American Idol Best Performances

American Idol Farewell Week: The 30 Best Performances of All Time!

Hush, Idoloonie, don’t you cry-y-y-y.

Oh yes, I have spent the last week (OK, actually the last 15 years) reviewing, rewinding and re-listening to the greatest performances in American Idol history — and the time has come to count down the definitive Top 30.

It’s an impossible task, if I’m being honest. How do you separate raw, gut-busting emotion from pure, mind-blowing perfection? How do you leave out Pia Toscano and David Archuleta and Carly Smithson and Kree Harrison and Trenyce (oh, Trenyce!) and Sarina Joi-Crowe? How do you not wind up weeping into your YouTube and wondering if maybe the good folks at Fox are pulling our collective leg, that next January they’ll give us a Season 16 with fresh themes, invested mentors and the Banned Songs List we’ve been dreaming of since Season 5 or 6.

The aforementioned fantasy is against all odds. Take a look at me now. There’s just an empty space. (See what I did there?)

What is not empty is my gallery of the 30 Best American Idol Performances of All-Time. You may rage against my egregious snubs, quibble with my rankings, or send a strongly worded tweet to my Reality Check co-host Melinda Doolittle asking her to set me straight. (And you’d probably be right.)

But you can’t say the 30 performances I’ve recognized didn’t please the ears, stir the soul or earn their place in the gallery inside The House That Kelly Clarkson Built.

Click through my picks below, dab your eyes with a tissue, and hit the comments to tell me what I got right, where I went wrong and which performances should’ve made the final cut. It’s been great, these contestants have been great, and you’ve been great, too.

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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145 Comments
  1. Kate says:

    Seeing this headline and Slezak’s byline just made me get a little choked up. It’s truly the end of an era.

    • Ubba says:

      Or judging by the quality of the past few seasons: it’s the end of an error.

      • Kate says:

        Speak for yourself. Season 9 was by far the show’s worst season. There have been sublime moments in recent seasons.

        • John May says:

          There were several sublime moments (by Crystal) in season 9, IMO.

          • Nutt says:

            Agreed. Crystal was by far the better singer and artist that season. Girl can sing and I remember all of her performances from season 9.

          • Nigel says:

            Agree that Crystal had sublime moments, but the rest of the contestants didn’t. In fact, so much of the Top 24 was wrongly picked that it became a really terrible season. If Crystal wasn’t there then the show would’ve been in deep trouble.
            Here’s a thought tho, Elise Testone should’ve auditioned for season 9, then she wouldn’t have had to struggle so much in season 11, which was such a tough season. We prolly would’ve seen more of her anyway, and she could have avoided the Whitney Houston week and killed it on the Rolling Stones week instead

        • Timmah says:

          I’ve seen all 15 seasons, and the current one is easily the worst. 9 actually had a lot of great moments, in spite of DeWyze winning.

  2. Jason Paul says:

    Michael and Melinda, please do a weekly podcast on all TV shows. Thanks for your reality check treats!

  3. Lisa Huber says:

    Clay Aiken “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is one that still sticks in my mind

    • Lisa G says:

      Yep, me too. I think this list suffers from being too loaded with recent seasons. Michael is such an Idol diehard it surprised me, though I’m happy to see Elliott and my favorite (in competition) performance from Kelly. Personally, I think Piece by Piece ranks above them all. :)

    • kirads09 says:

      Thank you. I was like – Clay Aiken had several incredible performances – hello?

      • Rafael says:

        I’m glad Kimberley Locke is returning to the series finale to perform and this time she should be chosen as American Idol series finale RUNNER-UP, besides having a season 15 RUNNER-UP along the way. Clay Aiken should be returning to the series finale today to perform and this time he should be chosen as American Idol series finale WINNER, besides having a season 15 WINNER along the way.

    • Debbie Nowak says:

      Sorry but Haley does not belong on the list. Her growl was so annoying!

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, I was surprised to not see Clay in here, either. I’d also add Kimberly Locke’s “New York State of Mind” from that season-that performance was fantastic.

  4. Kate says:

    I don’t have many quibbles, though I would jettison Jena Irene, Joey Cook and possibly La’Porsha, or at least move them to the very end of the list.

