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Best AMERICAN IDOL Performances

As we wait for the new season of American Idol to begin, let us reminisce on some of the show's most memorable performances.

What are your favorites?


Season 1
Stuff Like That There - Kelly Clarkson

Season 2
Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Clay Aiken
Somewhere Out There - Clay Aiken
Inseparable - Kim Locke

Don't Cry Out Loud - Diana DeGarmo (the best of the season, IMO)
All By Myself - Latoya London
I Believe - Fantasia

Season 4
In A Dream - Bo Bice
Alone - Carrie Underwood
Angels Brought Me Here - Carrie Underwood

Season 5
Moody's Mood For Love - Eliott Yamin
A Song For You - Eliott Yamin
In The Ghetto - Taylor Hicks
Paris Bennett's audition

Season 6
I Am Woman - Melinda Doolittle
A Broken Wing - Jordin Sparks
Midnight Train To Georgia - Lakisha
Blaze of Glory - Phil


  • hmmm my choice would be

    1. bo bice - in a dream..
    2. katharine mcphee = somewhere over the rainbow
    3. fantasia - I belive
    4. kelly clarkson - stuff like that there
    5. blake - you give love a bad name.

    in order yan for me..
  • paradox19paradox19 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Season 1:
    stuff like that there - kelly clarkson
    natural woman - kelly clarkson

    Season 2:
    wasn't able to watch this season

    Season 3:
    circle of life - jennifer hudson
    summertime - fantasia barrino
    weekend in new england - jennifer hudson
    inseparable - jasmine trias
    i believe - fantasia barrino

    Season 4:
    i'm every woman - vonzell solomon
    alone - carrie underwood
    i have nothing - vonzell solomon
    georgia on my mind - nikko smith
    what a wonderful world - anwar robinson

    Season 5:
    somewhere over the rainbow - katharine mcphee
    trouble - elliott yamin
    foolish things - paris bennett
    moody's mood for love - elliott yamin
    fever - paris bennett
    if i can dream - elliott yamin
    black horse and the cherry tree - katharine mcphee

    Season 6:
    geek in the pink - chris richardson
    you give love a bad name - blake lewis
    a broken wing - jordin sparks
    since you've been gone - melinda doolittle
    dangerously in love - stephanie edwards
    time of the season - blake lewis

    TOP 5:
    1. trouble - elliott yamin
    2. you give love a bad name - blake lewis
    3. what a wonderful world - anwar robinson
    4. i believe - fantasia barrino
    5. somewhere over the rainbow - katherine mcphee
  • ako for season 5 lang:

    - All of Taylor Hick's performance except "In the Ghetto"
    - Elliot Yamin's "A Song for You", "If You really Love me" and "Moody's Mood for Love"
    - Paris Bennet's "Midnight Train to Georgia" "All I do"
  • I’ll Play

    I’ve only seen Season 3 to 6 in their entirety, and I had to rely on Youtube for some AI 1 and AI 2 performances, but here are my favorites (This is an edited version of the list I posted at another AI thread here in PEx). Rule nga lang is that there are no repeaters n terms of performers, or else this list would be dominated by two or three people.

    10. Don’t Cry Out Loud, Diana Degarmo (First Time)

    Fantasia deserved to win Season 3. She was the most consistent, and she was a great performer. However, Don’t Cry Out Loud was the performance of the season for me. In a season of blah performances, this one definitely stands out. Probably for the first time, Diana was actually able to combine kick *** vocals (which she usually has anyway) and the right emotion needed for the song (which she usually does not have). Combining the two, you get this awesome performance. It was a really powerful performance, incredibly well-controlled. Had she had more performances like this, she could have legitimately had a shot at the title.

    9. Broken Wing, Jordin Sparks (First Time)

    I do not like Jordin (that’s putting it lightly, actually). I do not like her personality. I think her voice is totally generic. And I hated the “OMG she’s only SEVENTEEN call the New York Post” attitude of the show towards her. But I recognize a great performance when I hear it, and this was a great one. You could feel the confidence emanating from that performance. I think the best thing about Jordin is that she knows how to properly emote a song, thus making her performances usually very effective. This is the kind of music she should be doing.

    8. Incomplete, Nikko Smith

    Remember Nikko? He was the guy that got a second shot at American Idol after not making the Top 12. Loved this guy’s voice. It was very soulful, though it tended to get a bit whiny at times. And I actually remember this particular night on AI. Everybody did a great job, but I thought Nikko blew them out of the water. He totally let his inhibitions fly. He just let go, and his voice soared.

    7. Living For The City, Taylor Hicks (First Time)

    I was a casual Taylor supporter, mainly because I loved the fact that he was almost anti-AI (looked unmarketable, leaned towards the older demographic in terms of song choices and all that). He had some really bad performances (Country Roads, anyone?), but this was his best and I really loved it. I love the song anyway. I love the energy that he put into the song, and the vocals seemed pretty spot on to me.

