Happy 10th Birthday, ‘American Idol’!
Ten years ago this week, a little television show called "American Idol" (perhaps you've heard of it?) premiered on Fox. Since then, the "AI" empire has spawned dozens of chart-making pop stars, hundreds of watercooler moments, millions in record sales, and has taken up probably thousands of hours of my life. So thanks, Fox!
To celebrate the show's big double-digit birthday, I'm dusting off and updating my list of my top 10 "Idol" performances ever. It was INCREDIBLY difficult to pick only 10 performances out of 11 seasons, so I have many honorable mentions as well. But finally, I came up with a top 10 list I can live with.
Which performances are on your list? Feel free to nominate your favorites on the message board below...
10) Casey James - "Jealous Guy"
True "wow moments" were sadly few and far between on Season 9, what was arguably the most disappointing season in "Idol" history. But on Lennon & McCartney Night, eventual third-place contestant Casey's emotional rendition of John Lennon's dark and desperate "Jealous Guy" was unexpectedly magical. His voice, possibly due to an authentic lump in his throat, took on a gruff, Eddie Vedder-esque quality during his raw performance, and he seemed genuinely choked up. And so were viewers, by the song's end.
9) Jason Castro - "Hallelujah"
Many Idols (way too many, actually) have covered this Leonard Cohen classic, but Jason's from Season 7 remains the definitive "Idol" version; the song really should have been retired from the show after he did it. His performance was in fact so popular that iTunes downloads of the Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and Rufus Wainwright versions skyrocketed the day after this aired.
8) Joshua Ledet - "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World"
Yes, I KNOW that when I recently compiled my list of top 10 performances of "Idol" Season 11, I ranked Colton Dixon's "Piano Man" at number one, above "Man's World." But I think when people look back on "AI" history, this is the performance they will remember. And it's the performance that fans will cite when still incredulously coming to terms with the sad fact that Joshua didn't make this year's finale.