Can you believe the news?! American Idol is coming to an end. After reigning the world of reality television for 14 seasons, it will officially be cancelled next year after its 15th season. If you’re like us, you’ve definitely grown up watching these aspiring stars as they rose to the top. Even as the show is drawing to a close, we still do appreciate the huge amount of talent that was discovered over the years. There were countless memorable performances on the show, but here are some that really stood out, both from the past and more recent seasons.
1. Kelly Clarkson – “Without You” by Mariah Carey
The original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, has enjoyed a huge career after her big win in season one, and continues to hit the pop charts. From the beginning, she showed an amazing range and control over her voice at just twenty years old. There are a lot of jaw-dropping performances throughout her stay on American Idol, but one song which really showed her true capabilities as a singer was her beautiful rendition of “Without You”. Most would feel too intimidated to take on a song made famous by pop phenomenon, Mariah Carey, but Kelly effortlessly made the song her own.
2. Carrie Underwood – “Alone” by Heart
A far cry from the glamorous country goddess she is today, Carrie was just a humble farm girl with pure, raw talent. After impressing the judges at the auditions, she grew and developed her voice after each round, and is now one of the most well-known Idol winners to date. Shy girl Carrie made a full transformation when performing 80’s hit “Alone”. Her trademark confidence began to show, and along with slaying every note, she displayed amazing conviction during this performance.
3. Adam Lambert – “Mad World” by Tears For Fears
Although he didn’t win, Adam continues to be a fan favourite, perhaps due to his impressive stage presence and even more impressive vocals. In season eight, flamboyant rock numbers were his specialty, but he surprised the judges with a softer, more subtle style with the song “Mad World”. He conveyed the song’s melancholic message without ever bringing down the energy. Instead of belting through the whole song, he showed off his range at just the right moments, making this cover one of his greatest yet.
4. Haley Reinhart – “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
Haley had tough competition, but her soulful performances pushed her through till the Top 3. This jazzy singer knew how to work the stage and ooze sex appeal, but her voice was always what took centre stage. During her performance for “House of the Rising Sun”, a classic blues number covered by many, she gave her soul into the powerful rendition. Starting off with a strong a capella, she powered through the song with well-sustained notes and rock ‘n roll growls, making it a performance to remember.
5. Phillip Phillips – “Home” (Idol Coronation Song)
Phillip Phillips not only had a catchy name, but a sound that perfectly fit in with the indie rock trend that was growing in popularity in 2012. His husky voice was unique for the Idol stage, and his talents on the guitar made him a worthy contender. While performing one of the most well-written coronation songs on Idol, “Home”, his thoughtful, acoustic style was displayed brilliantly. Phillips’ classic sound stood out amongst the rest, and it’s certainly no wonder why the song rocked the charts and movie soundtracks shortly after.
6. Jena Irene – “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Elvis Presley
At 17 years old, Jena Irene was one of the youngest to perform on the American Idol stage, but still displayed powerful emotion that went far beyond her years. She showed versatility in ballads and rock songs, but it was when she sat down with her piano that her talent truly shined. Her moving version of this famous Elvis number drove judge Jennifer Lopez to tears (She even let out an expletive on air. Oops!) and “goosies”, which is no mystery. Jena’s soft piano playing and unforgettable vocals touched many hearts, making it an incredible interpretation from such a young contestant.