    6. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me, Clay Aiken

    Clay had a lot of great performances, but this one was my favorite. It was subtle yet very powerful. DLtSGDoM has been done and redone on AI several times already, but this rendition still remains the best. It’s interesting because I’m not really a fan of Clay’s choir-boy type singing. Too belt-y for me. But here, he was surprisingly restrained. The tone of his voice was beautiful.

    5. Drift Away, Bo Bice

    Everybody mentions In A Dream as their favorite, but I hated that performance. If you listen intently to In A Dream, you’ll hear his voice go completely off several times. The only reason, I think, why that is such a beloved performance is because he sang it acapella. Otherwise, there was nothing really special about it. Drift Away is the kind of song that fits Bo so well. The performance was just great, and the vocals seemed spot on. This was the Bo that I really enjoyed. Southern rock at its best.

    4. Independence Day, Carrie Underwood (First Time)

    I’m not the biggest Carrie fan, but this performance was soooo underrated. The judges actually really liked it, but I don’t really hear a lot fans mentioning this as part of their favorite performances. This is where, I think, Carrie really started to shine. This is the performance that made me really appreciate the kind of voice that she has. When she gets to the chorus, you could just tell, at that moment, that she was going to be a serious contender.

    3. My Funny Valentine, Melinda Doolittle

    No “best performances” list would be complete without at least one Melinda performance. Her voice was brilliant here. Sabi nga nila Simon, controlled and really subtle. No glory note belting. Her interpretation, her phrasing, the emotion she put into the song – everything just worked. It was probably the classiest performance AI has ever seen.

    2. Stuff Like That There, Kelly Clarkson

    This was, I think, top 6 night on American Idol’s first season. Yet this was night wherein I think she actually won the crown. Her voice was so clear and crisp, and the performance just worked, you know? Everything about it just seemed to work – the little 50’s-inspired dress, the choreography, the great song choice. Many people would credit Kelly for making AI what it rally is today. I say people should be crediting this performance. Really brilliant and it would be #1, except…

    1. Elliott Yamin, Moody’s Mood For Love (First time)

    It’s interesting because whereas most AI contestants would try to impress the audience by glorynoting and belting, Elliott did just the exact opposite with this song. Watch this performance on Youtube and pay attention to the perfection of the timing, the phrasing, the breathing, the pitch, and those ridiculous high notes. I know little to nothing about singing, but this performance gives me goosebumps every single time I watch it. Technically, this was the single best performance in AI history, and I was so fortunate to have seen it live when Elliott performed it in TriNoma.
  • My favorite of them all would have to be Carrie Underwood's "Alone." :) I remember how she looked like an 80s rock goddess and how powerful her voice, and her performance, was of course. It made me love the song. :) I remember Simon saying that she would win American Idol and sell the most records out of them all, after that performance. :)

    I also loved Elliott's "Home" (I loved the song after), and his rendition of "I Believe to My Soul," when he even added his name to the lyrics while singing ("My name is Elliott Yamin...") I remember that everyone was expecting him to go during the week when he performed the latter, and Paula Abdul told him that she was so proud of him for fighting it out, and for giving one heck of a performance (or was it Simon?). And of course, he wasn't booted out that week. *okay* And how could I forget--E's performance of Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be"! He was a "funky, white boy" as Paula said, hahaha. :lol:

    As for our Filipino Idols, I loved Camile Velasco's audition, when she performed "Ready or Not" by The Fugees. It was really funky and I remember Randy telling her that he loved the dark quality of her voice (or was it Paula? Hahaha). :) I also loved Jasmine Trias' rendition of "I'll Never Love This Way Again" during Barry Manilow week, and of course, "You're All I Need To Get By" during motown week! Simon said that the latter was the best performance of the night. :)
  • jayjay09jayjay09 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    bo bice - i dont want to be
    jordin sparks - to love somebody
    vonzell solomon - best of my love
    anwar robinson - i'll never love this way again
    jasmine trias - i'll never love this way again
    carrie underwood - alone
    katharine mcphee - somewhere over the rainbow
    sanjaya malakar - cheek to cheek :lol::lol:
  • I only started to watch Ai since season 4.... but thanks to youtube... here are the best AI performances for me

    Tamyra Gray - A House is not a Home and And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Going

    Kelly Clarkson - RESpect and Natural Woman

    Anwar Robinson - What A Wonderful World

    Paris Bennett - Midnight Train To Georgia and Foolish Things

    Taylor Hicks - In The Ghetto and Living in The City and Taking It to The Streets

    and off course ALL performances of our boy Elliott (wasn't trouble performed by Taylor though?)<---- oh, ibang trouble pala yung nasa isip ko na pinerform ni taylor suring the first rounds of the top 12

    special mention:

    Paris and Al Jarreau We're in This Love together
    Elliott's A House is Not A Home and his performance with MJ BLige
    Melinda's performance with Bebe and Cece Winans
  • purpleheadd07purpleheadd07 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    everything daughtry :rocker: :love:
  • bluekiss04 wrote: »

    As for our Filipino Idols, I loved Camile Velasco's audition, when she performed "Ready or Not" by The Fugees. It was really funky and I remember Randy telling her that he loved the dark quality of her voice (or was it Paula? Hahaha). :)

    I've always thought that Camille Velasco was one of the most underrated contestants ever on the show. I loved her audition as well.

