Fox's American Idol has given us the best and worst of people over the seven seasons it's been on the air, and while the worst have sunk into anonymity (except William Hung), the best have seen their careers take off.
American Idol premieres edition eight tomorrow night, and while we're looking forward to checking out some fresh blood, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the previous contestants who really left an impression.
This sixth-place finisher in season four not only has all the goods to make it as a successful singing artist, but also a cover model for romance novels. He's certainly more entertaining than another cookie-cutter country singer, and that's what counts, right? We just have one request: when you make love to us with your eyes, can you be a little less creepy? Thanks.
9. Clay Aiken(Season two, second place)
Sure we liked to giggle and poke fun at Clay Aiken at first, but the guy's got talent and a voice that defies his wiry frame. He's also the most successful male Idol, plays Sir Robin in Broadway's Spamalot (like a new version of The Wiz's Scarecrow), and is very hands-on involved with organizations that help the children of the world. Uh-oh, I think I just described the second coming of Michael Jackson. Eh, we'll keep him on the list anyway.
8. Bo Bice(Season four, second place)
The Southern rocker helped change what American Idol was all about with his edge...or I should say "edge." Not only did he usher in something other than pop into the American Idol mix, he has a cool name and was ancient by the show's standards when he competed...28 years old! And who can forget his a cappella performance in the late rounds? Oh, you did? Well thankfully it's right here.
Jordin's natural talent has helped her craft one of the most successful post-Idol careers; she even made that lame song they wrote for her on American Idol sound good. Consistently delivering the goods during her American Idol run, Sparks got better and better and was never even in danger of facing an early elimination. Plus, she's working with Chris Brown now. Not too shabby.
The first American Idol winner is every bit talented enough to be in any one of the top five spots with her commercial success, pop-rock sensibilities, and feisty personality, but as long as copies of From Justin to Kelly still exist, we're keeping her right here.
David Archuleta is like a fine red wine…he needs to grow with age or simply go bad...and come to think of it, doesn't go well with fish. Giving him a higher rank is like giving an Academy Award to the first Lord of the Rings movie…if you know they only get better, why not just wait? Let's face it, he has plenty of time to climb future lists and be a successful star...he's only like eight years old or something!
4. David Cook(Season seven, first place)
Sure, David Cook was probably that guy you hated in college that played guitar jams in his dorm room for unsuspecting freshmen women, but if he gave us a private acoustic performance of "Billie Jean," we'd be pudding too.
One of the series' best set of pipes belongs to Hudson, who can blow some harmonies with the best of them. She's also turned in one of the best post-Idol careers despite a seventh place finish in season three; how many other American Idol contestants can boast an Academy Award?
The beautiful blonde from Oklahoma is the perfect example of what American Idol tries to do--use the hopes and dreams of regular people for their own evil financial gain--I mean, discover a legitimate talent and help them reach their potential. Underwood's performance of Heart's "Alone" is a highlight of the series and puts every other Idol version of it to shame (y'all can stop trying now). Plus her squeaky-clean image makes her a perfectly marketable singer.
We still haven't recovered much from Daughtry's shocking fifth-season elimination...pure robbery! But we selected the man who validated rock music on a pop-heavy American Idol as our number one because--well--that took some serious balls. And while we watched him we didn't feel like a doe-eyed 12-year-old girl...we felt--dare we say it--kind of cool. For once in our lives.