American Idol: 25 Best Performances of All Time

The end of American Idol Season 11 is nigh, which means it’s time for the Idoloonie Nation to reflect on the always accessible “Top 25 Performances of All-Time” lists in their brains, then ask the question: “Who gets added from the latest crop of singers, and who gets cut?”

I limited my countdown to competitive performances on live shows — meaning semifinals, finals, and wild cards count; exit performances, auditions, and Hollywood Week do not — and still ended up with two or three dozen amazing moments left on the outside looking in. (Oh how “This Ain’t a Love Song,” “A House Is Not a Home,” and “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” forced me to consider making this a Top 30 list!) I also decided on allowing only one performance per contestant in the Top 25 (because, really, I couldn’t justify a list that was all Fantasia-Kelly-Cookie-Haley-Kradison). But, hey, no one said this exercise would be easy, right?

VIDEO | Idology: Who’s to Blame for Joshua’s Exit, and Why Jessica Can’t Lose to Phillip

So check out my 25 Best Idol Performances list below, then hit the comments and tell me what I got right, what I got wrong, who got snubbed, and who never should’ve made my list in the first place. Then get to work and post your own Top 25!

RELATED | American Idol Top 3 Results Recap: We’ve Got Tonight. Who Needs Tomorrow?

And for all my American Idol news, interviews, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV. (p.s. I’ll be live-blogging tonight’s Season 11 performance finale, so join me at TVLine for all the good fun!)



Comments (380)

  • I’ve watched every season, and for me the the ones that I still remeber year after year are
    Michael Johns- “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right”, Siobhan Magnus- “Paint It Black” and Chikezie- “She’s A Woman”

    Comment by lunaburning – May 22, 2012 02:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would have included Brooke White’s “Let It Be”

    Comment by lydiakj – May 22, 2012 02:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Chikezie’s She’s a Woman was pretty damn good. Jacob Lusk’s You’re All I Need rocked. Kris Allen’s She Works Hard was incredible. Pretty much anything Crystal did. Brooke White’s Love is a Battlefield was impressive. Elise’s One and Only was sublime. Adam’s Ring of Fire was amazing. Siobhan’s Paint it Black was darkly beautiful. And on, and on and on.

    Comment by J. May – May 22, 2012 02:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I cannot believe I forgot about “One And Only”. I have it on repeat! I agree with pretty much everything you said, except I would choose “Tracks Of My Tears” over “Ring Of Fire” and I’ve erased Jacob Lusk from my memory. And is it me, or is everyone forgetting “What Is And What Should Never Be”?

      Comment by Kitty – May 22, 2012 03:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How could you not pick David Cook’s “Hello” performance?? It still gives me chills just thinking about it!

    Comment by Tara J. – May 22, 2012 02:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This probably doesn’t matter but the website Whatnottosing.com currently has Crystal Bowersox and Melinda Doolittle pretty much tied for the best overall number of performances (Mindy slightly edges Crystal out). Both had 14 performances ranked 4 stars or better.

    Comment by J. May – May 22, 2012 02:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would have added Casey James’s Jealous Guy over anything by Pia. Or a performance by Brooke White or Michael Johns (the Dolly Parton song).

    Comment by davey – May 22, 2012 02:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Jealous Guy, that was the one I was trying to remember. It was awesome.

      Comment by Mary B – May 22, 2012 02:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • All I have to say is that Elise’s “Whole Lotta Love” should be waaaay closer to the front. Top 5, easy.

    Comment by Brigette – May 22, 2012 02:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What? No Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Kat McPhee? Just kidding, so glad you forgot her.

    Comment by davey – May 22, 2012 02:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • LOL, me too. Kat’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow goes on my most overrated list along with Archuleta’s Imagine and Jessica’s I Will Always Love You.

      Comment by Christine – May 22, 2012 06:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d have a different Top 25 for the most part, but most of the singers on M.S.s list would appear on mine–just with different songs.

    Comment by syb – May 22, 2012 02:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d definitely throw a James Durbin tune in there: “Maybe I’m Amazed” or “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” I always tend to look back more fondly on songs that made me realize how good the contestant was for the first time. Even though, “Mad World” was indeed Adam Lambert’s best performance, I jumped onto the bandwagon when I heard “Tracks of My Tears.”

