Kelly Clarkson Vs. Allison Iraheta: Vote Now in the Idol Best Performance Quarterfinals!’s American Idol All-Time Greatest Performance Bracket Tournament kicks off its final Quarterfinal matchup today, and it’s another doozy. This one’s between the original Idol champ, Kelly Clarkson, and the Little Upstart That Could, Allison Iraheta, who won the closest matchup of the tournament when she squeaked past Carrie Underwood (50.3%-49.7%) in the Round of 16.

But now, only one of these ladies can move on to the semifinals, and that means you have to choose between Kelly’s sensational, pitch-perfect “You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman)” (with its oh.em.gee high note) and Allison’s gut-wrenching, gorgeous “Cry Baby.”

American Idol Top 4 Performance Recap: ‘Nothing’ Ventured, Nothing Gained

It seems almost unfair for one of these epic performances to not reach the final four, but that’s the way the story has to go as our single-elimination, 64-player tourney marches to the semifinals. (For the uninitiated, every day around 1:00 p.m. ET over the next couple days, we’ll launch a new set of duels to the death, so be sure to keep coming back and making sure your favorites advance.)

Fantasia Barrino Vs. Melinda Doolittle:
Vote Now in the Idol Best Performance Quarterfinals!

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

Performance Links!
Allison Iraheta, “Cry Baby” (Exit Performance)
Kelly Clarkson – “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Watch those videos now, then head down to our polls to vote for your favorites (voting will be open for 48 hours), and hit the comments to justify your picks.

Idoloonies: Stefano Langone Talks
Piano Skills, ‘Hello,’ and Gordon Ramsay’s Bad Behavior

And if you’re interested in the matchups we’ve got planned for the coming weeks and how the early rounds of matchups played out, 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. Cy says:

    I doubt she’ll win it versus The Original American Idol, but GO, ALLISON, GO!!!!!!!!!!!

    • agrimesy says:

      I love Kelly, I really do, but Allison’s Cry Baby exit performance is way at the top of all Idol moments for me! Go Allison!!

    • blingedup.susan says:

      One of my favorite female Idols ever! GO ALLISON!

    • LauraHolt says:

      Were it not for that surprising note that was one or two octaves higher than the original note then I would have chosen Allison.

      It’s rare for me to feel surprised by a performance. That surprised me and pleasantly so and considering that it occurred in Season 1 when most contestants sang song straights I give her bonus points for it.

  2. Jessabean says:

    This is terrible. Just terrible. [insert string of curse words]

    now, i’m just voting my favorite, not even the performance. i’m what’s wrong with the voting system now. yuck!

    • takakupo says:

      AHAHAHAHAHA! You and me both! I was like, “This is easy!” *waves hand* “Yeah, I’mma just vote fo- ….-____-‘ damn it!”

    • Darsy says:

      It was HARD not to do that. I love me some Allison, but that performance (that I voted against up until now, actually!) of Kelly’s is just amazing.

  3. algalhi says:

    Aw, watching Allison’s “Cry Baby” exit is making me cry again…. Great memories of Season 8. That girl can sang….

  4. Bee says:

    Such a difficult choice! I gotta go with Kelly, though. She’s effortless.

  5. Koolkat_91 says:

    C’mon Allison!!!

  6. megan says:

    I love Allison. Love love love. But she cannot beat Kelly. Sorry.

  7. Paige says:

    Sorry, was never interested in Kelly much. Allison is one of my all-time favorites! Wins my vote.

  8. natural woman says:

    Kelly’s Natural Woman was, for me, what Stuff Like That There was to everyone else – it made me take notice of Kelly as a viable artist & star, and it made me take notice of AI is a viable show & finder of talent. To me, it is the most significant performance of S1, and rightfully should be top 4 of all time.

    I definitely loved CryBaby and love Allison, but this isn’t Allison’s best performance, and it’s always tainted by the fact that she *should* have sung it this way on performance night, instead of waiting till elimination night to show us what she’s got. But with 3 rockers plus Danny & his Scream On, she was going to be the sacrificial lamb no matter how well she had performed, so it was a very poignant moment, knowning that she was going out 4th but could have been the winner on almost any other season.

    But Kelly & Allison will always be my 2 favorite female rockers on AI.

  9. Idol8Fan says:

    I LOVE Kelly but I love Allison also and Allison’s performance here is the clear winner because the song is a perfect fit for her and she killed it. I choose Allison this time.

  10. Peaches says:

    Kelly Clarkson, hands down!

