Nick Fradiani should win Season 14 of American Idol and here’s why (PS I still love Clark Beckham)

He wins.

He wins.

When I said Nick Fradiani was going to Kris Allen his way to the American Idol Season 14 title, I was kinda joking.

He clearly had the look, had a good enough sound and was playing the game better than anyone.

But to see it actually happen?

Before I get too ahead of myself, Nick still has to actually win the show, but based on what we saw tonight there is no way he shouldn’t. He outperformed Clark Beckham in the most important weeks of the season and in Tuesday’s finale, was the beneficiary of a significantly better original first single. I’m so confident Nick’s going to win tomorrow I’ve already tattooed “NICK 2015 IDOL CHAMP” on my ass.

More importantly, the majority of Jax’s votes – young, pop music enthusiasts (AKA those young bastards who think the world revolves around them) – are all voting for Nick because he sounded the like the 22-year old while Clark came off sounding like he was 40, or however old Nick actually is.

Fradiani won the show because he played the game better. You’ll read a lot of sites who post reviews on the show and few, if any, refer to game play. Nick found a sound that worked for him and his audience and never swayed from it. He never had a bad performance and was always just on the outside of the elite performers. As they took risks and he kept in his lane, they crashed and burned on the side of the road while he flashed his baby blues/greens/whatever color and smiled his pearly white smile, his hipster, lovable douchey hair flowing in the wind.

Nick won American Idol because he balanced every part of being an American Idol perfectly. While Qaasim Middletown tried to perform his way to a final, Rayvon Owen tried to use his angelic voice, Nick managed to find a balance of not being the best performer and not having the best voice. Being the best looking dude on the show since Michael Johns (RIP) didn’t hurt his cause, but his ability to blend strong vocals with confident performances made him better than your usual contender.

Tonight’s finale was Nick at his finest. Was his cover of Matchbox 20’s “Bright” his best performance? Nope. Did it make viewers notice it? Uh, yeah. I never heard that song until Nick performed it and now it’s my favorite Matchbox 20 song (PS Anything Rob Thomas does is Matchbox 20 in my eyes. SHUT IT).

For his second song, he sang Jason Mraz “I Won’t Give Up” – a video most famous for Mr. A-Z looking like a hobo asking for change – and made it sound exactly like David Gray’s “This Year’s Love” minus the knee-melting English accent. Coming out of Nick’s mouth though? His best performance of the season and a perfectly timed one.

He closed the night with a championship performance. Some are going to say Clark didn’t win American Idol because his song, “Champions,” was cheesy and horrible and wasn’t what we’d expected from Clark if he made a record. Nick’s song, “Beautiful Life,” wasn’t something I’d pump at a party (yes I would), but it was clearly better and tailor-made for Nick.

Clark didn’t have a bad night. Don’t take my crowning of Nick as a sign that Clark sucked. He didn’t. His opener was brilliant and J-Lo, who humps a fence more than she does rap label CEOs, nailed it when she said the first round between Nick and Clark was a draw. His second performance was decent but overshadowed by Nick; his final song wasn’t for him and it all but sealed his fate.

Before I close, gotta say something about Jax because I genuinely wonder how she would have done had she been given a chance. Based on how close it was between the three – in talent as well as vote totals – I think Idol, a show which makes up the rules as it goes more than someone playing a home game of Monopoly, would have been better off saying “all three are singing and whoever gets the most votes wins.”

Jax was a hell of a contender, but when Rayvon Owen was sent home her fate was sealed. Had she made it over either of the two, there wouldn’t have been much of an argument from anyone that she didn’t deserve it. This season, more than any, has been close down to the end and it didn’t stop with the surprise/not a surprise eviction of Jax.

What I was glad to see was Nick won the show. No, he didn’t have the best vocals. No, he didn’t have the best performance of the season. No, he didn’t have a Dudes Review Idol Top 30 of all time song.

Yes, he wore a GI Joe jacket in his final performance. He didn’t need someone to falter because he just kept performing week after week.

Nick’s consistency, ability to entertain, perform the right songs the right way and just being a super hunk won him Season 14 of American Idol.

And the fact nobody* saw it coming makes it even better.

*Except this guy