Best 'American Idol' Performances Ever

by AOL TV Staff, posted Jan 6th 2009 6:00AM
Kelly ... Ruben ... Carrie ... David ...

They may all own the title of 'American Idol,' but winning is one thing -- turning in one of the show's most memorable performances is something else entirely.

We scoured through the past seven seasons to come up with the 16 best. Then YOU, the fans, voted for the No. 1 greatest 'Idol' performance of all time. See who topped the list.

American Idol' Best Performances Ever

Kelly ... Ruben ... Carrie ... David ... They may all own the title of 'American Idol,' but winning is one thing -- turning in one of the show's most memorable performances is something else entirely. We scoured through the past seven seasons to come up with the 16 best. Then YOU, the fans, voted for the No. 1 greatest 'Idol' performance of all time. See who topped the list.




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Ray Mickshaw, WireImage.com / Frank Micelotta, FOX

16. Kelly Clarkson
Season 1 | Aug. 6, 2002
Song: 'Stuff Like That There'

Why It Blew Us Away:
By the time season 1 hit the top 6, we knew Kelly had some serious chops. But the moment she took the stage on Big Band night, she transformed before our eyes into some 1940s torch singer at a smoky nightclub, giving us sass, style, vocal control and joy to spare in a singular, electrifying performance that's never really been equaled since.

See It on YouTube.




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Everett Collection

15. David Cook
Season 7 | March 25, 2008
Song: 'Billie Jean'

Why It Blew Us Away:
Performing a cover of a cover during Top 10 Week turned out to be the smartest choice David Cook ever made. Turning the song into a rock-infused ballad showed he had star quality, and that he knew how to play the game. The move was both bold and refreshing, and Randy predicted that David was going to clean the floor with the competition. And indeed he did.

See It on YouTube.




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F Micelotta, Getty Images

14. Ruben Studdard
Season 2 | Feb. 1, 2003
Song: 'Superstar'

Why It Blew Us Away:
Ruben's first semifinal performance was an early indicator that the Velvet Teddy Bear's voice was as plush as his plus-size figure. He gave us all chills with this incredibly soulful, tender version of a song already a hit twice over (by the Carpenters and Luther Vandross). Though Studdard's not yet lived up to the title, his performance stole the win from Clay Aiken.

See It on YouTube.




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Fox

13. Frenchie Davis and Kimberley Locke
Season 2 | Hollywood Week, 2003
Song: 'Band of Gold'

Why It Blew Us Away:
OK, technically Frenchie Davis wasn't an 'American Idol' contestant, as she was disqualified before the competition started. But her tight, toe-tapping duet with Kimberley Locke during Hollywood Week remains the best 'AI' audition we've ever seen -- and one of the very few times a group number hasn't made us want to wash our ears out with drain cleaner.

See It on YouTube.




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Joan Marcus, WireImage

12. Jason Castro
Season 7 | March 4, 2008
Song: 'Hallelujah'

Why It Blew Us Away:
The laidback, guitar-strumming dread-head's two upbeat semifinal sets made us smile but not much more. Then he put down the guitar and busted out a haunting, soulful performance of this Jeff Buckley song. Suddenly, Castro transformed from "whatever" to contender.

See It on YouTube.




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Frank Micelotta, FOX

11. Tamyra Gray
Season 1 | Aug. 13, 2002
Song: 'A House Is Not a Home'

Why It Blew Us Away:
Critics predicted this poignant, near perfect performance would secure Tamyra's place in the finale against Kelly Clarkson. Even Simon said it was one of the greatest performances he'd ever seen. Then, inexplicably, Tamyra was booted a week later, edged out by (gasp!) Nikki McKibbin.

See It on YouTube.




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Fox

10. Lakisha Jones
Season 6 | Feb. 21, 2007
Song: 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going'

Why It Blew Us Away:
By the time LaKisha performed 'And I Am Telling You,' Jennifer Hudson was well on her way to winning an Oscar for 'Dreamgirls.' But in just two minutes, LaKisha gave an Oscar-worthy performance of her own, infusing this classic diva number with new life and energy; it was enough to make us think "Jennifer who?"

See It on YouTube.




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Fox Broadcasting

9. Fantasia Barrino
Season 3 | April 13, 2004
Song: 'Summertime'

Why It Blew Us Away:
No matter how intense their performances, it's rare for contestants to exhibit genuine emotion on stage. And that's what made Fantasia's plaintive rendition of this Porgy and Bess classic so moving. By the end of it, Fantasia surely wasn't the only person with tears streaming down her cheeks.

See It on YouTube.




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Fox

8. Chris Daughtry
Season 5 | March 1, 2006
Song: 'Hemorrhage (In My Hands)'

Why It Blew Us Away:
Daughtry's raw yet heartfelt rendition of the Fuel song won him legions of fans early on -- and even prompted the band to ask him to be their lead singer. He quickly earned front-runner status, leaving everyone shocked when he fell short of making it into the top 3. But he had the last laugh by becoming one of 'AI''s most successful alums, selling more than 4 million copies of his band's debut album.

See It on YouTube.




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Everett Collection

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grammacg816

could not believe James was put off he is talented and with very warm human emotions thats a great combination I pray we see more of him.I feel him. Good Luck James

May 16 2011 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
notrigl

Unfortunately, You forgot to include one of the best performances ever on Idol, Pia Toscano, who due to fraudulent balloting, she was eliminated! That's why I and thousands of others no longer watch Idol! It's on its last legs,

May 09 2011 at 1:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jjsmith@earthling.net

The New World Order Blog

thecomingnewworldorder.blogspot.com

March 02 2011 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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