    It had to be challenging to limit to 30. I’m thinking about Scotty McCreery’s “Gone,” Allison Ireheta’s “Cry Baby,” Phillip’s “Volcano,” Haley’s “I Who Have Nothing,” Jessica Sanchez’s “The Prayer,” Janell Arthur’s “You Keep Me Hangin on,” Kree’s “Up to the Mountain,” Candice’s “Dont Make Me Over” … to say nothing of duets/groups like the Candice/Jessica/Deandre Vegas week performance, Kendra and Paul McDonald’s “Blackbird” and Haley/Casey’s “Moanin.”

  5. Nathaniel says:

    Michael Evelyn Slezak! Where is Reality Check? How am i suppose to get through the last half hour of work without it?!

  6. abz says:

    I haven’t watched the show for several years, only tuning in for some performances here and there on YouTube as well as Reality Check, but one of the worst things I remember is how Taylor Hicks won over Katharine McPhee. She should have won. I probably would have included her ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ rendition on the list.
    Love Kelly Clarkson’s “Stuff Like That There” performance.

    • Mak says:

      Katharine Mcphee was on idol???? wow, I just googled it and t’s true. How did I not know this. I started knowing her on Smash.

      • Kat’s “Over The Rainbow” is one of the greatest Idol moments! But Slezak dislikes her…

        Season 5 was the best! It was all about Soul Patrol x McPheevers x Chrisaholics x Yaminos. Fans went crazy online because of the competition lol

      • Idol's End says:

        If you ask the high school senior class if they know who Carrie or Kelly is, most will know they are singers/stars. Ask them where they got there launching pad to success, and most of them have no clue it was American Idol. Think I’m kidding?? Dare you to try it, ask your scholl’s music dept. to try the question.

    • Annabelle says:

      I still get upset when Michael slezak leaves her off these lists. She definitely deserves to be.

      • HTGR says:

        Yeah it’s pretty absurd a total iconic moment like her SWOTR can’t even make top #30. Even if he dislikes her at least toss her #30 (although ti should be way up near the top). How can you have Sklyar and Joey on the list and not an icon like McPhee?

    • Carmen L Mercado says:

      Yes, that was also an upset!

    • TJ says:

      I am still a fan of the Soul Patrol! Love me some Taylor Hicks any day. :) I also have to thank him for introducing me to Ray LaMontagne. I now own all of Ray’s albums.

  7. Amy says:

    Well, Michael, just matter of fact…I do see how you leave out David Archuleta…because you’ve done it every chance you got since S7. Clearly he’s never been your thing, nor most of the peeps who comment here. Melinda on the other hand, who we can defer to musically, as well as for her own personal taste, has voiced appreciation for Archuleta’s musical chops. He is so much more, musically, than the cute kid and guy who sang Imagine, (which wasn’t even my favorite of his.)
    Just had to put in my 2 cents on one of my favorite Idols…He’s my “Haley.” #NeverForget
    That said…this week sure is going to be nostalgic. Idol’s best days may have been behind it…but it was some phenomenon, that in it’s heyday turned the music biz on it’s head with a brilliant concept of launching a star with a built-in invested fan base. Gonna miss it. Gonna miss Reality Check too. (Even if we don’t see eye to eye on every one of Idol’s best.)

  8. Kay says:

    How did no David Archuleta (Season 7) performances make this list and Fantasia’s got number one?!?!

  9. letterhedz says:

    Any list that doesn’t include at least one of Clay Aiken’s performances is invalid.

    • Timmah says:

      Agreed. Much as I like Michael’s writing and videos, his lists are usually terrible IMO.

    • Kate says:

      Any list that doesn’t include at least one of Clay Aiken’s performances is invalid IN MY OPINION.

      Fixed that for ya! Not all of us in Idol nation are or were big Clay fans.

      • Rafael says:

        Clay was mentioned in the American Idol alumnui to return for the series finale, so he should be coming back tonight for another chance.

  10. Jaclyn says:

    She wasn’t my favorite of her season, but I often point to the Jessica Sanchez performance of “And I’m Telling You” as a vocal master class. It gives me chills every time I watch it, so very sad to see it get bumped!

    • Timmah says:

      That was a great one, as was The Prayer and I Will Always Love You. I don’t know how she got completely bumped. I mean, Skylar Lane, seriously?

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Seriously. No Jessica Sanchez, but Skylar Laine somehow made it? And Joey freakin Cook? I know Michael loved Skylar, but none of her performances should be in the Top 30 of Idol all-time performances. Just sayin’.