    Comment by Sonic Wave – May 22, 2012 02:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh my god, no Billie Jean…? D:

    Comment by Mic – May 22, 2012 02:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 1. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For- David Cook
    2. Tracks of My Tears – Adam Lambert
    3. Ain’t No Sunshine – Kris Allen
    4. Bette Davis Eyes- Jessie Langseth
    5. Alone- Alison Iraheta
    6. Crying- Carrie Underwood
    7. In A Dream- Bo Bice
    8. Treat Her Like A Lady- Lee DeWyze
    9. If You Don’t Know Me By Now – LaToya London
    10. Up to the Mountain – Crystal Bowersox
    11. Georgia On My Mind- Kendra Chantelle
    12. Rhiannon- Didi Benami
    13. What Is and What Should Never Be- Haley Reinhart
    14. If I Can Dream- Elliot Yamin
    15. Higher Ground- Chris Daughtry
    16. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? – James Durbin
    17. No One- Elise Testone
    18. The Scientist- Katelyn Epperly
    19. Ready for Love- Joshua Ledet
    20. House of the Rising Sun- Siobhan Magnus
    21. Daydream- Jason Castro
    22. Stand By Me- David Archuleta
    23. You’ve Got a Friend- Scott McCreery
    24. The Show Must Go On- Skylar Laine
    25. Have a Nice Day- Melinda Doolittle

    I’m not really married to the order of this. These were the ones I came up with off the top of my head.

    Comment by Sonic Wave – May 22, 2012 03:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • OOOH! LaToya London’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”! Thanks for that memory. Teddy Pendergrass – RIP.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 22, 2012 05:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And a big “hell yeah” for Haley’s “What is and What Should Never Be”.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 22, 2012 05:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Nice catch on Katelyn Epperly’s The Scientist. That would make my Top 25 over anything any of the other females did that entire season, including Crystal and Siobhan.

      Comment by Christine – May 22, 2012 06:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It was a good performance. I just can’t stand Coldplay.

        Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 23, 2012 07:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • this list is completely different from my list and yet i LOVE it. great choices!

      Comment by noa – May 22, 2012 09:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I love that you have 5 season 9 contestants on your list. I saw the Tour concert that year, and………… it really was awesome. They were all really great live. It kind of took me by surprise just how good it was. I know alot of people like to trash S9, but……… there was a lot of talent there. Liked seeing Katelyn Epperly on your list. She deserved to go further than she did. And, of course, my ultimate favorite (out of anyone, on or off Idol), Siobhan Magnus.

      Comment by VioletFlameMusic – May 23, 2012 08:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hmm. Apparently you are a big fan of the later seasons, which are terrible.

    Comment by Cate – May 22, 2012 03:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nice job!

    Comment by ladyhelix – May 22, 2012 03:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Stuttering” “Steal Away” “Turn the Beat around” > Most underrated songs of Jessica. But I like her here the most when she is smiling while singing! Shows her vocal range and versatility! :)

    Comment by Zarke (@ZarkeMulgore) – May 22, 2012 03:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sleazak… why don’t you arrange a bracket for this where everyone can vote?

    Comment by Steve Z – May 22, 2012 04:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My favorite from Alison Iraheta was Papa Was A Rolling Stone.

    Comment by Tahoe Mike – May 22, 2012 04:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That was excellence performance. She stole the night with that one!

      Comment by Christine – May 22, 2012 06:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Michael–can’t believe you had the self-control to leave out “Bette Davis Eyes!” :)

    Comment by ali427 – May 22, 2012 04:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • if Jason was choosing, no way that would have happened…

      Comment by noa – May 22, 2012 09:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • In a Dream is far and away the best

    Comment by Applesauce – May 22, 2012 04:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How in the name of everything holy does Fantasia’s “Summertime” keep ending up at the top of every list? Bleah!
    .

