Jax steals the show as ‘American Idol’ crowns 14th season champion
Nick Fradiani is the latest winner of "American Idol" but it was East Brunswick's Jax who stole the show.
The 29-year-old rocker of Guilford, Connecticut, bested soulful 22-year-old vocalist Clark Beckham of White House, Tennessee, to win the 14th edition of the Fox talent competition.
"This is amazing," he told "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest. "This is the best day of my life."
Jax, however, returmed to the show with other contestants from the season and did a sizzling duet with Steven Tyler of "Piece of My Heart" which found her side-by-side on the judges desk with the Aerosmith lead singer.
After the performance, Jax was able to comment on her third place finish the night before for the first time. Taking the mircophone from host Seacrest, Jax calmly said, "I want to say thank you to the fans and the judges for giving me this epic platform."
Judge Harry Connick Jr, who makes it a habit not to meet the contestants while they are on the show, admits he thought she could win. "I remember the day — I can say this now — when I saw Jax audition, I really thought she had a pretty good chance to win," Connick told MyCentralJersey.com. "I'm so proud of her. She is a legitimate artist." He offered to help her advance her career but added, "she doesn't need it."
Jax says she has not had any conversations with mentor Scott Borchetta about a contract with his Big Machine Records and was "bummed" about not making the final two. "It's so weird. I really thought I would be super sad, but I'm just kind of relieved that I don't have to worry about getting through to the next round or the stress of the end of it," she told MyCentralJersey.com. "But I'm happy. I think I got so much out of this. I got the best friends I'm ever going to make in my entire life, family, music."
Winner Fradiani joins such champions as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Phillip Phillips and Kris Allen, as well one more winner to be determined next year. Fox announced earlier this week that the next season would be the last for "Idol."
Before he was revealed as the winner on Wednesday, Fradiani dueted with singer-songwriter Andy Grammer.
"I can't even think right now," Fradiani said after Seacrest informed him that he received the most viewer votes - without revealing the exact number cast.
Fradiani's win came on the strength of his renditions Tuesday of Matchbox 20's "Bright Lights," Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up" and "Beautiful Life," intended as his first single. Beckham sang Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind," Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Champion."
The two-hour extravaganza kicked off with Fradiani and Beckham joining Fall Out Boy on their song "Centuries."
The series' penultimate finale also resurrected Chic, Ricky Martin, NKOTB, Michael McDonald and Steven Tyler for performances, as well as judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.
The once-blockbuster singing contest, which hit a peak of 30.3 million viewers in 2005, is now averaging 9.15 million viewers per episode, according to the Nielsen company.
Lopez, Urban and Connick Jr. are due back at the judges' table for next year's 15th and final "Idol" outing. Beckham had a few words of advice for those looking to become the last-ever "Idol."
"You have to be good at lot of different things," he said. "It's not just singing a song."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
- 'American Idol' Finale: Jax Gets Closure Rocking Out With Steven Tyler / Billboard
- Jax plans to 'live mas' after 'American Idol' / MyCentralJersey.com