American Idol: My fantasy top ten
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.
Gallery: American Idol: My fantasy top ten
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?