    My favorite performances off the top of my head – in NO particular order – except for the first one… :-)

    Haley Reinhart – “What is and What Should Never Be”. Greatest Thing EVER!
    Haley and Casey Abrams – “Moanin’”
    Allison Ihraheta – “Cry Baby” (exit performance) and “Give in to Me”.
    Allison and Adam Lambert – “Slow Ride”
    Adam Lambert – “Mad World”, “Whole Lotta Love”, and his finale night performance with KISS.
    Kelly Clarkson – “Stuff Like That There”
    Kris Allen – “Heartless”, and “She Works Hard for the Money”.
    Melinda Doolittle – “I’m a Woman” and “Nutbush City Limits”
    Lee DeWyze – “Simple Man”
    Crystal Bowersox – “You Can’t Always Get What you Want”, and “Give Me One Reason”.
    Stefano Langone – “Lately”

    Casey James – Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” (hey, Mick Fleetwood loaned him his guitar), “Jealous Guy”, and “It’s All Over Now”.
    Chris Daughtry – “Hemmorhage in my Hands”
    Phillip Phillips – “Hard to Handle”, “Midnight Hour”, and “Volcano”
    Elise Testone – “Whole Lotta Love” and “Vienna”
    David Cook – “The World I Know”, “The Music of the Night”, and his performance of “Sharp Dressed Man” with ZZ Top.
    Hollie Cavanaugh – “The Climb” (exit performance)
    Joshua Ledet – “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”, “Runaway Baby”, “When A Man Loves A Woman”, “To Love Somebody”.

    Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 22, 2012 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I forgot about Melinda’s Nutbush City. Thanks for the reminder. Love Melinda <3

      Comment by Lisa (@KittyKay3) – May 22, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You’re welcome! You go to store on Friday, you go to church on Sunday. they call it Nutbush!

        Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 22, 2012 05:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And I would include Siobhan Magnus’ “Paint it Black” and “Wicked Game” (at that point I thought she’d win the whole thing), Big Mike What’s His Name’s “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing” and Skylar Laine’s “Stay With Me”.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 22, 2012 05:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hmm Skylar’s “Stay With Me” above Elise’s “Whole Lotta Love”?? (and Carrie Underwood’s Alone)???? For reals??????? Do you how mad hard half the stuff Elise did WLL is? How perfectly she carried that off?? Skylar’s was a solid performance nothing more. And putting her at #16 with that insane performance just ridiculous.

    No McPhee Somewhere Over the Rainbow, at all??

    Comment by FreeHaley – May 22, 2012 05:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • No – no “over the Rainbow”. Not even Judy Garland herself singing “Over the Rainbow”. Not even if she comes back from the dead. However, Katherine McPhee’s “To Love Somebody” was very good.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 22, 2012 05:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • “Do you how mad hard half the stuff Elise did WLL is?”

      Speaking as someone who has been trying to sing “Whole Lotta Love” since Elise did it and has only just recently been able to do the scream without sounding like a dying cat, YES. I do know.

      Comment by Kitty – May 22, 2012 06:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree with you about Elise being beneath Skylar. Absolutely ridiculous if we’re speaking strictly vocals as opposed to screaming and seizuring on stage. And I thought Michael said The Show Must Go On was the performance of the season? LOL. Either way, Elise and Joshua easily top the list for best performances on Season 11. The Top 5 best performances were probably from just those two.

      Comment by Christine – May 22, 2012 06:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The sad thing was right after “Georgia On My Mind- Kendra Chantelle” top 25 best she got dumped in favor of someone who just had a poor sing for your life by any standards!

    Comment by FreeHaley – May 22, 2012 05:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • No kidding. Thank goodness they pretty much went with contestants that could actually SING this season.
      I would include Lauren Turner’s “Steal Away” and “Seven Day Fool” in my list of great performances. Still love Lauren Turner and Kendra Chantelle.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 22, 2012 05:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Certainly Siobhan has got to be there no? Skylar but no Siobhan?

    Comment by FreeHaley – May 22, 2012 05:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yup………………. STILL shaking my head over that.

      Comment by VioletFlameMusic – May 23, 2012 08:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I take some issue with your choice for Allison’s best. I thought she had four or five superior performances to the one your chose.

    Comment by Christine – May 22, 2012 06:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This list is kinda rough–just off the top of my head. I opted not to do one performance per singer.

