American Idol All-Time Greatest Performances (Day 2): Fantasia, Trenyce, Tamyra Compete!

Things are getting positively Thunderdomeian* in the American Idol universe. That’s because has taken 64 of the most electrifying moments in the 10-season history of Fox’s ratings juggernaut, pitted them into single-elimination faceoffs, and invited all of you to stand around and cheer as bloody good times ensue. “Two songs enter! One song leaves!” Oh hell yeah, that’s how we do! (*Totally a word now.)

Yes, ladies and gents, welcome to Day Two of the American Idol All-Time Greatest Performance Bracket Tournament! We’ve split our game into four distinct divisions: Power Vocalist/Soul Males; Rock/Country/Alternative Males; Soul/Pop Divas; and Pop/Rock/Country Divas. Every day at 1:00 p.m. ET over the next few weeks, we’ll launch a new set of duels to the death that will have you joyously reliving your favorite Idol moments and tearfully cursing us for making you choose between ’em.

Before you head to the polls, you may want to peruse these memory-refreshing links to the performances entering the ring this afternoon:

Fantasia Barrino, ”Summertime” (Movie Night)
Fantasia Barrino, ”I Believe” (Final 2 Performance Night)
Trenyce, “Proud Mary
Kendra Chantelle, “Georgia on My Mind
La Toya London, “Don’t Rain On My Parade
Mandisa, “I Don’t Want to Hurt Anymore
Tamyra Gray, “A House Is Not a Home
Syseha Mercado, “A Change Is Gonna Come

It’s gonna hurt to see four of those great Idol moments snuffed out in Round One, no? So make sure the right choice is made by heading down to our polls to vote for your favorites (Round 1 voting will be open for 72 hours), and hit the comments to justify your picks. And if you’re interested in the matchups we’ve got planned for the coming weeks, click here to check out the entire 64-player bracket (then click again for a zoomed in view), and sign up to follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

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  1. Cat says:

    Summertime FTW!!

  2. TheReasonsY says:

    What I love about this is that EVERY round of voting is available to pick from. Kendra rocked the Idoldome.

  3. DS says:

    Huh. I love this contest and most of the head-to-heads are pretty great, but the Mandisa v. LaToya one has me scratching my head. Didn’t remember either performance (as an Idol fan since season one), went and watched both and wasn’t particularly impressed. They both have great voices but are either of those songs THAT much of a standout from across ten seasons!? I even remember LaToya singing “All By Myself,” and not at all this one.

    • ganns says:

      Hi DS! Totally understand where you’re coming from and respect your opinion. Just wanted to say that Mandisa’s “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” is one of my four favorite Idol performances of all 10 seasons. I guess when a song resonates with a person for whatever reason, it stays with you. When I heard Mandisa sing this Dinah Washington track, she did it with such class, sass, power, and emotion, and the band backed her up with this big, bold, brassy arrangement, that it worked for me. It mayn’t have worked for you, and that’s fine. Totally agree with the LaToya statement, too; her “All By Myself” was her most memorable performance for me, and maybe perhaps her “Ooh Baby Baby” performance.

    • Teresa says:

      I didn’t remember either performance, but I had the opposite reaction listening to them now. I thought they were both spectacular. What happened to the big black belters? We haven’t had any of them on in ages.

  4. darclyte says:

    I hate Summertime by Fantasia. I couldn’t stand her then, and I still don’t. I never liked her attitude, and her mushy voice drives me nuts…she always sounds like she has a mouthful of saliva. While J-Hud wasn’t the singer then that she is now, I had hoped for a J-Hud/LaToya London final that year. I knew Diana DeGarmo was made for Broadway, and I just wished Fantasia would have gone home the week J-Hud did and we’d have never had to hear from her again.

  5. Jason says:

    I’m sorry, but I absolutely LOVE Syesha’s “Change is Gonna Come.” It was heartfelt and sincere. It was the only time I really understood her.

    • j. says:

      Sam’s Cooke singing Change is Gonna Come

      (I found Sayesha to sing continually FLAT in her season, but I opened up this link with anticipatation, since I had no memory of this performance and Slezak chose it — but low and behold FLAT once again..)

