These are the American Idol performances that simply blew us away. They're the standout songs we rewound a million times on our DVRs and then shared with our friends on Facebook. These are the five performances that best represent all nine seasons of American Idol greatness. 5. "Imagine" by David Archuleta (Season 7)
We still get goose bumps watching the then 16-year-old David Archuleta singing sweetly and brilliantly one of the most inspiring songs ever written – "Imagine" by John Lennon. With only a guitarist accompanying him, David kept the performance low-key and focused on his voice. The judges praised Archuleta. "That's one of the best vocals I've ever heard on this show," Randy said. Paula then told him: "I want to just squish you, squeeze your head off, and dangle you from my rearview mirror." (Apparently, the head-squishing thing was a compliment because Paula also added that it was "one of the most moving performances I had ever heard.")
Hmmm. How would we describe Adam Lambert's performance of the Tears for Fears hit "Mad World?" How about a scenic musical journey through riffs and melodies we've never seen before on Idol? With pretty butterflies flapping their wings to each note...sorry, we turned into Paula there for a minute. But maybe Simon Cowell said it best when he simply commented, "Words are unnecessary, but I want to give you a standing ovation."
What's the best American Idol performance you've ever seen? Sound off in the comments below!
Speaking of contestants who made each song their own, David Cook followed right in Chris Daughtry's footsteps by bringing a dose of rock to his AI performances. On the show's Michael Jackson theme night, David transformed "Billie Jean" from a danceable pop hit to a soul-stirring rock ballad. "You might be the one to win," Randy said (he was right, by the way.). Paula gave David a standing ovation and Simon said, "It was amazing."
4. "Walk the Line" by Chris Daughtry (Season 5)
Chris Daughtry had a unique way of giving any classic song a more current, rock twist. And the best example of Chris's edgy brilliance (can you tell we’re digging him?) was the night he performed Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line." He somehow managed to turn Johnny Cash's classic into something we would request on the radio today. "You are so true to who you are and you never abandon that," Paula said. "I think you are the first artist we've had on this show who has actually refused to compromise," Simon told him.
2. "Summertime" by Fantasia Barrino (Season 3)
Sitting on the floor of the stage barefoot, Fantasia Barrino delivered one of the most moving performances we've ever seen on American Idol. As she flawlessly belted out the words "Summertime," we could tell that she was feeling each lyric of the classic song. The emotional moment left Fantasia in tears. Giving her a standing ovation, Randy Jackson, "That is the single best Idol performance of any season I've ever heard." Paula thought it was an Oscar-winning performance (assuming they gave out Oscars for reality show performances?). And Simon said, "There was something magical about what you just did…I don't think you've ever put those lips to better use."