‘Idol’ Coronation Songs: The Good, the Bad & the “Beautiful”
photo: Ray Mickshaw/Fox
photo: Ray Mickshaw/Fox
It's too bad that almost every past coronation song has been such a piece of sentimental, Hallmark-y dreck, but some have been more listenable than others. So here's my ranking of the "Idol" coronation songs, from best to worst. Where does Candice Glover's "I Am Beautiful" fit in? Read on...
(Side note: Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze's coronation song was the already-market-tested "Beautiful Day," by a little band you may have heard of called U2, so I'm skipping Season 9 on this list and sticking only to originals or songs that were largely unknown in the U.S. at the time.)
1. Phillip Phillips, "Home" (Season 11) - The moment I heard Phillip sing "Home" on the Season 11 top two performance show, I knew it would be my all-time favorite "Idol" coronation song, and I knew it would be a smash hit. Sure, the Mumford & Sons comparisons were inevitable. Even Mumford & Sons mistook "Home" for a Mumford & Sons song. But being compared to Mumford (or Coldplay, or Arcade Fire, or Edward Sharpe, or the Lumineers) really isn't such a bad thing, is it? This was the first coronation song in "Idol" history that sounded current, relevant and — dare I say it? — actually cool. It's hard to believe now that P-Squared didn't want to release this song as his first single, but considering how it has since sold more than 4 million copies, he's probably glad now that Jimmy Iovine made him record it.
2. Kelly Clarkson, "A Moment Like This" (Season 1) - This, of course, is the coronation song by which all traditional coronation songs must be judged. It's a just a good song — good enough that Leona Lewis recorded it as her coronation song when she won "The X Factor U.K." in 2006. Sure, the lyrics are a bit hokey, but who didn't get a little choked up on Season 1's finale night when Kelly fanned her misty eyes and crooned, "I can't believe it's happening to me"? A moment like that only comes once.
3. David Cook, "Time of My Life"(Season 7) - Why did the "Idol" powers-that-be make poor David, a rocker, sing a line like "I'm lookin' for that magic rainbow"? (Come on, the only singer who can get away with a line like that is Kermit.) David was one of the breakthough contestants who really pushed this show forward artistically, and he deserved better than cringeworthy lyrics like that Bette Midler-esque line about "findin' my wings" or a whole verseful of muddled metaphors. However, cliché-riddled drivel aside, melodically this coronation song (which was penned by "Idol" songwriting contest winner Regie Hamm) was one of the best, and David delivered a convincingly emotional (but not over-the-top) vocal. It's actually one of the most successful coronation songs, sales-wise, second only to Phillip's. Seeing Courtney Galliano and Mark Kanemura beautifully waltz to it on the fourth season of "So You Think You Can Dance" personally helped me appreciate it more, too.