  6. Bee says:

    I foresee a “Summertime” and “House is not a Home” finale showdown! Fantasia and Tamyra are just perfection on those two songs…

  7. Donna says:

    After listening to the Kendra performance again, I have to ask once again — WHY WHY WHY? WHY was she not picked for the wildcard??? This would be a much different competition at this point if she had been picked (instead of Ashthon, or how the heckever you spell it). Yeah, I’m bitter.

  8. brandy says:

    Ah man, I loved Trenyce’s “Proud Mary”. But Kendra Chantelle is my girl.

  9. z says:

    where’s straight up by andrew garcia?

  10. my list says:

    My favorites: Walk The Line-Chris Daughtry, Get Here – Justin Guarini, American Dreams-Paul McDonald(he did that song during the show for the Los Angeles finals that were after Las Vegas week), Always On My Mind-Anoop Desai.

  11. blingedup.susan says:

    Michael! I just cried at a youtube. I never do that! I have been an Idol loonie since Season 5. I didn’t watch Fantasia’s year. I was getting ready to vote for Summertime, because I have seen that and it was spectacular. But just as I was voting, I got your tweet about watching Believe. So I dutifully watched — I’d never seen it. OH. MY. GOD. How have I never seen that? I’m not even much of a Fantasia fan, or WASN’T much of a Fantasia fan, but that was maybe the most powerful Idol performance I’ve ever seen. Unbelievable. So glad I watched it.

  12. Amy says:

    I like what Simon said in the Summertime clip. That the judges are (or should) be critical of good singers because there is a difference between singing a song well and having a magical performance. There are plenty of contestants this season who could have (or had) magical moments and yet they aren’t being challenged to do it. Fantasia is far and away more amazing than this crop of singers have proved to be. She also is way more mature and I think that is part of it.

    • Georgia says:

      Yes, and the difference may be Instinct vs. Training. I can’t think of many pop, rock, folk, R&B or soul artists who have made it big because of musical training.

  13. Jake says:

    I stopped watching AI completely…I think it is just a big popularity contest and not really based on talent. The only winners that have gone on to do anything are Jordan, Kelly and Carrie. I believe LaToya London should have one, she has incredible stage presence and can sing. They need to cancel this show and move on.

    • Georgia says:

      I think it depends on your definition of “doing anything”. Success may look very different for one artist vs. another. Yes, it is a popularity contest because at some point viewers get to vote on the contestants whose album they’ll buy and whose concerts they will attend. That is, if the contestant holds up his/her side of the bargain by recording the quality of music promised during the competition. If I skipped a season, I would be afraid that I would miss out on someone fresh and new and loaded with talent.

  14. jake says:

    sorry won not one DOH!!

  15. Logistics says:

    Anyone who is voting for Kendra over Trenyce DEFINITELY hasn’t watched Idol prior to, like, season 8. Trenyce FTW. I know I used to troll as “TrenycesTeeth” but even still….. ftwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  16. Georgia says:

    Tough choices! I loved them all. Fantasia exemplifies the “soul” that we’ve wanted to see this season. No nerves. No second guessing. Nothing contrived. For a relatively unsophisticated artist, her performances were sheer magic.

  17. john t. says:

    oh man, why’d you have to put trenyce and kendra against each other? they’re two of my favorites! i voted for kendra based on GOMM. trenyce’s proud mary was okay, but not her best during her run. that would be, ironically, HER wildcard performance of let’s stay together.

  18. Tim says:

    write in vote:

  19. Nermal says:

    Can we also vote on Ryan’s hair from each of the clips?

  20. D says:

    Slezak, I will never forgive you if your bracket leaves out Siobhan’s ‘Paint it Black’ or Carly’s ‘Superstar.’ Forreal.

  21. Jamie says:

    Still can’t believe Kendra got booted.
    I voted for Tamyra but still love Syesha. I saw the Idol Tour concert that year–Syesha sings her arse off!

    I didn’t know Ryan wore glasses!! Clark Kent or John Denver? Not sure. Looked kinda cute though vid was blurry.

  22. darcy's evil twin says:

    I thought Syesha’s best performance was “One Rock n Roll Too Many” – an unusual, off-beat choice.

  23. Glo says:

    OK, where the hell are the polls? I can’t see a link.

    As for Fantasia’s I Believe performance, I think she sang it even better AFTER the results were announced. She was crying, couldn’t even say the words a couple of times, but by far my favorite Fantasia moment ever!