  11. dk48 says:

    I think Kelly had the stronger performance between these two lovely ladies. Allison’s performance was like the ultimate exit performance, but Kelly really shined with Natural Woman.

    Besides, it’s not every day that someone can hit as high a note as that one on Kelly’s performance.

  12. Joe says:

    I love Allison but I think her Alone was her best performance. Better than Carrie’s. That said, Kelly beats her here basically on song choice in my eyes. She nailed Cry Baby, but it’s not a fun song to listen to. I actually dislike the song but love her performance if that makes any sense.

    • Linda says:

      Huh. I feel the opposite. I think Kelly does a great job on Natural Woman, but I hate that song. I find it so uninteresting I was amazed she could make it sound as good as she did. Cry Baby, on the other hand, has power and emotion, and I can’t imagine anyone singing it better than Allison does in this performance.

  13. emmu says:

    Urm, one question.. in the rock round 2, why did kris allen win when jason castro has more votes than him?

  14. Cat says:

    I really love Allison, but it’s Kelly. No Idol has bested Kelly.

  15. Casey says:

    I don’t get it!!!! Kelly’s performance is great until she gets to that godawful high note, which is shrill and completely unpleasant to listen to. It’s not a good musical choice – it’s a prime example of vocal acrobatics delivered for no reason other than to show off a singer’s ability (or lack thereof). This was Jacob’s tack all season long. Kelly shouldn’t sing like that she does on that high note – the fact that she does ruins the performance for me. Everything Allison does in her performance is perfect, technically, artistically, and otherwise, and it astounds me that right now she is losing this match-up.

    • ouch says:

      Wow, so it’s not just me? For me, that note ruins what’s otherwise a beautiful performance — it’s amazing she can hit it, for sure, but her tone in that register is so jarring that it takes me right out of the song.

    • lil says:

      I agree – that out of tune whistling note ruins the performance for me. I voted for Allison on this one. Without that shrieked note of Kelly’s it might have been a difficuly choice for me.

    • Linda says:

      So glad someone else agrees. I began watching in Season 8 so was familiar with Allison’s performance. I had to watch the video of Kelly to form an opinion. For me, that high note sounded so out of place – it was really jarring. Have to give this one to Allison.

    • Octodad says:

      Dawg, for you for me for you for me – really, Allison was actually emotionally perfect. For you. For me.

    • Jurybox says:

      Me too. Always hated that note. The rest of the performance was amazing. But Allison was a true rocker – Kelly was always more pop than rock. I have to go for the rocker.

  16. Sean D says:


  17. Brecken P says:

    Eh. I’d have a hard time voting for either of these performances. Clarkson’s was great but the high note she hit, while impressive, just didn’t sound good to me and kinda tainted the performance. And Allison’s performance, while awesome, is hard to compare because it’s an exit performance and not one done on the Idol stage. I voted Allison but I really hope whoever wins this goes on to lose to Melinda or Fantasia next round.

  18. DonnaRonna says:

    As someone mentioned above, I love the effortlessness of Kelly’s performance. That’s what, for me, tips the scales in her favor. I think Melinda D. has that same quality. For me, both Allison and Fantasia, while great, push/strain/try so hard (and I know it’s the style of singing they do), that sometimes it simply just wears me out instead of entertaining me. I love how Kelly and Melinda just open their mouths and these beautiful sounds come out, without face-making, squatting, hair-flinging, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I do like that stuff sometimes. I just admire the other style more.

  19. KT says:

    I was going to just automatically vote for Kelly because…well, you know….she’s Kelly. But I watched the performances back (as Simon would say)and Allison really brought it!

  20. madeleine says:

    as much as i like Allison’s performance, I gotta go with Kelly, that was so outstanding!!!

  21. Lily says:

    Slezak, you’re killin’ me with these choices! I had to go with Allison because she sang with such heart and soul, but these are both amazing performances. I’ll say it again, can’t be mad at whoever wins this. (And by the way, who is that guy who ran out on stage and hugged Kelly?)

  22. jaime says:

    where’s idoloonies? :)

  23. sage says:

    Kelly for me.

    I loved Allison and this performance was fantastic, but a part of me really can’t vote for it here since it was an exit performance and she should have sung it like that the first time (she SHOULD NOT have been eliminated that night due to Danny’s godawful performance). Granted, I voted for it up till now but I can’t here.

  24. Bobby says:


    I HATED that high note For Kelly. The song was awesome until then. HATED that note. Got no complaints with Allison’s Crybaby except the fact that it had to be her exit performance

  25. Genie says:

    This is so difficult, a decision no one should have to make. I am still debating myself over whom I should vote.