    1. Haley Reinhart–House of the Rising Sun
    2. Elise Testone–Whole Lotta Love
    3. Kris Allen–Heartless
    4. Crystal Bowersox–People Get Ready
    5. Kelly Clarkson–Stuff Like That There
    6. Jennifer Hudson–Circle of Life
    7. Adam Lambert–Tracks of My Tears
    8. Fantasia Barrino–Summertime
    9. David Cook–Billie Jean
    10. Melinda Doolittle–My Funny Valentine
    11. Tamyra Gray–A House is Not a Home
    12. David Cook–Always Be My Baby
    13. Skylar Laine–Stay With Me
    14. Adam Lambert–Mad World
    15. Allison Iraheta–I Can’t Make You Love Me
    16. Carly Smithson–Here You Come Again
    17. Elliot Yamin–A Song For You
    18. Chris Daughtry–I Walk The Line
    19. Elise Testone–Vienna
    20. LaKisha Jones–This Ain’t A Love Song
    21. Joshua Ledet–Runaway Baby
    22. Crystal Bowersox–As Long As I Can See The Light
    23. Kris Allen–She Works Hard For the Money
    24. Jessica Sanchez–You Are So Beautiful
    25. Allison Iraheta–Papa Was A Rolling Stone

    And for fun, favorite contestants of all time:

    1. Melinda Doolittle
    2. Crystal Bowersox
    3. Allison Iraheta
    4. Haley Reinhart
    5. Skylar Laine
    6. David Cook
    7. Kris Allen
    8. Kelly Clarkson
    9. Fantasia Barrino
    10. Jennifer Hudson (yes, even though people didn’t like her as a contestant, I always loved J. Hud)
    11. Elliot Yamin
    12. Carly Smithson
    13. Chris Daughtry
    14. Elise Testone
    15. Adam Lambert

    Comment by DG – May 22, 2012 06:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Completely agree with #1. Switch 2 and 14 and youve got a pretty good list. I LOVE Elise and as good as “whole lotta love” was, it wasn’t #2 worthy.

      Also not including “Bennie and the jets” or “what is and what should never be” is a crime if it’s more than one per performer.

      Favorite contestants:
      Haley
      Kelly
      Adam
      Kris
      David cook
      Crystal
      Elise
      Fantasia
      Daughtry
      Melinda
      Carly :)

      Comment by Idol watcher – May 22, 2012 09:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Ah, well played. I can’t believe I left those two out. They’d probably go in here somewhere, I’m just not sure where. WIAWSNB would probably be just outside the top 10, and BATJ a little below that. I don’t really know. These lists are hard to do haha. Brooke White’s “Let it Be” is pretty high up for me as well.

        Comment by DG – May 23, 2012 08:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I know I disagreed with the order of more than a few performances, but somehow I’m just stuck on Elise’s Whole Lotta Love not even cracking the Top 10 on your list.

    Comment by Rebecca – May 22, 2012 09:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • +2

      Comment by FreeHaley – May 22, 2012 10:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Even Haley #5 somehow sounds awfully low too.

      Comment by FreeHaley – May 22, 2012 10:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Joshua Ledet is even more overhyped than Lauren Alaina was in my opinion. He’s fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but for me he might barely scrape the Top 15 on top performances ever. No way his “Man’s World” is better than Adam, Haley, David, etc.

    Sorry to be blunt but there are things about his voice that are just plain awful (his falsetto especially, but I find his grunting grating and unsuited for his voice, unlike some others).

    Comment by Idol watcher – May 22, 2012 09:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • People don’t want to give Joshua Ledet his props. He is fantastic no matter what people say…stop hating..

      Comment by Judy – May 23, 2012 11:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just listening to the new Haley album, definitely digging it! Good stuff.
    Just hope they get some of these some radio play, definitely deserved. If Adele and Amy Winehouse can get on pop radio these days so should this.

    Comment by FreeHaley – May 22, 2012 10:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • “Free” is actually getting more AirPlay than ever. I really like “free”, especially the middle to end. But im not 100% convinced it was the best first single choice. Though I’m not sure what song I would choose if not free… What are your thoughts on what her second single should be?

      Her album is a gem though. One of the freshest, well produced albums to come from an idol contestant!