  24. Derek says:

    I’m sorry but as much as I love Fantasia’s version of “Summertime” ……. I can’t imagine anyone else singing “I Believe” Fantasia just kills that song. Absolutely murders it. I love it.

  25. ras says:

    fantasia its the best american idol winner that there will ever be so people just get over it

  26. Patrick says:

    It’s so obvious that they want Fantasia to win this bracket.

    Fantasia was awful. I couldn’t get past her mushmouth voice and the ‘Yeah, yeah” at the end of every song.

    LaToya London’s All By Myself should be in this tournament. Carrie Underwood’s Alone should be in this tournament. Just about anything Melinda Doolittle sang should be in this tournament.

    Oh my god, that clip of James Dustbin is D(ist)urbin. Why, why , why do awful screechers never get called on it on this show…Dustbin, Adam Lambert. I don’t mind people going for the note, but when you consistently miss and rely on that screechy, over the top note as your crutch, you need to get slammed for it.

  27. Robin Lemke says:

    Wow – I watched every clip before I voted. This makes me realize (with new fervor) how much this season is lacking. :(

  28. Ed says:

    What! No Melinda Doolittle? No “My Funny Valentine”? It is the greatest AI performance of all-time.

    • harmonix says:

      I agree! My Funny Valentine in my top 3 favorite female performances. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      “My Funny Valentine” is absolutely part of the tournament. Please click the link to the entire 64-player bracket.

  29. Wyatt says:

    Write-In vote for LaToya London’s cover of “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” There are some less-than-polished moments, such as when she starts the climb up to the climax of the song near the end, but then there is THE moment where she cuts right to the heart of things at the end, singing the title words with goosebump-producing passion, the likes of which we (or at least I) haven’t had much of this season:

  30. Paul Reynolds says:

    As the commenters said above, we better be seeing Mindy Doo’s “My Funny Valentine.” Best vocal ever on Idol??

    I’d love to see Diana DeGarmo’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud” (Top 3 Version) up there as well– such an underrated performance by many.

  31. phredd says:

    This is a tiny, tiny nitpicky thing . . . The correct title for the song Mandisa performed is “I Don’t Hurt Anymore,” NOT “I Don’t Want to Hurt Anymore”. It’s incorrectly titled on the YouTube clip.

    That’s one of my favorite Idol performances by Mandisa. I don’t know if you’ve seen her lately, but she’s like half the woman she was back when she was on Idol.

    Hey, Michael. I don’t recall her ever returning to perform on Idol like a lot of other former contestants. She’s actually done quite well for herself in the Christian music genre, recently releasing her third full CD. She’s still with her original label. Grammy nominated. Do you think TPTB at Idol have a problem bringing on a Christian artist? Several alums are thriving in that area like Chris Sligh and Phil Stacey. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Christian music, but it seems like Idol would would want to showcase as many of its success stories as possible. So many others have been back several times, but Mandisa hasn’t returned once as far as I know. Would love to get your take on this issue!

  32. Trista says:

    Kendra is my girl. She was the best on American Idol this year and most deserving!

  33. ErinL says:

    I think Kendra’s gonna win – what a shame that they didn’t keep her around to see what else she’s got to show. Honestly have never heard anything as awesome as her last sing-off performance on Idol. She was AMAZING!!!!!

  34. Tammy says:

    I have watched American Idol every year and I don’t remember a few of these performances at all. Seems odd that for the ALL TIME Greatest performances because you would think they would be memorable. There are two out of these 8 that stand out…. Summertime and A House is Not a Home. I still consider this Tamyra Gray’s performance one of the best ever on the Idol stage.

    I don’t consider someone who never made to the Top 12 as a Top Performance either. Now I consider the whole performance too… personality, song and vocal abilities…. we have had great singers that are BORING in the past. Even Carrie Underwood was boring during her season. Kelly is probably the best female they have ever had because she had the whole package, the it factor on top of the vocal chops. Some of the past contestants grew into having the whole package.

  35. lacey says:

    Was never a Fantasia fan and still don’t get what was so special about her. “I Believe” is better, mostly just b/c there’s less wailing.

  36. Byron akin says:

    Mandisa is my my favorite

  37. Tonia Jones says:

    My vote is for Mandisa, such a wonderful God given talent. She sings effortlessly beatifully.

  38. Jessabean says:

    Ummmm, where’s Melinda?!

    To quote Jason Averett, “DOOLITTLE BITCHES!”