        • HTGR says:

          Exactly how on Earth can they be on it but no McPhee and Jessica Sanchez??? I hate to say it but on the final night Skylar’s vocals seemed somewhat amateur hour compared to very nearly everyone else they brought back (including McPhee and Sanchez who blew it out of the park again tonight).

    • Jessamine says:

      The best Jessica Sanchez performance was the duet she did with Jennifer Holliday on the finale. Unbelievably awesome.

  11. Cindy says:

    Phillip Phillips, Volcano was better than Home

  12. DarkDefender says:

    I would switch Adam and Candace (2 & 3). Otherwise spot on. Tasia’s “Summertime” is my all time favorite. (I get goosebumps just thinking back on it)..
    .
    I also, maybe, would have made room for McPhee’s “Over The Rainbow” somewhere in the top 20.

    • Lisa G says:

      I know that’s most fan’s favorite of hers, but for me Black Horse and a Cherry Tree was my favorite McPhee moment. I hear her name and that’s the song that comes to mind.

      • Brigid says:

        Every time that song comes on the radio. I think of Katherine McPhee. That performance was awesome and quite frankly, no one knew that song until she sang it. She literally made that song famous.

  13. girl_3 says:

    Michael, I can’t quibble with the list of performers, except I’d probably bump Elise’s Whole Lotta Love (Adam’s was vastly superior), and I change Phillip and Alison’s choices to Volcano and Cry Baby, respectively. However, I think you’d have almost extend this to a Top 40 and include the following:

    Tamyra – A House is Not a Home
    Ruben – Superstar
    Clay – Bridge Over Trouble Waters
    LaToya London – Somewhere
    Nadia Turner – You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
    Bo Bice – In a Dream (Wasn’t he on this list before? Did I miss him?)
    Katharine McPhee – Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    Carly Smithson – I’d pick nearly anything, but would probably go with Jesus Christ Superstar
    David Archuleta – Imagine
    Casey James – Jealous Guy
    Jessica Sanchez – like Carly almost anything works, but And I’m Telling You works here

    Take out Elise and put in these 11, and viola! Top 40!

    I will miss your Idol recaps and Reality Check with Melinda terribly! You are the perfect blend of sarcasm and legitimate interest and investment of the success of Idol and its contestants. There’s always The Voice, but it won’t be the same. I’ll be boo-hooing right there with you Thursday night :-)

    • Are you crazy? Whole Lotta Love is one of the best ever! Take Skyler or Quentin out. Also, Casey’s “I Put a Spell On You” is so much better than Quentin’s.

      But Slezak is also crazy for letting all these performances you’ve remembered out. He REALLY HATES McPhee!!!

    • tealeaves says:

      Casey James – Jealous Guy would make my list for sure! I loved that performance. Then, after it Ryan asked him, “what were you thinking about?” Casey, in a surfer dude kinda way, replied, “I was thinking about being a jealous guy.” bwahhaha

    • HTGR says:

      Whoa I was sort of agreeing with you but take Elise out? Her WLL was easily one of the all time great performances. It honestly should’ve placed a little higher if anything!

  14. Var says:

    Michael took on a nearly impossible task. My list would’ve included more David Cook songs, more Haley Reinhart performances, and Kelly Clarkson’s “A Natural Woman”. I think Michael was trying to be representative since I don’t think any of the artists had more than one song on his list.

  15. Brenda Sharpe says:

    Clark Beckham singing Georgia On My Mind or his beautiful stripped down performance of Sunday Morning or his tore it up slaying of Earned it plus lots more!!! You need to redo this list!!!!

  16. Greg Cantin says:

    Jessica Sanchez’s duet with Jennifer Holliday is the best Idol moment in history.

    • Kate says:

      Ahhhh no! All that caterwauling and insane faces made me tired. I didn’t enjoy that AT ALL.

      • Greg Cantin says:

        Anyone who calls that epic duet “caterwauling” is probably from the Deep South and is responsible for Scotty McCreary being around.

        • Kate says:

          Yeah, I’m the exact opposite of that. But thanks for linking your name to your tragic website! Gave me nice nostalgia for the Angelfire site I designed in 10 minutes when I was a preteen in the late 90s.

  17. karenb says:

    Would’ve switched out Jessica and Skyler for maybe Kelly’s Natural Woman and Allison’s Cry Baby. Over all, though, good job, Slezak. Glad Jason Castro made the cut! Love that performance.

