Saturday, April 16, 2016

DAM NATION: American Idol's 100 Greatest Performances (Honorable Mentions)

15 Seasons. 568 Episodes. 2,141 Live Performances. 411 Contestants. 11 Judges. 54 Grammy Nominations. 13 Grammy Awards. 1 Oscar. 7 Billboard Hot 100 Number 1s. 39 Million Viewers. That's right! That's my final - and obligatory - count for the entire run of American Idol.

True, the show aired it's final episode of the series last week, but it's impressive legacy will remain, which includes a fantastic list of top-notch performances throughout the show's 15 years. Say what you want about American Idol, but no one can deny the impeccable talent the show has produced and proof to that are the following performances.

Again, just like many other lists or countdowns on this site, this one is extremely biased as it's based on personal preferences and judgement. There will probably be performances that are nowhere to be found on your list that may be as high as 10 or something on here - actually I guarantee it. But please respond maturely, flames don't make me particularly happy.

Oh, and I decided to divide the post in groups of 10 performances to better highlight each one of them. So there!

Here are the HONORABLE MENTIONS - just before we go straight to #100..

Your Song
Casey Abrams

Week: Top 11 Redux
Theme: Elton John

After he got eliminated - and then saved by the judges - Casey decided to pull back all of his vocal affectations and delivered a subtle and understated version of this Elton John classic. It was quite refreshing and he did the song justice.

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Nadia Turner

Week: Top 12
Theme: 1960

Nadia was pretty golden during the semifinals round of Season 4 consistently delivering exhilarating performances. Then, she performed You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and it was a fantastic change of pace for her proving that she's capable of something sultry and controlled and not just the rock vibe she's been churning out prior to this performance.

A Broken Wing
Jordin Sparks

Week: Top 7
Theme: Country

Sure, A Broken Wing was a tad too mature for Jordin Sparks to tackle at that time - given that she's only 17 years old when she was competing - but the maturity that went to her soaring vocals was quite impressive that even Simon Cowell finally recognized her as a potential winner of that season.

Take Me To The Pilot
George Huff

Week: Top 9
Theme: Elton John

There's something about George Huff that makes one smile. His version of Take Me To The Pilot was a straightforward interpretation of the song that was mostly carried by his gorgeously soulful tone and terrific grasp on pitch. Plus, that final run at the end was spot on. 

Paris Bennett

Week: Top 11
Theme: 1950

On paper, Paris Bennett and Fever shouldn't really work - given the nature of the song and her actual age - but she made it work. Her vocal modulation sounded absolutely perfect with the song, she committed well enough with the material that it didn't come off inappropriate, and she really looked like a star while doing it.

Out Here On My Own
Thia Megia

Week: Top 24 Girls
Theme: Open

Major points for starting acapella - it's pretty tough to stay on pitch as soon as an instrument comes in - and for her astounding vocal control. Yes, she did hit one wonky note in the middle, but not significant enough to ruin the unexpected mix of restraint and power. This was, without any doubt, Thia's shining moment on the show.

Me and Bobby McGee
Crystal Bowersox

Week: Top 11
Theme: Billboard #1 Hits

One can argue that Crystal's performances in Season 9 were almost too similar with each other that you can't separate one from the other. Me and Bobby McGee was actually an exception as this turned out to be his most memorable and interesting performance on the show. Her vocals, as usual, were on point and that change in tempo towards the end was brilliant.

Let's Get It On
Nikko Smith

Week: Top 20 Guys
Theme: Open

Everything just clicked in Nikko Smith's version of Let's Get It On. Sure, his tone may not appeal to everyone, but one can't deny the slinkiness and sensuality of the number. His well placed growls added dimension to the performance and his tone fit the song perfectly. It didn't have enough fireworks, but he sure made it work.

Flat On The Floor
Lauren Alaina

Week: Top 5
Theme: Now and Then

Flat On The Floor was, arguably, one of the more obscure songs of Carrie Underwood during Season 10 and this song choice seemed a little too out of left field for Lauren. Good thing, she was able to pull it off and with flying colors. She stretched her vocals further than anyone expected, she came out with more confidence, and she actually looked like a potential country pop star. It was everything she needed to do at the time.

Do I Do
Mario Vasquez

Week: Top 24 Guys
Theme: Open

Forget about Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice! Mario Vasquez, at that time, was the clear front runner of Season 4 until he suddenly dropped out of the competition due to personal reasons. But while his stint on the show was short lived, he still managed to deliver some strong performances including this high-powered rendition of Do I Do, which was a proof positive of his potential as a viable pop artist at that time. 

NEXT: 100 - 91


Anonymous said...

I wonder what happened to this post.

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