Will Kelly Clarkson's inaugural American Idol win be matched by an equally talented bookend when the series airs its final episode next week? Not if the voting public has anything to do with it!

Since Season 15's semifinal rounds, it's been clear that La'Porsha Renae, a 22-year-old call center representative and single mother, is the show's most realized talent. Clarkson has said itIdol's most technically sound alumna, Melinda Doolittle, has said it, and until last night, the voting public seemed to be on board. But, in keeping with Idol's recent tradition of letting white panic and male favoritism dictate who's crowned, she was nearly eliminated in favor of sparing two dull men whose onstage personalities register as a collective "I can't find my mother in this expansive department store."

After a striking rendition of Common and John Legend's "Glory" that Keith Urban likened to a musical baptism (you can watch it above) during last night's (March 30) penultimate round, Renae barely squeaked by to the final rounds. In fairness, the related votes were cast last week, but Renae was no less impressive then.

Dalton Rapattoni, a 20-year-old vocal coach (receipts...?) who's reliably and atom-splittingly flat, advanced with the wind at his back, naturally. He sang a version of "Dancing in the Dark" that would have left The Boss scrambling for a meeting with HR.

Trent Harmon, a 25-year-old waiter, is a perfectly capable vocalist, but if one more whiskey-toting country singer wins I'm going to take a reflexive oath of sobriety.

Should Renae fail to take her rightful throne, at least Idol fans will prove to be consistent. Since Season 5 aired a decade ago, there have been only two nonwhite-male winners (yes: eight white men have won in the interim, and most have been pretty unremarkable).

Idol's three-night finale event airs next week.

Look Back at a Collection of Defining American Idol Moments From Season 1:

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