  18. abcbarrow says:

    Michael, I love you and I have always loved you–and you are my Idol idol! HOWEVER…Jena Irene and Quentin and Joey Cook over Ruben’s “Superstar,” Clay’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and Carly’s “Blackbird?” And Melinda should be behind only Kelly and Adam, IMHO. But THANK YOU for all the joy, humor, and angst over the years. There will never be anything quite like those magical first seasons. PLEASE keep podcasting with Melinda!!

  19. mamamitzvah says:

    I know I am probably not in a majority here, but Danny Gokey’s Rain or Shine is a gem. IMHO.

  20. I still don’t get why EVERYBODY loves Jason’s Hallelujah! Must be something about nostalgia because vocally is terrible! Listen carefully to the guitar, he’s so out of tempo and the last note D: I think Lee did a better job with that song!

    And it’s sad that Slezak hates McPhee so much. “Over The Rainbow” is one of the greatest moments of the show!

    Missing Jessica Sanchez’s “And I Am Telling You”, Constantine’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and specially Clay’s “Bridge Over The Trouble Water” forever a classic Idol performance!

  21. Marla says:

    I’d put Jason Castro’s Hallelujah much higher. How about Clay’s Bridge Over Troubled Water? Or Solitaire? I don’t recall them but maybe I’ll look again. Kris Allen’s Heartless should be higher. And so should Jordin’s I Who Have Nothing.

    But that’s just me. I already can’t remember who were numbers #2, 3 or 4. LOL Guess they weren’t that outstanding to me. Oh wait….Stuff Like That. Yes that was great. The other two…already can’t remember.

  22. kcostell says:

    I only started season 8, so I’ll scale down to 16 for my list, limit 1 per idol.

    1. Mad World (Adam)
    2. Lovesong (Candice)
    3. Chandelier (Trent)
    4. Me and Bobby McGee (Crystal)
    5. Diamonds (La’Porsha)
    6. Will You Love Me Tomorrow(James)
    7. Ain’t No Sunshine (Kris)
    8. Make It Rain (Clark)
    9. Where Do Broken Hearts Go? (Skylar)
    10. I’ll Stand By You (Pia)
    11. I Who Have Nothing (Haley)
    12. Blue-Eyed Lie (Jessica)
    13. Fairytales (Alex)
    14. Decode (Jena)
    15. Volcano (Phillip)
    16. Whole Lotta Love (Elise)

    • Idol's End says:

      1. David Cook – Billie Jean
      2 I Who Have Nothing (Haley)
      3, Me and Bobby McGee (Crystal) tie with Mad World (Adam)
      4. Haley Reinhart & Casey Abrams duet “Moanin”
      otherwise ..nothing worth watching again several times.

  23. L Lawrence says:

    Joshua Ledet is my #1 (not #13). That performance, and so many others that he did on Idol are out of this world. He should have won that year!!!!

  24. Carl Jacobs says:

    Katherine McPhee’s Over the Rainbow was a personal favorite of mine. Love Reality Check by the way.

  25. Karen Anderson says:

    Kree Harrison, “Up On The Mountain.”

  26. BobL says:

    Not a bad list; you’re certainly never going to please everybody. For me, nothing will ever top Melinda’s “My Funny Valentine.” It’s a beautiful, classic song already; but Ms. Doolittle sings it with absolutely unparalleled phrasing, nuance, and polish. Every note is spot-on (She easily had fewer “off” notes throughout her run than any other Idol contest.). I love Sinatra and Fitzgerald, but I can honestly say that Melinda’s My Funny Valentine is the best rendition of the song that I have heard.

    • Don B says:

      No one, virtually no one knows what My Funny Valentine is about (and I’ll bet including HCJ himself). Credit to the song itself and Lorenz Hart that so many have covered it.

  27. Guy says:

    Haley Reinhart’s “House of the Rising Sun.” That is all.

  28. dan says:

    Tamyra Gray’s “A House is not a Home” from season 1. She should’ve been in final two with Kelly.

  29. spk says:

    I am ECSTATIC that you included Kelly’s “Stuff Like That There.” It has always been one of my favorite performances ever. She embodied the “Big Band” theme of that week. :)

  30. Betsy says:

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Slezak. You’ve been a major part of my Idol experience throughout the years. You’ve made it more fun in every way. I haven’t been as into it the last few seasons but there were a lot of big moments, thoroughly entertaining performances, and fun for many years. Clay Aiken fans will never forgive you (but that’s okay with me). Idve chosen Joshua Ledet’s “when a man loves a woman” but at least he was on there.

