In celebration of American Idol’s 10th anniversary (which was yesterday, but better late than never!) I give you my own personal favorite performances from each season. These are my favs, what are yours?
Season 1 – Kelly Clarkson – Stuff Like That There – Top 6 Big Band
Kelly brought the house down with her rendition of “Stuff Like That There” for Big Band night. Kelly was well on her way to sealing the deal for her win.
Season 2 – Kimberley Locke and Frenchie Davis – Hollywood Week – Band of Gold.
This Kimberley Locke – Frenchie Davis duet was actually a group number for Hollywood Week. Kim and Frenchie said that none of the other girls wanted to sing with them because they were skeerd. I would be too, as the ladies pretty much blew the roof off the joint.
Season 3 – Fantasia – Summertime – Top 8 Movie Soundtracks & Top 2 Final
Without a doubt, the performance of the season. She performed it on Top 8 and then reprised the song for the Final 2.
Season 4 – Bo Bice – Top 3 – In A Dream – Top 3
Bo took a risk singing “In A Dream” a capella, but it paid off. The performance became one of the seasons major moments and helped propel him into the final.
Season 5 – Elliott Yamin – Moody’s Mood for Love – Top 20
The best thing about Elliott’s “Moody’s Mood For Love” was how it came out of nowhere. It’s rare for a contestant to kill so thoroughly with a song that’s so difficult and obscure. Elliott demonstrated his musicality and vocal chops with this performance. The you tube is the reprise he did on Top 3 results night.
Season 6 – Blake Lewis – You Give Love a Bad Name
Blake took a huge risk when he reworked the Bon Jovi classic ‘You Give Love a Bad Name” but it totally worked and paved the way for Idols like David Cook and Kris Allen to re-arrange the songs they sang. Gamechanger.
Season 7 – David Cook – Always Be My Baby – Top 6 Mariah Carey
David Cook slowed up and re-arranged a Mariah Carey song, lending the tune a new poignancy and power. He sang the hell out of it. And his brother, who was ill with brain cancer (and would succumb to the disease a year later) was in the audience. David became emotional afterward after the judges effusively praised his performance. It was pretty damn perfect all around.
Season 8 – Adam Lambert – Mad World – Top 8 Year They Were Born
Too bad Ken Warwick couldn’t keep his show running on time. Those watching via DVR missed the last performance of the night, which was Adam’s powerful version of the Gary Jules arrangement of Mad World. Thank God for You Tube! Adam’s rendition was and remains deeply moving.
Season 9 – Crystal Bowersox – Up To The Mountain – Final 2 – Winner’s Single
In Season 9, the Top 2 got covers as winner’s singles. Crystal covered Patti Griffin’s “Up to The Mountain” and it was righteous, people, righteous. She totally killed it. It was Simon Cowell’s last American Idol critique ever, and things get a little misty.
Season 10 – Casey Abrams – Your Song – Top 11 Your Song
I love this performance because Casey came back a week after being eliminated and saved humbled. He got back to basics, stripped away the pretense. But most importantly, he allowed himself to be vulnerable. A moving performance of one my favorite songs of all time.
Season 11 – Elise Testone – Whole Lotta Love – Top 9 Their Personal Idols
Elise showed us why she was the QUEEN of Season 11 with this amazing performance of Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. She took the stage and owned it. Rocker girl. Artist. Perfection.