Idol's Greatest Moment (Day 6): J.Hud, Melinda, LaKisha, Diana, and More Enter the Fray!

A diva is a female version of a hustler, at least according to Beyoncé. But we’re going to have to respectfully offer a different definition than The Lady Knowles. As Day 6 of’s American Idol All-Time Greatest Performance Bracket Tournament proves, a diva can also be a female Idol contestant with the vocal chops and stage presence to bring the nation to its feet in a collective standing ovation.

Yes, folks, we’ve returned for the second half of the Soul/Pop Divas division in our 64-player tourney, which is composed of the most electrifying moments in the 10-season history of Fox’s ratings juggernaut. It’s your job to vote in these single-elimination faceoffs, and decide which 32 Idol Moments advance to Round 2.

Archuleta, Aiken, Gokey, and Hicks Do Battle on Day 5 of
Idol‘s Greatest Performance Tourney

Every day around 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 biting your nails wondering how in the heck you’re gonna choose between ’em.

American Idol’s Greatest Performance? (Day 4)
Kelly, Katharine, Jordin, and Pia Enter the Ring!

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

Melinda Doolittle, “My Funny Valentine
Melinda Doolittle, “Have a Nice Day
Diana DeGarmo, “Don’t Cry Out Loud
Paris Bennett, “These Foolish Things
LaKisha Jones, “This Ain’t a Love Song
Alexis Grace, “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)
Jennifer Hudson, “Circle of Life
Jennifer Hudson, “Weekend in New England

‘Idoloonies’: Paul McDonald on ‘Blackbird,’
Crazy Dancing, and…Adam Lambert Comparisons?

It’s gonna be brutal seeing 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.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. JayK* says:

    Had some trouble with this section. I don’t feel super passionately about any of the performances, really. In fact, I didn’t even remember most of them at first. I guess I’m not really a diva person.

    • flutiefan says:

      ^^ ditto

      • JBal says:

        Seroiusly?!!? I for one cannot believe the race between Lakisha and Alexis is so close. Alexis gives me chills everytime I hear that song. As far as I’m concerned the votingcan be over now and Michael can just give the crown to her!!

        • Evan says:

          And LaKisha gives me chills every time I hear her song. Plus, unlike Alexis, LaKisha is not singing far below her range.

          Seriously, listening to Alexis sing the lyrics “the way that I love you” is like listening to a female trying to impersonate a male’s bass voice. Not natural.

          • Evan says:

            (Not that it matters though, because “My Funny Valentine” is absolutely perfect and therefore the best of any of these eight.)

          • Cy says:

            I agree that Kiki blows Alexis out of the water (as cool as Alexis is as an Idoloonies co-host). But while Melinda is the undisputed champ of this bracket, I beg to differ about the song–“Have a Nice Day” was the most incredible of her many standing-O-worthy performances. Incredibly musicality and a proper, edgy use of her extremely versatile voice. That performance was one of the very first I thought of when Slezak asked for nominations.

    • dave says:

      The reason you are having trouble is b/c this is perfectly showing how much this show is full of suck. Please go away American Idol.

  2. Jenny says:

    For both Melinda and Lakisha I had to choose their performances on Bon Jovi night. Bon Jovi is one of my favorite bands so it takes a lot to win me over someone sings one of their songs. I remember that night Melinda just rocked out. Maybe not her best overall vocal, but she had fun with it and went away from the typical diva type ballad. LaKisha took the diva route, but found the perfect song for her and owned it. She was able to find all the emotion that is in that song and made you feel the pain. That was a good night in a very blah Idol season. Although I couldn’t stand what Blake did to Give Love a Bad Name.

    • flutiefan says:

      really? i loved Blake’s version. really made it his own but kept the spirit of Bon Jovi in there. i thought it was awesome, creative, inventive, and cool.

  3. claudia says:

    Bon Jovi night produced Melinda’s Have a Nice Day, Lakisha’s This Ain’t a Love Song, & Blake’s You Give Love a Bad Name. In contrast, the winner over all of them bombed with Living on a Prayer. After Taylor & Lee, worst winner ever.

