Music

Best 'American Idol' Performances of All Time

Kelly Clarkson sings during the taping of the "American Idol in Vegas" show Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2002, at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The show will air on the Fox Network on Monday, Sept. 23. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta)

Since its debut in 2002, American Idol has been one of the biggest singing competition shows on TV. Viewers loved watching host Ryan Seacrest interact with contestants before they sang their hearts out on national television and were critiqued by judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Perspective vocalists and songwriters would travel to Los Angeles year after year to audition for the opportunity to make all of their dreams come true. 

Since the first season aired on FOX, the show has produced numerous superstars including Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson, pop and country sensation Kelly Clarkson, America's sweetheart Carrie Underwood, and more. Judges have come and gone, with past judges including Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr. It was believed the final season would be in 2016, but the show was resurrected and moved to ABC with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie serving as judges for the past two seasons. 

The show inspired more singing shows like The Voice, but we know it all started with all of the talented finalists and runner-ups from Idol.  We've rounded up our favorite 17 American Idol performances, many of which are covering classic country songs.

1. Candice Glover: "I Who Have Nothing" by Jordin Sparks

 

2. Adam Lambert: "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash

 

3. Jessica Sanchez: "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton

 

4. Carrie Underwood: "Man I Feel Like a Woman" by Shania Twain

 

5. Kris Allen: "Make You Feel My Love"

 

6. Fantasia Barrino: "Always On My Mind"

 

7. Taylor Hicks: "Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver

 

8. Katharine McPhee: "Houndog/All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley 

 

9. Haley Reinhart: "Blue" by LeAnn Rimes 

 

10. Phillip Phillips: "Still Rainin'" by Jonny Lang

 

11. Blake Lewis: "When the Stars Go Blue" by Tim McGraw

 

12. Chris Daughtry: "Making Memories of Us" by Keith Urban

 

13. Jordin Sparks: "A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride

 

14. David Cook: "Little Sparrow" by Dolly Parton

 

15. Joshua Ledet: "I'd Rather Be Blind" by Etta James

 

16. Clay Aiken: "Someone Else's Star" by David Daniel

 

17. David Archuleta: "Smoky Mountain Memories" by Dolly Parton

 

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Best 'American Idol' Performances of All Time