Top 10 Best American Idol Performances of All Time


American Idol is probably the only singing reality show, which has managed to last for 15 years, and has given us few of the best singers in the country. From Carrie Underwood to Adam Lambert, this show has discovered many superstars.

The American Idol team aired their last season, giving us flash back of all the brilliant performances which ignited our souls. Be it legends like Jennifer Hudson or Kelly Clarkson, this stage has seen the best of the best. And in honor of the show, we would love to list top 10 performances which made a special place in the hearts of the audience. The list has been made on the basis of a reader’s poll.

10. “If I Can’t Have You” by Adam Lambert

Best American Idol Performances Ever

Lambert turned to absolute dance classic, for his ‘disco week’ performance, by transforming it into a power ballad, slowing down this Yvonne Elliman’s classic and belting out its beats. Adam was popular for his originality, and experimenting with songs, by giving them his own flavor. This performance showcased his trade mark style in the show. He even managed to impress, Simon Cowell who described his voice as ‘immaculate vocals’. Thanks to his American Idol fame, the singer is a well known pop artist in the music industry today.

9. “You Got Another Thing Comin” by James Durbin

Best American Idol Performances Ever

A popular contestant of the 10th Season of the show, who sadly got eliminated at the fourth position, is an established metal head today. James was popular on the show for covering hard rock classics. One performance that sweeped every one of their feet was, “You got another thing coming” by Judas Priest. Steven Tyler admired his performance and described it as “fucking crazy good”. The song has been watched over a million times on YouTube. His voice mixed perfectly with the beats giving a passionate feel to the song, which felt like ecstasy to the ears.

8. “The Tracks of My Tears” by Adam Lambert

Best American Idol Performances Ever

This was the tenderest performance given by Adam in his entire journey of the show. Lambert was intimidated with then mentor Smokey Robinson, he explained during ‘Motown week’, when he started singing Robinson’s song “The Tracks of My Tears”, acoustic version. His beautiful voice felt raw, and flowed serenely with the acoustic guitar. He appeared in the eighth season of the show.

7. “Alone” by Carrie Underwood

Best American Idol Performances Ever

Today she is one of the most popular country singer in United States. She was discovered in the fourth season of American Idol, which she also ended up winning. She chose Heart’s “Alone” to transform into the hard rock heroine, which stands polls apart from her country. This performance indeed proved that Carrie has been gifted, she can sing pretty much anything and make it sound like a melody. Simon Cowell, the judge of the show was so amazed by this performance that he predicted that she would take this season’s trophy home, and will outsell all records of previous winners on the show.

6. “Always Be My Baby” by David Cook

Best American Idol Performances Ever

Cook’s most talked about performance still remains to be Mariah Carey’s hit number “Always Be My Baby” which he turned into a soft-rock jam. The song started with a slow sensual touch which developed in an anthemic by the second verse, and ended as a heavy version of pop. Judges and audience were taken aback by his performance; it gave them a hint of multiple musical genres. Simon Cowell commented on the performance as a “breadth of fresh air”, which one feels after coming out of a karaoke hell.

5. “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Adam Lambert

Best American Idol Performances Ever

Once again on our list is another performance by Adam Lambert, who has definitely set a record for best performances on the show. It is amazing how many great performances he managed to give in a single season. American Idol creator decided Sam Crooke’s classic number for Adam. The song perfectly fit with the glam rock style of Adam who added passion and bluesy into the soulful song. Paula Abdul, gave it a standing ovation and called it to be the best vocal performance given by Lambert. She also predicted his future career to be ‘iconic’.

4. “Whole Lotta Love” by Adam Lambert

Best American Idol Performances Ever

Lambert’s vocals perfectly matched Led Zeppelins’s classic rock single. His energy in every note was palpable, where he was singing every sexual innuendo with sensuous ferocious power. The performance was a complete package, a treat to eyes, ears and mind. This performance was admired by Randy Jackson, who wanted to collaborate with Adam. Kara DioGuardi hoped that Adam makes an album, covering all the rock classics of seventies and eighties. Simon Cowell, was only concerned about that how will anybody top this performance.

3. “Circle of Life” by Jennifer Hudson

Best American Idol Performances Ever

The Oscar winning singer appeared in the third season of the singing reality show. People were mad with makers, unable to comprehend how; their queen didn’t take the trophy home. Her cover for Elton John’s classic Lion King Song “Circle of life”, raised goose bumps on everybody who heard the extraordinary melody that was recreated in Hudson’s voice. She might have not won the third season, but she has won Grammy and Oscars.

2. “You Make Me Feel” by Kelly Clarkson

Best American Idol Performances Ever

The first official winner of the American Idol trophy, Kelly is well known name in America. She has established herself into a pop sensation, whose music is still loved by millions. It was obvious from her audition performance that this Texan powerhouse was here to win the show. Simon Cowell predicted her win from her first performance. Her most iconic performance on the show remains to be “You Make Me Feel”, which almost made her competitor Justin Guarini concede that he himself awed by it.

1. “Billie Jean” by David Cook

Best American Idol Performances Ever

David took a classic pop number, and transformed it completely to add his touch to it, and presented a whole new version of “Billie Jean” to the world. This performance marked him as the future of the seventh season of American Idol. The hard rock singer stripped down the beats and the tune to give the song a dark brooding track, which is actually quite similar to Chris Cornell’s arrangement for the track, which was later revealed as the inspiration behind settings of the track.

The show was running for almost 15 years, giving a platform to deserving talent, who had the potential to become the next musical sensation. We have only listed few of the best performances. We can still think of hundred more which are not included in the list. The show in itself is a musical journey, where every experiment is an open door to an extraordinary performance. We might or might not have included your favorite performance, as this list based on readers’ poll. However, you can run a debate in our comment section, telling us about your most memorable performance on American Idol.


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