiful" · "As Long As You Love Me" · "Beautiful Life" · "Falling" · "Going Going Gone" · "Flame"
Spin-offs
From Justin to Kelly · Juniors · Christmas
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