In Tight 'Idol' Final, Laine Hardy Takes The Win Over Alejandro Aranda

In Tight 'Idol' Final, Laine Hardy Takes The Win Over Alejandro Aranda

Fans of “Game of Thrones’ might not be aware they had finale competition Sunday night.

“American Idol’ crowned its latest pop star in a show that packed a musical punch special guests and with a perceived wallop of an insult from a current judge.

Running a full three hours, the show was way too long to have the last 3.5 minutes devoted to naming winner from the finalists — Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg, who was cut early in the show. But ratings, ratings, ratings.

Everyone performed: the contestants, former contestants, previous idols, runners up, chart toppers, the judges. Heck, someone from the audience may have performed, we’re not sure. Our ears started to glaze over.

The cavalcade of performances proved that the audience made the right choice when Carrie Underwood was named “American Idol’ back in season 4. The country superstar has come a long way from duets with Bo Bice to sell more than 16 million albums in the United States and more than 65 million worldwide.

Of course, Sunday night’s show also put a fine point on one of its biggest gaffes – Kris Allen over Adam Lambert. Can’t remember the last time we saw Allen – and Lambert is the front man for Queen, metaphorically sharing the spotlight with the legendary Freddie Mercury. He sang “Bohemian Rhapsody’ with former contestant Dimitrius Graham who held his own during that BIG song. Lambert also performed “New Eyes.’

And Sunday night’s finale proved to be as much of an upset as the Allen over Lambert. First, VanDenburg was eliminated early in the show after performing Lady Gaga’s “Shallow’ and “Breakaway’ by Kelly Clarkson, leaving Aranda vs. Hardy.

No denying both are talented performers but one is on another performance plane. Aranda has been consistently praised for his songwriting and guitar playing skills. Over time Aranda emerged as the frontrunner, though slight, over his fellow idol wannabes.

Judge Katy Perry actually thought Aranda may have sealed the deal with his performance of his own song, “Tonight.’ (He performed FOUR original songs Sunday, BTW.)

“Look, I love being on ‘American Idol,’ ‘ Perry said. “But of course, some would say in the past, ‘American Idol’ – you know, it’s been a bit of a karaoke show. Not anymore. When people like you come on, you bring original music. You bring artistry, and you make the stakes even higher.’

OK, she’s not wrong to say “Idol’ is/was a karaoke show, but it might have pointed out a reason for Aranda not to get the lion’s share of the vote to give him the crown.

We’ve long said this show has a varied of teens and pre-teens and, yeah, we’re just going to say it – women who are likely boomers not Gen Xers. And many of those folk, though keeping troubadour Ed Sheeran on the pop chart, are likely drawn to covers and not original songs.

And yes, Aranda sang a few covers here and there including Coldplay and Drake, but he wears his songs like a comfortable coat.

So, when it came time to vote, it was no surprise that Laine Hardy, with his movie-idol looks, Southern charm and smooth covers of Sam Cooke’s “Bring it On Home to Me,’ “Jambalaya’ by Hank Williams and “Home’ by Marc Broussard, took home the big prize leaving the uber-talented Aranda almost looking relieved. We told you it was the teen and granny vote that decide the “Idol” winner – and we say that being old enough to be part of the grandma tribe.

Hardy was the long shot at +250 on BetOnline – so props to him. He gets a record contract. But ultimately so does Aranda – but on his own terms singing his own songs. Hmm, who is the real winner?