After a close race, the 24-year-old beat out La’Porsha Renae to earn the musical championship.
“I know that I have a God-given ability, but I didn’t want to take it for granted. I wanted to work so, so hard, and Renae pushed me to do it,” Harmon said.
The state of Mississippi was guaranteed a victory, since both of the final two hailed from the Magnolia State. Harmon worked as a waiter at his family’s restaurant prior to his stint on American Idol. Renae was a single mother who used the strength she gained from overcoming domestic abuse to push her performances to the next level.
The finale episode had several notable guests and speakers, including President Barack Obama, who taped a congratulatory message on the show reaching 15 years.
Snarky former judge Simon Cowell also returned, along with other originals Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Cowell, known for his heart of stone, shockingly said that he was “feeling quite emotional” about American Idol drawing to a close.
Performances were in no short supply, either. Both the current judges (Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., and Keith Urban) and and a handful of former contestants, including Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson, put on quite a show.
Wo what’s next for Trent Harmon? The victor has said he plans to start immediate work with Scott Borchetta, president of Big Machine Records to put out an album.
Despite the rapid new work schedule he has planned, Harmon still took a moment to celebrate. He said of the moment after the win, “So much decompression got to leave my body in that moment. That’s why I fell on the ground because I finally got to take a breath. I haven’t taken a breath in almost a year.”