      Comment by Idol watcher – May 23, 2012 12:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yeah it really is, having listened to it all now, I can say there isn’t a single song I feel like hitting next track over and that is a pretty darn rare thing for any album.
        Yeah whether it should have been Free or not I don’t know.
        Anyway it’s hard to say now, maybe something from “Oh My!”, “Liar”, “Undone”, “Wonderland” or “Let’s Run Away”? I think one of those, but if you don’t go for that set for the single then maybe “Hit the Ground Runnin’” or maybe “Spiderwebs”.

        Comment by FreeHaley – May 24, 2012 12:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Maybe I’ll will cut down the list and suggest “Liar” next.

        Comment by FreeHaley – May 25, 2012 03:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually maybe I’d go with Hit the Ground Running then maybe Wonderland and Liar. Oh My has B.o.B and maybe could work big but then again, not sure, that one could go either way.

        Comment by FreeHaley – June 10, 2012 09:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What? No Katharine Mcphee “Over the Rainbow” or “Someone to Watch Over Me” One would definitely be on my top 25. And what about “A House is Not a Home” by Tamyra Gray? That would definitely be in my top 25. Paris Bennet “Midnight Train to Georgia” is another one that is so much better than any Kris what’s his name performance! I agree with many of the others, but would put Crystal’s “Me and Bobby McGee” much higher.

    Comment by sanfranbaysailor (@sfbsailor) – May 23, 2012 02:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • YES – to “A House is not a Home” by Tamyra Gray. forgot that one.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – May 23, 2012 07:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would include Katelyn Epperly – The scientist Michael Johns – Its alright but its all wrong Paris Bennet – Work it out Kristy Lee Cook – gd bless the usa Mandisa – Cry Vonzell – Ill never love this way again Lil Rounds- Be without you Siobhan- Wicked games but overall great list!!

    Comment by ayhr86 – May 23, 2012 07:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • NO, NO, NO!!!! Umm, Bridge Over Troubled Water season 2 finale????? That should have been #1, no questions. I still go back and watch that on Youtube on a regular basis. And I know you are a huge Fantasia fan, but that song wouldn’t have even cracked my top 10, probably not my top 25, since she’s just not my taste at all.

    Comment by Hilary – May 23, 2012 07:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Haley gets top one, two and three – choose any of five songs! Phillips “Volcano” deserves a top twenty at least.

    Comment by Ray Anthony – May 23, 2012 09:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So what happened to Slezak’s conviction that “Show Must Go On” was the performance of the season. Looks like he went with Stay With ME as Skylar’s best performance. Also, I don’t agree with your Cook selection. billy Jean and Hello were his stand out momente.

    Comment by JASon – May 23, 2012 12:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Some missing moments I really loved were anything by Carly Smithson (where is Carly Smithson Michael?), Lily Scott doing Fixing A Hole, Brooke White – “Love Is A BattleField, Didi Benami “Play With Fire”

    Comment by JASon – May 23, 2012 12:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not fair to do the one performance per singer thing. That’s like Idol saying it has to be six girls and six guys. Mine is pretty season 7-11 heavy as I didn’t really watch regularly til season 7 (Cook, Castro, Smithson and White are blamed for me loving Idol)

    1. HOTRS – Haley Reinhart
    2. WHole Lot Of Love – Elise Testone
    3. Fixing A Hole – Lily Scott
    4. BlackBird – Carly Smithson
    5. Play With Fire – Did Benami
    6. Billy Jean – David Cook
    7. Crazy Little Thing called Love – Joshua Ledet
    8. PAint It Black – Siobahn Magnus
    9. Ring Of Fire – Adam Lambert
    10. Benny and The JEts – Haley Reinhart
    11. Love is A Battlefield – Brooke White
    12. Crazy On You – Carly Smithson
    13. Little Sparrow – David Cook
    14I walk The Line – Chris Daughtry
    15 What Is and SHould Never Be – HAley Reinhart
    16. katelynn Epperly – Oh Darling
    17. David Cook – Elenor Rigby
    18. Daydream – Jason Castro
    19 Blue – Haley Reinhart
    20 the Scientist – Kately Epperly
    21. Mad World – Adam Lambert
    22 When A man Loves A woman – Joshua Ledet
    23. This is A Man’s Man’s World – Joshua Ledet
    24. Vienna – Elise Testone
    25 Moving Out – Philip Philips

    Comment by JASon – May 23, 2012 12:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sorry but House of the Rising Sun is #1 for me. It was simply vocal, emotional, and performance perfection in every sense. Summertime is overrated, and A Man’s World should not be #3. More like #10.

