It was the first time a Country singer and a Rocker made it to a finale. Carrie has one of the best voices we've heard on the show and some of the strongest performances that remain ranked high up to date: "Alone" and "Angels Brought Me Here" were chill-inducing; while Bo had the voice, the experience and the presence of a true rock performer. The finale of the fourth season of Idol remains the most exciting of them all.
2. David Cook/David Archuleta
Cook is one of the most original contestants to ever set foot on the Idol stage. His covers of "Billie Jean" and "Always Be My Baby" remain two of the best performances ever seen on that stage. Archuleta, on the other hand, had a soothing voice and brought the youth and freshness to Season 7. At only 17, Archuleta nailed every ballad he performed on the show.
3. Kris Allen/Adam Lambert
Who doesn't like the story of the underdog beating out the early front-runner? Kris Allen came up from behind to shine through on the final weeks of the show. His performance of Kanye West's "Heartless" remains a highlight. Adam Lambert's voice is pretty unique and has an incredible range. The theatrics of all his performances were exciting to watch whether you were a fan or not.
4. Kelly Clarkson/Justin Guarini
This finale is so high up for two reasons only: Kelly Clarkson and the fact that this was the very first season. I don't know enough about Justin to judge his singing, but I do know that Kelly Clarkson has one of the best most incredible voices in the music industry today. Her previous success shows why she won the show and why she'll always be known as The Original American Idol.
5. Ruben Studdard/Clay Aiken
Ruben's voice is just as big as him, and I mean that in a good way. The man knows how to carry a tune and although his career doesn't reflect it, he is one of the best soul singers we've seen on the show. Always on key, never exaggerated. And Clay, well... very few Idol contestants have had the crazy large fanbase that Clay Aiken had. His following was so incredible that he remains the contestant with the largest first week album sales, when his debut album opened to over 600k sold.
6. Fantasia Barrino/Diana DeGearmo
The first and only all-female finale on the show. Fantasia is perhaps one of the most talented and best performers that has walked through Idol. Her performance of "Summertime" remains Randy Jackson's all-time favorite performance from any of the seasons. Diana has a great voice and had her own thing going for her, but we all knew she had no chance against Fantasia.
7. Jordin Sparks/Blake Lewis
Neither Jordin or Blake were the better vocalists from their season (which was a rather weak season.) Jordin was charming and did have a very nice voice, she always had good performances and it was the first time an R&B/Pop artist made it to the finals. It was also the first time a human beat-box machine made it to the finale, but that was all Blake had going for him. His voice wasn't worthy of an American Idol finale, but what that man does with his beat boxing is incredible.
8. Lauren Alaina/Scotty McCreery
It's the youngest finale ever and also the very first all-country finale. So why isn't this more exciting? Well, for one, most of America does not like country music and well, their young age also reflect their inexperience on that stage. Both Lauren and Scotty played it extremely safe during the entire season. They were early fan favorites, which is the only reason why they made it into the finale. Yes, they both have great voices, but they need to learn and grow a lot if they want successful careers after this wraps up.
9. Taylor Hicks/Katharine McPhee
Taylor who? Yeah, none of us remember him. None of us also know how Chris Daughtry finished fourth. Had Chris been in the finale instead of Taylor, this would have been in the Top 3 of best final showdowns. I don't remember a performance where Taylor didn't seem drunk on stage. It's a shame, because Katharine has one of the nicest voices we've heard on Idol and she was overshadowed by Taylor's, um, hyper-activeness.
10. Lee DeWyze/Crystal Bowersox
Although I do like Lee, there is no denying that we witnessed the most boring and unexciting American Idol finale last year. Lee DeWyze's voice was far from perfect and the dude was lost without his guitar; while Crystal, who was an early front-runner, peaked too early in the competition and as the weeks went along she became old and boring. No surprise these two failed to impress and their albums were less than successful.
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