    • Nat says:

      Well, if you look at just the numbers, Jordin’s actually had one of the most successful post-Idol careers. ‘No Air’ sold more copies than any other single by any Idol contestant worldwide, and she’s sold 4 million albums. And while, yes, I accept that success is measured by more than x number of albums sold, that’s not too shabby. I loved both Melinda and Lakisha that season, but Jordin peaked at the right time, and Livin’ on a Prayer was probably her only *really* off-night – not to mention she had a superb set of performances that I still remember today: I Who Have Nothing, Broken Wing, You’ll Never Walk Alone, To Love Somebody…

      • flutiefan says:

        i’d honestly have to contribute the success of “No Air” more to Chris Brown & his fans. he was a superstar when that was released, on top of his game. Jordin was just in the right place and the right time with that recording.

        • james says:

          She’s had a lot more success other than “No Air”.
          “Battlefield” and “Tattoo” were both top 10 singles and she sang them by herself. She’s only third to Kelly and Carrie when it comes to commercial success.

          • claudia says:

            Jordan is certainly not 3rd to Kelly & Carrie. David Cook, Daughtry & Adam Lambert are ahead of her, & I believe Fantasia is too. And maybe others. I have never heard her on the radio except that one hit with Chris Brown.

      • Marta says:

        Its all about perspective, I guess— because looking back Jordin is actually one of my FAVORITE winners. There was something about her young talent and grace that was so refreshing that year, especially after several years of some teens who were “little monsters” (Simon’s phrase). I agree with the poster Nat—she peaked at the right time and had some STELLAR performances (sure, Living on a Prayer was not one of them)— she did not win the Bon Jovi night…but I don’t think that should be the reason she is considered a unworthy winner. Count me as one voter rootin’ for Jordin in her bracket rounds.

      • Davers says:

        I thought I Who Have Nothing was absolutely stellar, one of the top 10 all time idol performances, but You’ll Never Walk Alone was completely overrated. I don’t really have strong feelings about the others.

  4. Nat says:

    I think you shortchanged Lakisha a little bit by not giving her ‘And I’m Telling You’ or ‘God Bless the Child’ – this way, voting for Alexis was far easier than it should have been!

  5. Jason says:

    There were a few like Diana, Paris, and Lakisha I don’t really care for. I never rooted for them during their respective seasons, so this bracket was hard for me. I had to rewatch their performances and just went with my first instinct. lol

  6. Machelle (Mach5555) says:

    Why wasn’t Pia in this Diva bracket? I’m very confused…

  7. Kevin says:

    Come on, guys. I don’t like Lakisha either, but how could you not put up “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Leaving”? It was one of the finest performances on the Idol stage, period! (I voted for Alexis, BTW. :) )

  8. Sean D says:

    Ahh, this is more like it Slezak. Some greats here. Melinda Doolittle is the best contestant American Idol has ever had, and thus in my opinion “My Funny Valentine” is the best Idol performance ever.

    But come on, let’s get some more people voting for Paris! Yeah, she was sometimes annoying, but that’s a killer, beautiful “These Foolish Things.” If she had stuck to a repotiore of songs like that, her audition, and “Fever” she’d have been a worthy runner-up (to Elliot Yamin of course).

    • Joe says:

      My Funny Valentine is probably one of the best female performances ever on the show. I remember watching Melinda singing that with my jaw dropped to the floor.
      If I have to choose between that and Jennifer Hudson’s Circle of Life which was another of one of the best performances ever on the show, I think I’m going to lean Melinda but it’s too close to call.
      And some of you are seriously diminishing Lakisha’s performance on here. I like Alexis, but Lakisha blew her out of the water.

  9. Mike says:

    If Alexis was never on idoloonies would this even be a competition?

  10. Princess Adora says:

    If I was just voting for my favorite person I’d vote for Alexis Grace, but LaKisha’s performance of This Ain’t a Love Song was AMAZING! Had to vote for her, sorry Alexis :(

    • KIATWF says:

      Agreed! LaKisha’s “This Ain’t a Love Song” is one of my all-time favorite Idol performances… maybe even my #1 fave.