    Interesting choices and order. Quentin was cool but idve replaced that with Casey James’ Jealous Man. You could’ve put ANY of Elliot Yamin’s performances on there (or all of them) but if you could only pick one, that was a “vocal master class.” Michael Johns, man. Rest in Peace. Jason Castro introduced Hallelujah to the masses and it will always be his.

    thanks for the memories.

    • Helen says:

      No, Jeff Buckley introduced Hallelujah to the masses and it will always be HIS. (Sorry, Leonard Cohen.)

      • Lyn says:

        I like Bon Jovi’s version better than JB’s.

      • TJ says:

        well he introduced it to the pre-teens.

      • Betsy says:

        After Jason did it, it suddenly became massively known and often covered in competitions and Justin Timberlake and others. A lot of people had never heard of jeff Buckley until then and it brought him back into the social consciousness as well.

      • Don B says:

        K.D. Lang probably popularized it more than anyone with her rendition at the 2010 Olympics to the world. No one really does it without that performance.

      • HTGR says:

        Yeah it was Jeff Buckley all the way.
        .
        And as to who brought it to recent mega-recognition, especially to slightly younger set, it was actually the O.C. all the way. As soon as they used it for their most dramatic episode ever you heard it all over. Everyone at the local college coffee houses started doing it all the time. It was everywhere then. Idol never did it until right after the O.C. played the Buckley version and gave it tons of pop fame. And KD Lang did it a couple years later still at the Olympics.

  31. Evan says:

    This list (as always) is waaaay too skewed to the last half of the show’s run. Just 5 of the Top 30 from the first four seasons? Pshaw!

    By the looks of this list, you’d think Idol was getting better and better!

  32. marie says:

    Ah, there are some truly great performances in that egg. Thank you, Michael.
    Apples to apples: Mad World and Chandelier are similar songs.
    Watching them back to back, I really think Trent is as good as Adam. And I NEVER thought I’d see anyone as good Adam on Idol again.
    I think that, most unfairly, Trent will be eliminated tomorrow night. That doggone Dalton is going to win. Phooey. I can only hope Trent has the kind of success Adam has enjoyed. (La’Porsha well.)

  33. Anna Banter says:

    Probably should have gone with a top 50. :) I would pick most of the same artists, but different songs. Jason Castro’s Over the Rainbow, Iraheta’s Crybaby(really the elimination version), Jena Irene’s Creep, Underwood’s Independence Day, Daughtry’s I Walk the Line, Kris Allen’s Ain’t No Sunshine, Kelly Clarkson’s Natural Woman. Reinhart’s elimination version of Bennie & the Jets is an all-time favorite.

    • Anna Banter says:

      Oh and after reading the other comments….. Carly Smithson’s Jesus Christ
      Superstar and Blackbird, and David Archuleta’s Imagine.

      • Okay, and who was the girl who played piano barefoot, and did Let It be? Its fine I googled it. Brook White, let it be. I loved that performance and she was so good, barefoot and all.

  34. mishmc says:

    Agree with many of the additions in the comments like Allison’s Cry Baby, Adam’s Whole Lotta Love, Kree’s Up To the Mountain and Reuben’s Superstar. Two I would add that have stuck with me: Hailey’s What is and What Should Never Be (with Dad on lead guitar and the famous fall) and Kim Locke’s incomparable “Inseparable”. Could listen forever to those two!

  35. Trey Wren says:

    Katherine McPhee’s version of Black Horse & a Cherry Tree was my favorite moment ever. She was not even my favorite of that season at that point but that turned me into a forever fan.

  36. lorie says:

    Where is the latest Reality Check? Can’t find it anywhere, am I missing something?

  37. Just wanna add Crystal Bowersox- ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ and I still have a special place in my heart for Diana Degarmo- ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud”

  38. Reality says:

    What kind of hack put these together? it doesn’t even resemble the similar lists put together by other more reputable media. Whoever did this has ZERO sense of talent.

