The Legacy of American Idol (Top 5 Favorite Performances ) VIDEO


American Idol was the first show of its kind to make stars. Sure, there was Star Search, but nobody really came right from that to become a huge success. Without Idol, I wouldn’t have discovered David Cook or seen him in concert so many times. Same for Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, James Durbin, Allison Iraheta, Nick Fradiani, Caleb Johnson, and Jena Irene. But that’s only the beginning of the story.

Idol’s success led to many other singing shows that took over the airwaves in ways big and small. Without Idol, we wouldn’t have The Voice and it’s success stories-the judges. I wouldn’t know who Blake Shelton was if it weren’t for The Voice. We also wouldn’t have had Duets or Rising Star. I know, we could all have done without Rising Star, the trainwreck that it was. If Idol hadn’t made Simon Cowell a household name and therefore someone who had the power to make TV shows of his own, we wouldn’t have America’s Got Talent and The X Factor. America’s Got Talent produced acts like Taylor Williamson, Mat Franco, Terry Fator, Jackie Evancho, and most recently Paul Zerdin. Acts like Beach Avenue (Nick Fradiani’s old band) and Dustin’s Dojo were robbed by AGT’s producers, but at least one of those situations worked out for the best. I look forward to AGT’s return this summer with Simon Cowell joining the panel.

Most importantly to me, without Idol, The X Factor UK wouldn’t exist. If Simon was never on American Idol, nobody would know who he was, and we wouldn’t have gotten amazing talent like Olly Murs, Matt Cardle, Cher Lloyd, Little Mix, Ella Henderson, Sam Bailey, Ben Haenow, Fleur East, Andrea Faustini, and most recently Louisa Johnson. I left out One Direction because I didn’t care for them on the show, but I will say it has been really cool to see them take over the world. We also would not have had Wagner, Reggie and Bollie, or Jedward, which would have been nice, but hey, no show can have a perfect record. I’m trying to forget about The X Factor USA, because with the exception of the talented Melanie Amaro (who I’m still pissed didn’t make it big), Alex & Sierra (who should also have made it big), and Fifth Harmony (who are doing extremely well for themselves), that show was a blemish on the franchise.

All of these people from all of these shows would still be undiscovered if it wasn’t for American Idol’s success. Because American Idol paved the way for shows like X Factor and AGT, I will be forever grateful.

My friends like to joke that I only talk about three things-singing competition shows, Apple products, and politics. They are mostly right. The community here at mjsbigblog has given me a forum to talk with other people who are interested in these shows, and I will always be thankful that I discovered this blog and started commenting here.

But I’ve buried the lead. I am going to rank my top 5 Idol moments. I started watching in season 7, so I am only including performances from that season on. Also, if I could include 5 performances from David Cook and Adam Lambert, I would. But I’m limiting myself to one performance per contestant.

5) Caleb Johnson-Dazed and Confused. Caleb was a polarizing figure here on mjsbigblog, but I feel like his vocals were always impeccable (with the exception of the Asteroid song and the week he was sick). Dazed and Confused was Caleb’s standout moment for good reason. He sang the hell out of the song, and the production helped make it feel like a true rock concert. I was really happy that he sang it on the Idol tour and again when I saw him in 2015.

4) Nick Fradiani-Beautiful Life. I am going to copy and paste my reaction to Nick’s AGT audition which I liveblogged here: “They are really great. Lead singer has a great voice, the song is catchy, the band is into it. My favorite music act of the season.” Sadly, Beach Avenue didn’t make it past the second round. But then Nick Fradiani auditioned for Idol and the rest is history. The reason Beautiful Life stands out as such an amazing performance is because Scott Borcetta clearly listened to Nick’s music with Beach Avenue and picked a song that fits right alongside his pre-Idol music, and this allowed Nick to really get into the song. It showed, and Beautiful Life propelled Nick to victory.

3) Candice Glover-Lovesong. Randy “In It To Win It” Jackson said that this was the best performance he’s ever seen on Idol. Not quite for me, but it’s up there. Candice’s phrasing and the simplicity of the arrangement really made this stand out amongst the pack. Season 12 is remembered as a bust of a season, and rightly so, but Candice was really special and clearly deserved to be more successful than she has been.

2) Adam Lambert-Mad World. Simon stood up for this performance. Keep in mind, this was before Simon gave out standing ovations to anyone for no reason whatsoever – including to Reggie and Bollie on The X Factor UK. And I totally agreed with him. This was vocal perfection. Adam didn’t need to rely on anything but his voice as he just sat down on a chair and sang. This was perhaps Idol’s last true watercooler moment.

1)David Cook-Billie Jean. The performance that changed Idol forever. After this performance, Idol was no longer just about vocal ability. David Cook was an incredible vocalist, but what took this over the edge from being great to being fantastic was the arrangement that came out of left field. While David didn’t come up with this particular arrangement by himself, it set the standard for all sorts of other unique arrangements in future seasons.

About Eric Ascher 106 Articles
I cover X Factor UK for Mjsbigblog. I love writing about any show that could help me find an entertainer to follow in the real world. I watch these shows obsessively and love keeping up with amazing talent.