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End of an Era

The Best 'American Idol' Finale Performances, From Kelly Clarkson to Jennifer Lopez

The show proved just why it will forever be a pop culture landmark

1 / 5

Kelly Clarkson's Epic Medley

If you needed any reminder that Kelly Clarkson is one of the best vocalists and most successful American Idol winners (but you should honestly know that already), then her finale performance is here to school you! The AI OG effortlessly soared through a medley that included hits like "Since U Been Gone," "Because of You" and "Breakaway." The mommy-to-be wrapped up in the most fitting way—an a capella version of 2002's "A Moment Like This."

2 / 5

Jennifer Lopez's "Ain't Your Mama"/"Let's Get Loud" Mashup

It's already a known fact that J. Lo puts on one hell of a performance, and the AI judge ignited the finale in the fiercest way. The Latina diva kicked things off with her "Ain't Your Mama" single, as she and her dancers dressed up as the sexiest maids I've ever seen. Lopez turned up the heat even more by transforming the finale into a mini version of her Vegas residency with the vibrant "Let's Get Loud." You can't beat a mix of feathers, various costume changes and tons of booty shaking!

3 / 5

Keith Urban & Carrie Underwood's "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"

Carrie Underwood has transformed into a major country artist ever since winning American Idol in 2005, and she showcased her undeniable talent (and enviable legs) during the finale. Joined by Keith Urban, the two fused country and rock with their performance of Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty's 1981 "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" classic.

4 / 5

Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson & LaToya London Come Together

You can't have an American Idol finale without the three divas: FantasiaJennifer Hudson and LaToya London! The ladies, who were all on the show's third season together, reunited with a beautiful rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water." Hudson closed out the medley with her soulful performance of Empire's “Remember The Music." 

5 / 5

Jessica Sanchez Stuns During the Acoustic Medley

There were plenty of medleys during the finale, but the one that stood out the most was the acoustic segment. It included Katharine McPhee, Casey James, Carly Smithson, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard and Amber Holcomb. But the contestant that took everyone's breath away was Jessica Sanchez. The 11th season's runner-up captured the audience with her take on "The Prayer." If you didn't get chills after this performance, you might want to check your pulse.

For more American Idol nostalgia, view our post on the finale, check out a roundup of the most successful losers and click here to remember what the world was like when the show's first episode aired!

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Photo of the day

Apr. 26th: Fun Night

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