    Comment by AJ – May 23, 2012 04:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Pleaseee!!! Where is “Billie Jean”????

    Comment by Rafaella – May 23, 2012 05:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s just my opinion, but am I the only one who thinks Adam Lambert and ‘Mad World’ are overrated? I don’t watch Idol, but I started watching Michael’s recap by chance and watched many of performances he mentioned. Not a fan of any of contestants, but I don’t get and have been wondering about his hype the most. Some of Youtube videos I watched had very passionate comments about him, and the performances weren’t even from his season. I would understand Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry or Jennifer Hudson. Personally, I liked his ‘Tracks of My Tears’ better, but I didn’t find him “better” than other contestants of Idol. Many of Idol contestants seem to be good singers and/or performers like him in their own way to me. By the way, the videos kind of makes me sad about some um…. singers on radio, but I do admit that I still listen to many of those song b/c they are fun to listen to. Well, I will say he is better than them. And, before you say anything, I do listen to songs that are sung by people who can sing quite well. I am not a music critique and just listen to songs casually like on Pandora and other radios.

    Comment by a casual observer – May 23, 2012 05:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree a bit, it was good but it wasn’t THE end of the world.

      Comment by FreeHaley – May 23, 2012 07:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My personal favorite was Adam Lambert’s “Ring of Fire”. But I like weird stuff like that.

    Comment by Ruby – May 23, 2012 10:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hailey’s Rolling in the Deep…. did it before every female singer wanted to be Adele, had to get permission from Adele personally to even sing it, then the judges drove the bus over her for singing a song no-one knew. she put her own touch on it and that rendition stuck with me, and I felt she was vindicated when it became a huge hit. I agree HOTRS was a defining moment but Rolling was my personal favorite.

    Comment by Jon_Mpls – May 23, 2012 10:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah I can’t believe Randy was such a tool over that. Right after she sang it it totally exploded beyond all belief on the charts (actually I think it quickly bumped off JLos new single or album of something, maybe that is what got JLo on board with TPTB hah and had her go from giving Haley some support to full on, cold-hearted bus driver).

      Her live performance even had some cool things no on the studio version. Another thing to look for to see who has it, look at the expressions of the backup singers while a contestant is singing, on that RITD (and a few others) check out when Haley does that one part and the one backup singer just kind shakes her head like whoa good grief are you kidding me and then smiles, now THAT tells the real story not Randy and his fake Nigel notes and all that junk.

      Comment by FreeHaley – May 24, 2012 08:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • BBBBennie and the Jetssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    Comment by kris – May 23, 2012 11:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great list but I would have Gone by Scotty last year..you don’t have any of the last 3 winners on it…LOL.

    Comment by mailmanjimmy – May 24, 2012 04:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This sad truth becomes evident–and it pains me to say it as I like Slezak and like his writing, but he doesn’t have great musical taste! There is NO WAY Joshua (“doesn’t sing so much as throws up”) Ledet deserves to be on the list, anywhere. And Kimberly Locke’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” was MUCH better than Alison (doesn’t sing so much as bellows and hisses) Ireheta. And Haley(her clumsiness) Reinhart, MAYBE #25.

    Comment by Greg – May 24, 2012 07:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Haley MAYBE #25??? SHe was one of the greatest contestants ever along with Clarkson.

      Comment by FreeHaley – May 24, 2012 08:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Tone? Phrasing? Range? Emotion? HOW???????????? (I know I’m an American Idol blasphemer–but I don’t even like Kelly Clarkson that much. Melinda Doolittle is the bar by which all performances are judged).

        Comment by perfesser – May 25, 2012 08:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Are you for real? Haley had no unique special tone? No range?? Did you hear her in Moanin’ among others?? Never any emotion? She had ten times the range of the last two winners that is for sure! Did you see all the times when the backup singers shook there heads and smiled like oh damn can you believe she just did that??

