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FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season - Show

The show finale marked the end of one of the most successful reality TV shows of all time, and many singers from the show’s past stopped by to help sing “Idol’s” swan song. Two two-hour live spectacle included surprise guest stars and star-studded performances, and was a throwback to the show’s heyday.

Here are 7 moments that left us crying “Encore!”

1. Brian Dunkleman got the final laugh

Many fans had forgotten that Ryan Seacrest once shared hosting duties with Brian Dunkleman, who left the show after the first season. That exit may have made him the butt of many jokes, but he got some much-needed redemption when he surprised Seacrest at the beginning of the show to offer him some insight on what life is like being unemployed after “Idol.”

2. The gang was all there

FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season - Show

An impressive number of former contestants — at least 45 by our count — returned to the “Idol” stage on Thursday. For the show’s opening number, the former contestants lined the stage to sing together. Later, previous winners including Jordin Sparks and Phillip Phillips sang alongside other contestants in a variety of pop, country and rock performances.

3. Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson reminded us how electric they are

FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season - Show

The show’s two most successful winners — Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson — both paid tribute to the show that launched their incredible careers. A pregnant Clarkson was unable to attend the live show, but instead performed a medley of her hits in a pretaped segment. Underwood, meanwhile, rocked the stage in a short skirt and skin-baring top — a very different look compared to the simple country girl clothing from her “Idol” days.


Surprise! It’s Simon Cowell!

FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season - Show

Original judge Simon Cowell was supposed to be a no-show, so when he strode out on stage to stand with fellow original judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, Seacrest seemed genuinely shocked. Cowell congratulated the current judging panel on a job well done.

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‘American Idol” Finale: 7 Ways It Was Sweet, Smart And Left Us Wanting More  was originally published on