Last night we saw our eighth American Idol crowned, and it was the underdog, Kris Allen who took the number one spot. I thought he might, considering everyone had been treating Adam Lambert as a sure thing from day one, but both are great artists and will do well regardless of who was first or second.
Let me stop here and say that yes, **** you, I do like American Idol. I think it’s pretty cool to watch someone go from absolutely no one to a worldwide celebrity in five months right before your eyes. There really isn’t any other show on television that does something like that, and it does produce some damn good talent on occasion. Things I do hate about it: The month(s) long city-touring audition process and the hour(s) long results shows of which I watch exactly the last two minutes.
I’ve ranked the eight winners so far in order of best to worst, and the video I show is their audition tape, because I think it’s cool to see them act like normal people before they had any idea what lay ahead for them.
Best – Carrie Underwood (Season 4)
You really can’t top Carrie Underwood in terms of both vocal talent and career success. She’s one artist who’s come out of the show and really kept growing, and as a result has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and has landed a bunch of #1 singles and Grammy Awards. As an added bonus, she’s one of the most physically perfect women on the planet, at least in my estimation.
Carrie is the standard to which all other Idols should aspire to, and seeing as she raked in $14 million last year, that should be plenty of motivation right there. She’s the most talented singer to come out of the competition in eight years, and it’ll be interesting to see how long she can hold on to that title.
#2 – Kelly Clarkson (Season 1)
Sometimes the original formula is the best, and Kelly Clarkson is proof of that. I think it’s largely dumb luck that Idol stumbled onto Kelly in its very first season, before every wannabe in America started trying out for the show. Most of the other finalists in season one were terrible, and #2 of the season, Justin Guarini, wouldn’t have even made it past Hollywood week today.
But Kelly was a diamond in the rough, and has had her albums go platinum ten times over since eight years ago. We haven’t heard that much from her in a while, but hopefully she’ll be back on her game soon.
#3 – David Cook (Season 7)
Last season’s winner was Idol‘s first rocker crowned king, and Cook truly is a master vocalist. I was heartily surprised he beat out David Archuleta who was genetically engineered to be on the cover of Tiger Beat, but it turns out America can make right decisions every once in a blue moon. He sold a million copies of his album since last year, but I’ll be damned if I can name any singles. He’s still got a ways to catch up with season 5’s Chris Daughtry, but he’s on his way.
#4 – Kris Allen (Season 8)
(Sorry no audition tape for Kris, Fox is being a bitch. This is my favorite performance of his from this season, “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once)
I’m placing last night’s winner at the #4 spot because I think that’s about where his talent lies. It’s unclear how successful he’ll be as an artist, but he’s got a built in teenage girl audience already that will make him at least a platinum selling artist by next year.
I was satisfied with him winning the title last night, even though I’ve been rooting for Adam Lambert this whole time. Adam will succeed no matter what, as he was clearly born to be a rock god, and Kris just seems like a really nice, humble guy who it’s cool to see win, even if he’s not a vocal powerhouse.
#5 – Jordin Sparks (Season 6)
Wow, no offense to Jordin Sparks and season six, but she was so forgettable, I had to slide her in after I wrote this article because a commenter called me out on being bad at math. Season six featured some pretty mediocre talent, but Jordin was pretty good and she had that one song with Chris Brown which was alright (tell me how I’m s’posed to breather with no air, *air*) , thought I haven’t heard much from her since. If she gets a good producing team together it’s still possible she could really break through and become a really big star, but it hasn’t happened on that big of a scale yet.
#6 – Ruben Studdard (Season 2)
Ruben was an extremely good singer at the time, but was immediately overshadowed by runner up Clay Aiken after the show ended. Studdard was eventually dropped by his record label and I think he’s currently stomping around the South American rainforest somewhere eating tourists. Honestly, I have no idea what happened to this guy.
#7 – Fantasia Barrino (Season 3)
Oh God, I really hated Fantasia. I forget who was second place this season (was it Diana Degarmo? Yawn), but I remember that Latoya London was eliminated in third or fourth place despite being one of the most gifted vocalists I’ve ever heard on the show. In contrast, Fantasia sings like the deformed love child of Macy Gray and a cat with laryngitis.
A distant last – Taylor Hicks (Season 5)
Look, Taylor Hicks was a hoot on the show, but singing anything else besides blues and Joe Cocker, he was simply atrocious. Simon knew it the whole time and took every opportunity in the world to tear him down, but America was amused and voted him to the #1 spot. This was even more of a travesty, because season 5 had some truly great singers on it like Chris Daughtry and Katherine McPhee who were screwed over because America was taking an idiot break.