          Comment by FreeHaley – May 25, 2012 02:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with Number 1. I just went back to watch it…. wow. Stayeee yay yeeeaaaaaaaa dddddnnnnnnn Byyyyyye ey ebyyyyeeeeee….

    Comment by Bazzle (@BazzleFjsm) – May 25, 2012 10:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • According to whatnottosing.com the best 25 performances are:
    1 Stuff Like That There
    Kelly Clarkson AI 1
    -
    2 Billie Jean
    David Cook AI7
    -
    3 Summertime
    Fantasia Barrino AI3
    -
    4 In A Dream
    Bo Bice AI4
    -
    5 Mad World
    Adam Lambert AI8
    -
    6 House Of The Rising Sun
    Haley Reinhart AI10
    -
    7 Build Me Up Buttercup
    Clay Aiken AI2
    -
    8 Imagine
    David Archuleta AI7
    -
    9 I’ll Stand By You
    Pia Toscano AI10
    -
    10 Whole Lotta Love
    Elise Testone AI11
    -
    11 A House Is Not A Home
    Tamyra Gray AI1
    -
    12 Solitaire
    Clay Aiken AI2
    -
    13 All By Myself
    LaToya London AI3
    -
    14 Hemorrhage (In My Hands)
    Chris Daughtry AI5
    -
    15 My Funny Valentine
    Melinda Doolittle AI6
    -
    16 Will You Love Me Tomorrow
    James Durbin AI10
    -
    17 I Will Always Love You
    Jessica Sanchez AI11
    -
    18 New York State Of Mind
    Kimberley Locke AI2
    -
    19 Don’t Rain On My Parade
    LaToya London AI3
    -
    20 When A Man Loves A Woman
    Joshua Ledet AI11
    -
    21 Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
    Clay Aiken AI2
    -
    22 A Whole New World
    Ruben Studdard AI2
    -
    23 Whipping Post
    Bo Bice AI4
    -
    24 You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
    Nadia Turner AI4
    -
    25 Bohemian Rhapsody
    Constantine Maroulis AI4

    Comment by Steve Z – May 26, 2012 02:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jessica definitely have a lot of WOW moments on idol. Her viral IWALY performance, Stuttering, And I’m Telling You especially the one in the finale. Common Slezak!!!

    Comment by Pete Randy Medina (@pre_medina) – May 27, 2012 10:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Everyone has their own opinion and I have watched all 11 seasons. David Cook singing
    “The World I know” I don’t remember a moment from any other contestant to top that.

    Comment by FrannieW (@rascalete) – May 29, 2012 08:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I object!
    I think, “I (Who Have Nothing)” by Haley Reinhart is better than Jordin Sparks’ Version.
    Well, thanks for giving us this ‘coz I knew that still, Joshua – Haley – Fantasia – Jessica – Kelly – Adam are the best contestants of all time.
    But not as famous as the others.
    Oops! Kelly is still the most famous of them all. :D

    Comment by Jay R Amolo – October 14, 2012 06:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We a group of 100 plus stay up to watch AI and we’ve been following all season except for season one…the consensus is very few of the contestanats really stand out…they r all very much alike but in all we were wowed by Adam lambert although he didn’t win…Joshua Ledet was phenomenal we don’t know why he’s so hated…Jessica Sanchez we believe didn’t reach her full potential but was a joy to watch… Pia for wateva reason was booted out even when it was so obvious she stood tall amongst her peers…so much for travesty of justice…we hope u guys vote right this time around…vote talent over sentiments… Most of the past winners are at best mediocres…AI Fan Base in The City of Lagos Nigeria

    Comment by Don Himself – January 29, 2013 04:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mcphee with “Somewhere over the rainbow” or Aretha’s “Think” totally got snobbed. Jessica Sanchez should’ve totally ranked WAY higher and if I had to choose a Carrie performance I would have chosed “(Making Love) Out Of Nothing At All”.

    I’m also surprised not to see Phillip Phillips, but I’m not sure what song could have made it in the list. (Probably “Superstitious” was my favorite).

    Comment by luis – February 19, 2013 11:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

Leave a Reply

Comments on TVLine.com are monitored. So don't go off topic, don't frakkin' curse, and be gone with your offers of discount leather goods. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s