American Idol Finale Recap: Did the Right Singer Win Season 17?

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American Idol wrapped its 17th season on Sunday, delivering a three-hour extravaganza filled with live music, familiar faces and, as always, crippling disappointment.

In addition to the three remaining contestants — Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg — a number of eliminated singers also returned to perform in the finale. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon joined forces with Katy Perry, while Laci Kaye Booth shared the stage with Luke Bryan. Dimitrius Graham also came back to sing with Adam Lambert, while Alyssa Raghu performed with Kane Brown, and Uché got his dance on with Kool & the Gang.

We even got a triple-decker of a performance when Weezer teamed up with Wade Cota and Walker Burroughs. (I’m not even sure it’s worth mentioning that Montell Jordan performed alongside this season’s “most viral” Idol contestants… but I guess I just did anyway.)

As for this season’s top three, the finale featured collaborations between Dan + Shay and VanDenburg, as well as John Pardi with Hardy. Not to be outdone, however, Aranda came through with an unforgettable solo performance of his own.

Prior to Sunday’s broadcast, TVLine readers predicted that either Aranda or Hardy would win, with both singers getting 44 percent of the vote. But when it came to which singer should win, Aranda led by a mile, proving that even fans of Idol believe that the show’s results often don’t match up with the contestants’ talents. VanDenburg, meanwhile, was expected to finish in third place.

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