American Idol: My fantasy top ten

by Debra McDuffee, posted May 9th 2008 10:03AM
David Cook from American IdolWatching American Idol this season, I've come to the not-so-astute realization that we can't all like everyone who makes it to the top ten each season. There are different musical styles, personalities and, let's face it, some pretty crappy singers who make it through.

So I've begun to fantasize about an all-star AI top ten. Imagine if everyone that you really liked from the top ten of all the past seasons of AI were in the top ten together. I know the top ten can't be all the handsome rocker men I so adore, but it can be a good mix of good music, memorable personalities, and lasting talent.

If memory serves me correctly (and we all know it probably doesn't), these are the contestants that I'd pick, in no particular order:

1. Brooke White, season seven, fifth place
No, I'm not a sucker for a crier. I simply love her singer/songwriter style, something we really haven't ever seen in Idol and something I hope we see more of. When AI started, it was the boy-band voice, then it moved to the rockers; hopefully Brooke has started a new force of no-nonsense talent coming through.

2. Justin Guarini, season one, second place

I honestly don't know how to justify this choice when he did that really, really bad musical movie, whose name we will not mention. But to me, Justin personifies the American Idol spirit. He did have a well-rounded originality, and very, very cool hair. His sparkling personality and infectious gregariousness made him a fun performer to watch, and the boy could sing anything. I feel kind of bad that his career really went nowhere and I'm not sure why that was. Oh wait, I think we are back to that really bad movie. Time to move on ...

3. Gina Glocksen, season six, ninth place
I can't remember another contestant who was so true to herself, so happy, and so grateful to just be on the show (although Carly from this season had a similar attitude). I looked forward to hearing what Gina would sing each week; and I fondly remember her rendition of Heart's 'Alone.' She was voted out far too early.

4. David Cook, season seven, still going
At its inception, American Idol seemed to value boy band and Mariah Carey clones. As the seasons went on, originality was valued more and more. David Cook shines in a sea of originals, proving to be the contestant most willing to take a risk and continue to be true to himself. He's my favorite right now, and as in all seasons past, I hope he doesn't win (second place is a nice place to be!) so that he can get on with his career and not have to play "Mr. American Idol" for the next year.

5. Michael Johns, season seven, eighth place
Yep, he's definitely the most beautiful contestant ever to grace the AI stage. But he likes all the same music as I do, so when that incredibly charismatic stage presence reared its handsome head, singing one of my favorites, I'd melt. So we have good looks, great taste, heartfelt honesty and all-around nice guy. Michael Johns, you light my fire (I had to; I know it's campy, but I just had to!).

6. Blake Lewis, season six, second place
Another true original. How, oh how, can someone have a hauntingly clear and beautiful voice and beat-box at the same time? Blake pulled it off, and it was always fun to see how he'd change up and song and make it his own each week.

7. Jennifer Hudson, season three, seventh place

I know she belongs here now, because I know what greatness she has gone on to achieve. She doesn't really stand out in my mind as someone that was particularly original, or stunningly charismatic, but she's on my list for her obvious potential. Sometimes American Idol contestants can make a huge career for themselves, and AI serves only as the starting point.

8. Bo Bice, season four, second place
I'm a sucker for the Southern Rock, and no Idol contestant has ever done it as good as Bo Bice. This is as close as I could get to a country music style representative for this list (although Kelly Pickler made the runner-up list), as I am not a country fan (unless we are talking about Kenny Rogers, but I admit that to no one).

9. Fantasia Barrino, season three, first place
Why Fantasia? You've got to love her hard-luck, single mom dream-come-true story. She's unique and spunky, her voice and performances filled with emotion. Fantasia was never a wanna-be; she was the real deal; another contestant who was true to herself and came out ahead because of it.

10. Chris Daughtry, season five, fourth place
The rocker who started it all had to be on this list. Whether you love him or hate him (love him!), you've got to admit that he started something special on American Idol. He made the boy-band types look like a bunch of sissies (well-deserved) and inspired his rocker predecessors to continue to stomp the competition.

