Nick Fradiani named 14th American Idol

Nick Fradiani (Courtesy of Fox)

A season before its final year on the air, “American Idol” has chosen its winner but not without controversy.

For its penultimate season, 29-year-old rock crooner Nick Fradiani bested the soulful 22-year-old performer Clark Beckham for the title in what was seen as a surprise win.

Polls throughout America thought Beckham had a better performance finale on Tuesday, May 12, with his rendition of “Georgia on my Mind” by Ray Charles, “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, and the original song “Champion.” But in the official tally, Fradiani was named the 14th American Idol in the finale on May 13 after audiences watched him perform “Bright Lights” by Matchbox Twenty, “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz, and the new single “Beautiful Life” the night before.

A lot were disappointed with the favorite Beckham’s loss, with one frustrated fan saying, “America has been getting it wrong since Season 10.”

But experts point to Beckham’s uninspired performance of “Champion,” which they say had “no soul” and “doesn’t represent him as an artist whatsoever,” that did him in. Fradiani’s “Beautiful Life,” in contrast, was seen as the “better song,” with judge Harry Connick Jr. saying he was lucky he had a song written for him. Fradiani indeed “felt it” deeply and had no problems giving a fun and memorable performance.