American Idol Top 3: Clark Beckham reappears and his moment might be enough to take down Nick Fradiani and Jax for the Season 14 title



The Final 3 is the week where American Idol is won.

So why didn’t it feel that way Wednesday?

It’s tough to ignore the history of the Final 3, especially when six of the last seven winners have had an Idol ‘moment’ in this round. Don’t believe me?

Last year we saw Gina Geena Jena Irene sing “Creep.” Season 11 (Season 12 never happened) saw Phillip Phillips deliver his most stunning performance with “We’ve Got Tonight.” Season 9 was Lee DeWyze crushing out “Hallelujah.” Season 8 was Kris Allen and the most clutch performance in the history of the show, “Heartless.” Season 7 saw David Cook put the nail in the coffin with “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Season 6 had Jordin Sparks put her foot down on “I (Who Have Nothing).”

What did Season 14 have?

For starters, it was the best all-around vocal show of the season. Clark Beckham, Nick Fradiani, Jax and Rayvon Owen all had their voices on point. They didn’t sing Wednesday night; they saaaaaaa-ng.

But the song choices and arrangements weren’t what they needed to be.

Going off history, Clark Beckham just won the damn show. After a miserable start to the night – where he looked uncomfortable as he forced his way through U2’s “Beautiful Day,” SCREAMIN SCOTT BORCHETTA’S pick for him – he got his mojo back with a soulful rendition of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.”

And his final performance? Well, if that’s our moment Season 14 hasn’t lived up to the hype, but it was still pretty damn solid.

Beckham comes out and sings “Earned It,” a song from 50 Shades of Gray, which had to have been a challenge because a) it was picked by J-Lo and that means she wants to bang him and not Nick; and b) by all accounts Clark is a religious man and I don’t know if his God – or any god, for that matter – is a big fan of anything involved with a movie that involves nipple clips, leather whips and gag balls.

Still, he crushed it. There was soul. There was attitude. There was his voice.

Clark was back, but was it too late?

The man from Nashville has been mysteriously absent of accolades the last few weeks thanks in part to some stellar performances from the other three, who tonight sang safe instead of big.

It worked for Fradiani, who had his usual playlist for the 35-plus female crowd, including a little-to-fast-for-me version of Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be,” which I’m sure many of the older female sect lost their V-card to or at least had a few experiences listening to while in the backseat of a beat up automobile in the late 90s. Nick’s setlist was so Nick it hurt, but he didn’t have that moment that Kris Allen did in the Final 3 and while he looks like the favorite coming down the homestretch, if he doesn’t have THE MOMENT next week he won’t win.

Jax was good enough to be a star but not good enough to win Idol. All three of her performances were terrific, but none really made you stop and make you want to call your mother. She deserves bonus points for her last performance, because Harry throwing Paramore’s “Misery Business” at her was cruel and unusal punishment. Her vocal was terrific, but the acoustic take sounded terrible because, spoiler alert, that song is an abortion of music (sorry young people).

I was shocked Rayvon was eliminated because he’s Rayvon. His first performance was awesome even if Jason DeRulo is more of a one-hit wonder than Ray Rice. His Stevie Wonder take was vocally perfect, but sounded like Top 12 Rayvon instead of “oh crap I’m going home” Rayvon. I thought “You Are So Beautiful” had a chance to be the moment, but it fell a little short with the arrangement and he ended up being booted anyway.

So with all that said, Clark backdoored his way to the final. At this point not including him would be a farce because he, more than any other contestant, has the chance to have that big moment. I love Jax as a performer – or would if I was younger and I’m sure I’ll be listening to her soon when my 3-year old screams for whatever her first fire flames single is – but I still don’t think she has the pipes or theatrics to pull off the big Idol performance.

Nick? Well, he’s got the ability, but if I’m him I’m not straying from the playbook. Lite Rock Out with your cock out and hope it works because his game plan isn’t like anything we’ve seen; I mean, even Kris Allen swayed from the same genre week after week. Nick’s riding momentum and I think he’s headed to the final.

But he’s not winning.

Not if history repeats itself, as it so often does on this show.

Clark has momentum after the final two performances and if he can match those songs with a decent setlist that has the song of the season, it’s over.

He set himself up for the title.

And on a night where it didn’t look or sound like anyone wanted to win, it might be good enough to bright the Idol crown to Nashville.