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'American Idol' crowns Trent Harmon "farewell" winner over La'Porsha Renae


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/08/2016 

American Idol has crowned Trent Harmon its fifteenth and final -- for now, at least -- winner.

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American Idol host Ryan Seacrest declared Trent, a 25-year-old waiter from Amory, MS, the champion of Season 15 during Thursday night's live two-hour finale broadcast on Fox.

Trent received more home viewer votes following Wednesday night's final performance show than runner-up La'Porsha Renae, a 22-year-old call representative from McComb, MS.

"I worked so hard; I worked so hard," Trent said in tears following his victory announcement.

"And I know that I have a God-given ability, but I didn't want to take it for granted. I wanted to work so, so hard. And [La'Porsha] pushed me to do it!"

After an encore performance of his coronation song "Falling," Trent looked up and yelled, "Thank you God!"

Trent then dropped to his knees, sobbing onstage as confetti filled the room and the farewell season's previously-eliminated contestants surrounded him and congratulated him.

When Ryan revealed Trent had won American Idol, the show's judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. appeared very surprised but thrilled.

The judges had dubbed this Final 2 the "closest race" ever on Idol, however, Trent was still viewed as the underdog.

La'Porsha was the frontrunner all season long with her consistent powerful vocals and strategic runs, but Trent captured the judges' hearts early on and only grew stronger as the competition progressed. Trent starting wowing the audience week after week with his soulful vibe, fast vibrato and high-pitched falsetto.

During Thursday night's finale broadcast, Trent and La'Porsha sang "It Takes Two" together in memory of Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini's duet way back in Season 1, which aired in Summer 2002.

Other than that, the grand finale was star-studded and jam-packed with incredible performances. All of Idol's 14 winners before Trent -- including Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks and Phillip Phillips -- took the stage and sang, while numerous standout contestants from seasons past also belted out some popular tunes.

Pia Toscano had a shining moment as well as Jennifer Hudson, Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez.

In a nice surprise, the show's original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson made an appearance together and paid tribute to Idol's history and success. Even Simon was getting emotional!

In addition, first-season Idol co-host Brian Dunkleman also made an appearance, as well as memorable terrible auditioneer William Hung.

The night concluded with Ryan getting a little choked up as he looked into the cameras and said, "Goodnight America" for the last time. However, before the broadcast ended Seacrest muttered, "for now" -- an apparent reference to Idol creator Simon Fuller's recent admission that he expects American Idol will "certainly be coming back" in a revamped format at some point in the future.



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