    • HG says:

      It’s in my Top 5 all time greats for sure. Lakisha started off as my favorite that season, but really struggled to connect. That night she got it, you could see the light bulb light up over her head as Jon explained what the song meant, but it was nearly the end by then and she was gone the very next week. I think she is one of the all time most underrated voices to ever grace the show. With just a little polish and experience, girl could have been magnificent. Blake’s performance that night is also one of my all time favorites. Even though season 6 was the weakest season next to season 9, that particular performance night was probably one of the best ever. Jordin’s performance was the only weak spot.

  11. tuppy says:

    I love the concept of this tournament, but this part of the bracket is CRAZY! Not only are you missing Melinda’s BEST performance (I’m a Woman:; but, more than that, the two of hers listed here and I’m a Woman are better than all of the other (non-JHud) performances you have here COMBINED. Come on, I like Alexis Grace, but none of her songs should be on an all-time best list. Ditto for Lakisha and Paris (I didn’t watch Diana Degarmo’s season, so I can’t judge her). The all time best — Clay, Fantasia, Katharine, Melinda, Archuleta, Allison, Kris, Adam — should have more than one bracket slot! The tournament should JUST be them! We’re talking BEST OF THE BEST!

    • Marta says:

      I agree on some level– it is rough to see some of the most stellar Idol contestants lumped together as they compete against themselves. I also might at times echo many posters’ complaints of, “Ohhhh! (insert contestant)’s _____ should be on here! That was better than the performance you chose, Slezak!” Still, I respect Slezak’s choice to include a variety of performers. Kudos also to Slezak for committing to the tough job of picking which performances to use. Sure, they might not be our favorites–but it’s all in fun. Enjoy it!

    • Can't Sleep says:

      Melinda is my all-time favorite Idol non-winner. And her Idol journey was the first indication of what Idol has become – not a singing contest, not a talent contest, but a teeny-bopper popularity contest. Had hopes that Season 10 would see a change but it is just MOTS.

  12. SO glad/excited to see Diana Degarmo’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud” on the list! Very underrated performance over the years with different websites putting out “Top” performance lists. Don’t think this one ever made it.

    • GinaBallerina says:

      I was about to post the exact same thing! Diana’s DCOL is one of my all-time fav performances. Its inclusion on this list proves Slezak really knows his AI history!

      I’m surprised “Circle of Life” is beating “Weekend in New England” for J-Hud. WINE is another all-time fav of mine. I hope voters who don’t remember these performances are rewatching them and not just voting by song title! I had certainly never heard of WINE before and that was one heck of a performance.

  13. Michelle says:

    Okay so I voted for Circle of Life, but my favorite JHud performance was I Have Nothing. The way her eyes looked when she sang “Don’t you dare walk away from me” was amazing and I had the chills for almost the entirety of the song.

  14. JVC says:

    Does anyone know how these songs are chosen?

    I’m just surprised again that Lakisha’s “And I’m telling you” isn’t up there. She has and will forever more own that song. emphasis on OWN! Then again maybe that’s why it’s not there, because some top ranking individuals had so many great moments, they had to make fair to other contestants, cause let’s be frank, if lakisha’s “and I’m telling you” went up against alexis grace “never loved a man” lakisha would mop the floor w/ alexis.

  15. j. says:

    WHere Melinda was concerned it was hard to choose one over the other because they were both so outstanding. Where Jennifer Hudson was concerned, voting meant choosing the least bad.. I think she’s great now so I was surprised by those idol performances. And there was no competition for Alexis Grace… she wins her pairing hands down. I’m surprised that vote is as close as it is.

    • Genie says:

      Least BAD??????? They are both amazing, I get it if you don’t dig her voice but nothing about her vocals are ever ever bad.

  16. JumpedTheShark says:

    Wow. This just reminds me of what great sang-ers there were on Idol. The women this season are not match – are not even in the same ball park. Lauren has yet to prove why she is even there. And i can’t remember the other girl’s name right on… she okay, but I can’t remember her name… Oh well.