  39. ann says:

    Mr. Slezak … aw, after all these years, gotta call you Michael … thank you for this list. I don’t envy you trying to select just 30, much less which 30. Special appreciation to you for including Michael Johns, Bo (Bice) and the amazing Crystal Bowersox, who will ever be one of my all-time favorites (robbed that year she was, utterly robbed).
    Watching the first installment tonight of the end of Idol … I am so darn sad. I will miss this show so much. Bracing for the ‘last’ competition night, and then the finale … so many familiar faces to see again, so many great voices to savor … one hopes. They are really jammin’ a lot in that Thurs. show.
    Thanks to you and the Amazing Melinda!!! for your wise, funny and ‘keeping’ it real’ stewardship over the years of all that is Idol.

  40. sAM says:

    Michael, Where’s JESSICA SANCHEZ?????????????????????? WHEREEEE? And I’m Telling You?

  41. Adam says:

    I can’t believe you demoted Candice and give Fantasia her number one spot. “Lovesong” is easily the best Idol performance of all time, not only for Candice’s captivating singing but how cinematic the whole performance is. This is one of the rare instances where the camera-person and the staging manager also contributed some magic to a contestant’s performance. From the very first frame to the second she sang the last “I will always love you” line, the performance demonstrates a serious Lynchian vibe. Candice is like a recurring club/bar singer that Lynch featured in films such as Mulholland Dr,, Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and the outpouring emotions the judges showed during her performance reminded me of how Laura Palmer or Betty and Rita’s exaggerated reactions in their respective scenes. Even the technical glitch (i.e. the audience screaming “i love you” through a hanging mic) accidentally projected a moment of surrealism.

  42. Margaret Parker says:

    Yall left out so many great singers and put in some we barely remember what’s that about? Clay Aiken & Ruben Studdard got the AI train on track you didn’t even mention either one if fact some of the ones mentioned were the one you have scratch your head to remember?????

  43. Carmen L Mercado says:

    Yes you were right! Adam Lambert should have won!!

  44. Jennifer says:

    Interesting list. There are a bunch on here that I agree with. I would have definitely removed a few performances to make room for Clay’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” David Archuletta’s “Imagine,” and Katherine’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
    I also would have switched some of the songs you chose for the Idol’s on the list. I would have picked Phillip Phillip’s “Volcano” over “Home,” Haley’s “House of the Rising Sun” over “Bennie” (even though Bennie is absolutely amazing and stunning and gorgeous), and Alison’s “Crybaby” over “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” With those changes I would have had Phillip much, much higher on the list, bumped up Alison a few spots, and most likely given #1 to Haley.

  45. ANGEL-LEE WILLIAMSON says:

    It’s hard to believe it’s been 15yrs I still remember the first season I have cried I have laughed but most of all
    “I HAVE BEEN AMAZED BY THESE SINGER’S” I think you have made some great choices in the top 30 of all time great job on the performances
    1 OF YOUR BIGGEST FAN’S
    ANGEL-LEE

  46. Trent Harmon this season Chandelier never heard better in ANY season

  47. Jess says:

    For me my fav performance was just about any by David Cook. I really liked Daughtry and Bo Bice too. (I do like the boys!) The only ones I completely disagree with on your list was the Skylar one and the Jessica Meuse one. I disliked those ladies very very much! I forgot about so many of these people! It would be awesome to know where every top 12 contestant was now and how they were doing! Research anyone?? lol

  48. Lloyd says:

    Season 2 is the only one from which no one made the list.

    • Lisa G says:

      Which doesn’t make any sense at all. One of the most competitive seasons and that which solidified the franchise. It wasn’t by accident, the performances were tremendous. Heck, here in season 15 they brought back both Ruben and Clay. Something from them or Kimberly Locke should definitely have made the list.

      • Angela says:

        Season 2 was when my family started watching regularly (we caught the finale of the first season), so that one’s always going to be special for us :D. By the time it got down to Ruben, Clay, and Kimberly, I was like, “They’re all fantastic, I’m cool with any of them winning.”

  49. Angelica says:

    How is Jessica’s And I Am Telling You not here? Hell, how is her Stuttering not here? her Prayer not here? Too much recency bias; there’s no way Jena Irene’s pitchy ICHFIL was better than Jessica’s brilliant AIATY. Equally egregious is omitting Phillips’ Volcano.

  50. JM1 says:

    Too many recent seasons, not enough early ones. Without some of those early standouts, there would be no show today.

    • Timmah says:

      Agreed, there is way too much recency bias in this list. Diamonds and Chandelier were ok, but in no way belong on an all-time great list. And why are Clay, McPhee, J Sanchez, Carly Smithson, Kim Locke etc. nowhere to be found?