With only a list of ten and seventy people to choose from, let's just say narrowing it down was quite a task. Here are some contestants who deserved an honorable mention:

  • Chris Sligh (season six, tenth place) -- Too bad he gave up as time went on; loved his soulful voice and unique persona, his 'do and the fact that he had a drop-dead gorgeous wife.
  • Chikezie Ezie (season seven, tenth place) -- When he was hot, he was hot, but he needed to make bluesy and soulful song choices each week.
  • Taylor Hicks (season five, first place) -- For his dancing style alone, Taylor makes the mention, although he was a fun performer.
  • Constantine Maroulis (season four, sixth place) -- What would we have done without "the look?"
  • George Huff (season three, sixth place) -- Gotta love that smile and enthusiasm.
  • Carly Smithson (season seven, sixth place) -- Because she could belt it out with a smile, even in Spanx.
  • Ace Young (season five, seventh place) -- Just for looking good. Really good.
  • Jon Peter Lewis (season three, eighth place)-- Because he wrote for TV Squad last season, of course.
  • Elliott Yamin (season five, third place) -- For crying openly and often, like every man with a sense of himself should. And for getting his teeth fixed.
  • Melinda Doolittle (season six, third place) -- Simply for her professionalism and the best rendition of 'My Funny Valentine' I have ever heard.
  • Kelly Pickler (season five, sixth place) -- For finally trying sushi, and for being perky and cute-as-a-button.
  • Diana DeGarmo (season three, second place) -- For being a true competitor at her young age.

Did I get all of your favorites? Are you appalled that I left out Kelly Clarkson? Can you make peace with the fact that I don't like country music, and that I don't think all of the winners of AI deserve to be on this list?

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Turn in your credentials..............How can you not even consider carrie Underwood?

July 19 2011 at 3:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Melinda Doolittle number one, she will released her first album in fall and working Holiday cd Too. Keep you update about Melinda.

July 09 2008 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Elliott Yamin , the best eva singer. Elliott can sing anything. I have always loved how Elliott looked.. before and after. Elliott has a heart of gold and a voice of platinum. A treasure !

May 12 2008 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you're gonna kick out Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, then you gotta kick out Fantasia also. But great call on picking Gina Glocksen. She really knew how to perform, and I loved how she did Love Child.

Gina got the boot way too fast last year. She really has that edge in her voice and well, if you actually watch her "walk a stage" you will see that she knows she belongs.

I am still shocked that she hasn't gotten a recording deal yet. Or been taken up by a band.

How did she get voted off so early anyway? It can't all be Sanjaya's fault, or can it? I never got the fascination with Chris Richardson. Season 6 was the strangest of all the AI seasons. Good performers like Sabrina Sloane were screwed over, and lesser talents like Sanjaya got all the way to number 5 or 6 (wherever he/she got).

There is no way that VFTW can get someone that far by themselves. So there must be alot of deaf people out there.

May 12 2008 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fun idea! I've watched since day one, and my top 10 would be:

1. Kelly Clarkson
2. Carrie Underwood
3. David Cook
4. Chris Daughtry
5. Katharine McPhee
6. Jordin Sparks
7. Clay Aiken
8. Michael Johns
9. Carly Smithson
10. Blake Lewis

May 12 2008 at 2:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marcus Gorman

A choice out of 70?

First season had a top 10.
Seasons 2-7 had top 12s.

12 x 6 = 72

72 + 10 = 82.

Whee! Even more to pick from!

May 11 2008 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry Skaggs

Bad fantasy to have the queen of blubbering as #1, obviously author has no taste in music or in assessing talent.

May 11 2008 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
OK DeSign

Totally agree.
but i hate season 7 now.. it's really sucks.
i hope they will get better cuz' i don't really know if i will keep watching this...

May 10 2008 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Quite the lists appearing.There are so many to remember.
Whenever I hear criticism regarding Taylors voice, I always remember what Simon said, "You really have a very good voice" with all your balminess".
I think Taylor belongs in Vegas, along with Wayne Newton, Paul Anka, as they are all excellent entertainers.
You have to be an entertainer, not just a singer, no one will remember you.
The ones that stick in my mind are: Bucky Covington, Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice, Taylor Hicks, Elliott Yamine,
Diana d'Garbo, Chris Daughtry, Kelly Pickler, Kelly Clarkson, and Fantasia.

May 09 2008 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

10. Taylor Hicks (he's a fun, live performer...Woo!)
9. Michael Johns (he just started to loosen up and show his bluesy side; wanna see more)
8. Gina Glocksen (best female rock voice ever on the show! gone too soon.)
7. Kelly Clarkson (best female pop voice ever on the show!)
6. David Cook (wanna hear HIS originality; no more covers of covers...)
5. Bo Bice (fun, in a throwback kinda way.)
4. Chris Sligh (interesting)
3. Elliot Yamin (doing jazzy/bluesy; no cheap R & B, please.)
2. Brooke White (one of the most interesting female performers; but, no crying, unless it's feeling the song!)
1. Constantine Maroulis (rockin' glam crooning theaterboi!! Bringing sexy back!!)

May 09 2008 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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