  26. Zach says:

    I voted for Kelly ashamedly, based on her popularity. I loved the cry baby performance, but looking at overall performances, Kelly killed it every week. I honestly didn’t absolutely fawn over natural woman, one of my favorite performances of Kelly’s was her HIGHLY underrated Walk on by cover as well as her opening song to the top 12, You’re all I need. Both were stellar performances. They both can sing well, but if we are voting on overall performances I’m going with Kelly.

  27. Alan says:

    Voted for Allison– that performance had everything– she gave 100% of her soul.. special.

  28. lacey says:

    Allison, while a decent singer, never wowed me. I voted for Cry Baby it’s first round, b/c it deserved to win that one matchup. I’m still in shock that she’s made it this far, letalone beat Carrie. I voted for Kelly, not b/c Allison beat Carrie and I’m mad, but b/c Kelly has the better performance.

  29. Jason S. says:

    Sprry but this tournament needs to be started over with Haley House of The rising Sun involved!!!

  30. KCB says:

    Original Idol, FTW. I loved Allison, but this is Kelly at her finest. No one has been as good as Kelly…

  31. Lily says:

    Two fantastic performances, by two great singers . . . I’m pretending my vote for Kelly was for “Stuff Like That There”.

  32. billybob says:

    It’s like asking which of my children I love most. Love them all the same, but different? That said, Kelly is the ALL TIME best winner, but, this is about which song is better. That would be Allison’s Cry Baby. Pure talent pure emotion.

  33. Mayra says:

    I just love Kelly! Allison was perfect, but what Kelly did with her voice… Gosh, I love that woman.

    And I did not watch season 8(?), but hey, great talent, ahn? Kris Allen, Adam e Iraheta all at once. I haven’t watched it and have heard of them all.

  34. Truth says:

    I feel all the Iraheta love here. I’m glad to know there are other disciples out there.

    According to her, recently, she is in the studio rehearsing new stuff.

    I wish her the best, and can’t wait to hear the new material.

    MSlezak—–Any chance of getting her on after the season? We are not done saving the Rocker yet you know.

  35. inmytimeofdying says:

    Can’t believe you would put one of the most successful idols of all time against a fourth place finisher.

    How many albums sold aside, my vote is based on purely what the voice does for me…. I love her voice, but this performance was way over-rated. Big deal, she can hit a high note.

    I’ll go with Allison. Ok, although I love her voice also, her album was way too poppy (maybe 1 or two good songs on it) but she did a song that nobody else done and made it her own. (btw, they kinda look alike)

  36. Akemi says:

    Ugh, I really hate the song (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman. I just. I can’t. I love you Kelly, but…

    I love Allison too. And I looooooved this performance. She’s so talented, and so great live! Her and Kelly should tour together.

  37. JBanana says:

    aagh! I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!!!

    I thought I knew how I was going to vote on this one, but now that it’s time to do it, I am completely torn! This one is hard!!!

  38. Ulysses says:

    I…LOVE Both! Yes, Allison is my alltime favorite, but Kelly totally nailed her song, too. It seems so far back, but I registered that Kelly totally nailed it. I also love Carrie and Matt Garoud and Doughtry.
    But Allison just broke me down, she utterly came into my blood and the Rock Chick took control. I LOVE you, Allison. Cant wait for more. I hope theres more to come.

  39. Christina says:

    Kelly’s voice is beautiful. I love Allison’s voice but Kelly will always trump!

  40. Cie13 says:

    um hello was kelly CRYING its a lil more challenging when ur crying and not just standing there singing so there for i voted ALLISON ALL THE WAY!!! plus that performance was so heartful so amazing so raw so Allison she should have beaten Danny at least i mean wth!

  41. Salvador says:

    Allison for ever

  42. Anita says:

    Kelly is great but that hight note did not do it for me I went for Allison and I like better alone. go rocker!!

  43. fannatic alli/i says:

    allison should win

  44. alex2322 says:

    I think Allison is set to lose this…

  45. Robert says:

    Allison is much better than Kriss and Gokey, Simon the dog was just a stone in her way to success

  46. cie13 says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO how how how how how did Allison lose!The high note in Kelly’s was horrid and the fact that Allison performed Cry Baby on elimination shouldnt really matter in voting, which did you LIKE better not which wasn’t elimination!

  47. liz says:

    I really love Allison, you are the best. Allison is so much better than
    better than Kriss.