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Kelly Clarkson Caps Off Breakneck ‘Idol’ Finale Medley With Huge ‘Moment’

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The insignia scattered across last night’s American Idol series finale might have read Season 15, and the number of featured former contestants suggested the show’s been around for a century. But for a moment, inaugural winner Kelly Clarkson brought viewers right back to the very first crowning moment in 2002.

For nearly five minutes on Idol‘s final episode, Clarkson made enduring Idol fans’ dreams come true when she trekked through her career’s most famous hits at Mach 3 speed. “Because of You” lyrics delivered across “Behind These Hazel Eyes” production? That’s certainly a new one. “Stronger” peppered with “Dark Side” interludes? We’ll definitely take it.

The success of her career’s singles considered, Idol‘s first queen earned her most pronounced applause when she backtracked to her 14-year-old coronation song “A Moment Like This,” her first Billboard No. 1 hit. Yes, it’s been awhile since Kelly was a contestant, and many have come since, but Idol was the house that Kelly built, and she would be damned if anyone forgot to knock before entering.

The Season 15 finale also proved to be a showcase for the vindicated. Pia Toscano: You were unjustly ousted from Season 10 so that pitchy country gimmicks could shine? Please show them how it’s done:

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Melinda Doolittle: You are the most technically sound vocalist in the show’s history, but only came in third on Season 6? Have at it, kid:

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And from Carly Smithson to Tamyra Gray, Elliott Yamin to an INCREDIBLE reunion of Season 3’s divas, the Season 15 spectacular was like a who’s who of should-have-been-winners-or-at-least-finalists.

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The only snag in an otherwise fantastic show? Idol picked the wrong winner…again…for the eighth time in 10 years. Thank god it’s over.

See What Former ‘Idol’ Winners Looked Like During Their Crowning Moments:

Next: Here's How 'American Idol' Cured Me Of My Teenage Pop Culture Shame

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