    Actually, the female singers with the smoky, soulful voices never really seem to make it far in the competition. Which is too bad, because I would take those low, smoky voices over the belt-y ones anyday.

    Leslie Hunt
    Melissa McGhee
    Lindsay Cardinale

    All of them great singers, but they never made it far. Great singing in AI always seems to equated with the number of high notes you can hit. :rolleyes:
    Hemorrhage - Chris Daughtry
    I have nothing - Vonzell
    Independence day - carrie
    Vehicle - Bo bice
    Bohemian Rhapsody- Constantine
    Broken Wing - Jordin
    U give love a bad name - blake
    I surrender - anthony
  • Most UNDERRATED performances:

    -Basically all of Melissa McGhee's performances

    -Teach Me Tonight by Elliott Yamin - this was an even tougher song to sing than Moody's but he pulled it off brilliantly. The judges definitely did not underrate this (Simon called it "fantastic"), but fans seem to always overlook this.

    -In The Ghetto by Taylor Hicks - My favorite Taylor performance. Very soulful, and it fit his voice so well.

    -I Have Nothing by Vonzell - This song has been done to death on AI every season, but this was the best version, IMO.

    -Moon River by Anwar - This was before he found the need to belt out every darn song he sang. Very restrained and controlled.
  • jayjay09jayjay09 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    nikko smith - incomplete
    lindsey cardinale - standing right next to me (audition)
    lakisha jones - you're gonna love me
    fantasia barrino - summertime
    chris daughtry - have you ever really loved a woman
    blake lewis - you give love a bad name
    pati yung rocker chick last season - i stand by you
  • Add:

    Making Love Out Of Nothing At All - Carrie Underwood
    I Believe To My Soul - Elliott Yamin
    Vehicle - Bo Bice
    Respect - Kelly Clarkson
  • Carrie:

    Independence Day
    Bless the Broken Road
    Angels Brought me Here
  • Pa add uli:

    What A Wonderful World - Anwar
    If You Really Love Me - Elliott Yamin
    Signed Sealed Delivered - Fantasia Barrino
    Respect - Kelly Clarkson
  • I already made a list before and I'm too lazy to look for it, hehehe. but after six seasons of American Idol, this was still the BEST. ONE. EVER.

    Jennifer Hudson's Weekend In New England

    Her rendition of this song, to me, has been the best rendition of any song in the history of American Idol. Her performance skills are incomparable, though I do have to mention that she went to a performing school. It doesn't detract from the merit, however. Cheers to Jennifer Hudson!
  • katherine Mcphee - somewhere over the rainbow
  • Jennifer Hudson - Weekend in New England
    Katharine McPhee - Over the Rainbow
    Fantasia - I Believe
    Chris Daughtry - Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman
    Melinda Doolittle - I Believe in You and Me
    Carrie Underwood - Alone
    Elliott Yamin - Moody's Mood for Love, A Song For You, Somebody to Love, Trouble, I Don't Wanna Be
    Bo Bice - Drift Away
    Diana DeGarmo - Don't Cry Out Loud (although I think she butchered the song in the finale)
  • ^ Apparently, the producers were out to get Diana that night.

    Conspiracy theorists say that the producers rigged her ear piece so Diana did not know which key to start in or when. They also didn't tell her that she was singing the entire song. So nag-panic siya.

    In sabotaging Diana, it cleared the way for a Fantasia victory.
  • eto yung mga naaalala kong performances so far

    jasmine trias - inseparable
    elliott yamin - if i can dream, if you really love me, moody's mood for love, a song for you
    camile velasco - one last cry, ready or not
    jennifer hudson - circle of life, i believe in you and me
    vonzell solomon - treat me nice, best of my love
    carrie underwood - alone
    john stevens - king of the road
    phil stacey - i could not ask for more
    sway penala - reasons
    bo bice - inside your heaven
    fantasia barrino - chain of fools
    blake lewis - you give love a bad name
    gina glocksen - ill stand by you
    chris daughtry - have you ever really loved a woman
    mikala gordon - god bless the child

    for sure may nakalimutan pa ako
    di ko naabutan yung season ni kelly at clay
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