History-making series ends its 15-season run with star-studded celebration on FOX
Finale featured every 'American Idol' Winner, with performances by superstars Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Phillip Phillips, Kellie Pickler, Colton Dixon and David Cook
Former judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson also returned for finale
Thursday night on "American Idol," the lights were dimmed for a final time and host Ryan Seacrest made one last dream come true, as Trent Harmon, 25, from Amory, Mississippi, was named the 15th and final "American Idol" in the history-making series finale live from Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. He beat out La'Porsha Renae.
Harmon celebrated his win with a performance of "Falling," which is available for download exclusively on americanidol.com and iTunes.
Harmon is the 15th competitor to win the prestigious "American Idol" title, joining the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scott McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candace Glover, Caleb Johnson and Nick Fradiani.
President Barack Obama kicked off the finale with a videotaped statement that paid tribute to the series and its impact on the nation. During the show, season four winner Underwood and "American Idol" judge Keith Urban sang "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"; judge Harry Connick Jr. sang "What A Wonderful World" with New Orleans student Marley Fletcher; judge Jennifer Lopez performed her new single, "Ain't Your Mama"; fan-favorite contestant William Hung sang the chorus of "She Bangs"; and, in a surprise appearance, former judge Simon Cowell returned to join Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson in paying tribute to Seacrest.
The finale also saw epic performances by the top 10 finalists alongside "American Idol" alumni including Clarkson, Underwood and Jennifer Hudson, plus Studdard, Fantasia, Hicks, Sparks, Cook, Allen, DeWyze, McCreery, Phillips, Glover, Johnson, Fradiani, Ace Young, Allison Iraheta, Amber Holcomb, Blake Lewis, Bo Bice, Brandon Rogers, Bucky Covington, Carly Smithson, Casey James, Chris Daughtry, Clark Beckham, Clay Aiken, Colton Dixon, Constantine Maroulis, Danny Gokey, Diana DeGarmo, Elliott Yamin, George Huff, James Durbin, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Justin Guarini, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Kimberley Locke, Kree Harrison, LaToya London, Lauren Alaina, Melinda Doolittle, Pia Toscano, Sanjaya, Skylar Laine, Tamyra Gray and more as they returned to the stage that started it all to celebrate the grand finale.
"American Idol": Host Ryan Seacrest and special guest Brian Dunkleman open the "American Idol" finale. (© 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. photo by Ray Mickshaw)
"American Idol": Judge Keith Urban and "American Idol" Carrie Underwood perform during the Finale on FOX. (© 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. photo by Ray Mickshaw)
"American Idol": Past "Idols" open the "American Idol" finale. (© 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. photo by Ray Mickshaw)