    • JR says:

      Haley is the other girl’s name… and she can definitely hold her own against these girls. In fact, Haley can sing runs as good as anyone, in my opinion.

      • Can't Sleep says:

        Neither Lauren or Haley are as gifted as these singers. Maybe in 10 years Lauren will have matured enough but right now she’s only concerned about the mechanics of her singing (“I missed a note”), not the soul behind her songs. Haley is too much of a trickster with the growls & has yet to show me she understands what she is singing about.

  17. Molly says:

    “Don’t Cry Out Loud” could be my favorite Idol performance of all-time. I loved Paris so much, though.

  18. Genie says:

    When I first read about this contest I was going to vote just based on memory (which what I think most are doing by the results posted), but I changed my mind and have watch the clips before I vote. I have surprised myself in several cases, so I am happy I have re-watched the clips and suggest others do the same. The voting is way off in some cases. Some really solid vocal performances are kind of boring due to song choice and or arrangements.

  19. Cindy says:

    Oh Michael, Melinda doing “My Funny Valentine” – a real moment. I enjoyed your segment with her a while back. She’s talented and also funny and down to earth. Hope you feature her again one day on your show. One super special lady!

  20. Laura says:

    LaKisha versus Alexis here is too cruel … these are both favorites!

  21. Joe says:

    Circle of Life is winning over Weekend in New England??!! Really?? I just wish people would actually go back and watch the performances before voting…….

  22. Drew says:

    I know she ended up in bottom 3, but with Diana, her crowning moment, for me, will ALWAYS be “A Broken Wing.” That note she held for flipping ever? Chills.

  23. Ron says:

    As a Bon Jovi fan these renditions are hard to tolerate.

  24. john t. says:

    grace b*tches.

  25. GSOgymrat says:

    Love Melinda Doolittle.

  26. Isuzan says:

    Interesting this selection; I won’t comment on who should or shouldn’t be here; I’m just voting by judging one against the other that Slezak has presented to us. I love, loved, LOVED Alexis and wish they’d allowed her to go farther in the competition. Lakisha never did anything for me; love almost everything Melinda Doolittle sang…how ’bout my favorite “Home”?

    Anyway, my only critique of this process – please Michael, choose better quality clips- some look like they were taped with a hand-held camcorder (beta, no less) at the tv. I love re-watching these performances!

  27. Jenny says:

    I agree with others that “And I am Telling You” was a better overall vocal for Lakisha. To me it was just an expected performance and for me memorable performances are the ones that are not expected. With “This Ain’t a Love Song” she found a rock song and made it work for her style.

  28. Petra says:

    This grouping has the Monster. The performance of the vocalist that had everything in the song that showed she had everything..and if it wasn’t flawless…I never saw a review that pointed out a single weak spot.
    Yes, Melinda Dolittle’s “My Funny Valentine”.
    With so many contrasting styles and personalities, I can’t say my absolute favorite ever “performance”..can’t even decide how which of the best mens performances stand along the women’s best. Of the women though, two non 1-2 place finishers are in my Top 5 best woman’s performances – Melinda and Siobhan Magnus’s “Paint it Black” – one exquisite vocal perfection, the other grand, theatrical, with raw emotion that ripped my heart out. Melinda above Siobhan, though.

  29. Cy says:

    I figured this would happen with “My Funny Valentine,” but I wish ppl would actually give Melinda’s UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME (yes, it required all caps, it was so awesome) “Have a Nice Day” performance another listen before just automatically voting for MFV. Melinda + rock was the absolute greatest thing that came out of that season. If only she’d kept it up… ;__;

  30. Logan says:

    Doesn’t Alexis know how much she is loved? She oughta be posting updates and telling us where she is with making her album! You shouldn’t quit music completely and become a total hermit just cuz you got cut one spot shy of the Top 10 and were left out of the tour! If there’s anything we can do to show Alexis how much we love her and make her more motivated to stay active with her career, then so help me, we must do exactly that! If I don’t have that CD on my shelf by the last Tuesday of December of this year, I swear I’m gonna suffer a ginormous mental breakdown! Seriously, we’ve gotta take some major action here, people! I NEED THAT CD!!!!