Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we cobbled up a list of our favorite love songs performed by American Idol contestants in the first nine seasons. Who needs a fancy dinner date when you can stay home and watch these romantic performances?
“Endless Love” by Danny Gokey (Season 8)
Admit it. “Endless Love” is just one of those sweet love songs that can make you bust out crying if you’re in one of those reflective, romantic kind of moods. (Or is that just us? TMI?) Anyway, you can imagine we were reaching for the Kleenex while watching Danny Gokey — whose 27-year-old wife died just months before he did Idol — perform the tear-jerking ballad during Season 8. We wondered if he was thinking of Sophia while singing the song’s beautiful lyrics — and how in the world he got through the whole thing without breaking down into sobs!
“A Song for You,” by Elliot Yamin (Season 5)
Elliot Yamin’s soulful voice plus Donny Hathaway’s powerful lyrics equaled one of the romantic American Idol performances ever, when Elliot sang “A Song For You” during Season 5. It wasn’t one of those wimpy love song performances either. It was the strong “Girl-I-love you-and-you-better-not-forget-it” kind of performance that this Donny Hathaway classic calls for.
“My Funny Valentine,” Melinda Doolittle (Season 6)
This performance by Season 6’s Melinda Doolittle made us feel like we were at a dimly lit jazz club, sipping good wine, and enjoying the company of someone special. Melinda set the ultra-romantic mood with her soulful performance of the classic show tune “My Funny Valentine.” Okay... googling local jazz clubs now!
“Always Be My Baby,” by David Cook (Season 7)
If you like love songs with a rock vibe, you could probably appreciate what David Cook did with Mariah Carey’s hit song “Always Be My Baby” during Season 7. The lovey-dovey lyrics were the same, but the sound was completely different in David’s pop-free version of the song. But his rock version definitely didn’t lose the song’s romance — in fact, we think David might have taken it up a notch.
“Always On My Mind,” Fantasia Barrino (Season 3)
It was another classic love song, but this time from Fantasia — one of the most talented singers to ever hit the Idol stage. The Season 3 winner gave a lot of great performances during her run on the show, but her performance of Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” was one of her most memorable. It was tender yet strong, subdued yet fierce — and simply, sweetly romantic.
“Superstar” by Ruben Studdard (Season 2)
So, when a dude steps on stage in an oversized jersey, jeans, and a pair of sneaks, you’re not thinking he’s about to serenade you with one of the most romantic ballads ever. But “Velvet Teddy Bear” Ruben Studdard did just that during Season 2, when he gave his memorably smooth performance of Luther’s “Superstar.” (And yes. We were definitely doing the swoon sway to that one.)
Did we leave out your favorite performance? Let us know in the comments!