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?

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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!

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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 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. Alex says:

    If I were to choose one best performance for each contestant and rank them overall this would be my list:
    1. I Believe – Fantasia
    2. Mad World – Adam Lambert
    3. Don’t Play That Song – Kelly Clarkson
    4. My Funny Valentine – Melinda Doolittle
    5. This is a Man’s World – Joshua Ledet
    6. If I Can Dream – Elliott Yamin
    7. Broken Wing – Jordin Sparks
    8. Imagine – David Archuleta
    9. And I’m Telling You – Jessica Sanchez
    10. Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Katharine McPhee
    11. Don’t Rain on my Parade – Latoya London
    12. For the Love of Money – Bo Bice
    13. Hemorrhage – Chris Daughtry
    14. Alone – Carrie Underwood
    15. People Get Ready – Crystal Bowersox
    16. Superstar – Ruben Studdard
    17. Whole Lotta Love – Elise Testone
    18. Billie Jean – David Cook
    19. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Clay Aiken
    20. Circle of Life – Jennifer Hudson
    21. I’ll Stand by You – Pia Toscano
    22. This Ain’t a Love Song – Lakisha Jones
    23. Heartless – Kris Allen
    24. A House is not a Home – Tamyra Gray
    25. Bennie & the Jets – Haley Reinhart

  2. ezequiel says:

    i believ Candice Glover’s – LoveSong and possibly Don’t make me over or I who have nothing will be on this list!

    • Billy says:

      Candice easily had the best night in Idol history. Lovesong takes the 2 spot and Don’t Make Me Over enters the top 10.