Since its first season aired in 2002, American Idol has been both an indelible monument in the American pop culture landscape and a microcosm of it — glitzy, democratic, unabashedly earnest. On Thursday night, its curtains will close.
The show’s ratings fell in its final years, but the caliber of talent has stayed consistent, as proven by the performances in the first part of the two-part finale on Wednesday night. Twenty-year-old Dalton Rapattoni was voted off, leaving La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon to vie for the title on Thursday. All three debuted original singles: Rapattoni with “Strike A Match”; Renae with “Battles”; Harmon with “Falling.” Watch below: