With American Idol Season 8 on the books, here are the best performances of the season. I didn’t include any of the results show performances, or Kris and Adam singing with Queen and Adam singing with Kiss would probably have been number one and two.
15. If I Can’t Have You – Adam Lambert
For Disco Week, Adam went with a slow song from “Saturday Night Fever” and made a great ballad out of it.
14. Play that Funky Music – Adam Lambert
One of the few American Idol contestants brave/foolish/crazy enough to pick a disco song in a week other than Disco Week, Adam showed just how talented he was with this song choice. Could have been ranked higher, but he lets the Broadway through a bit too much.
13. The Way You Look Tonight – Kris Allen
Kris put on the suit and proved he could be a crooner, not just a folk singer. I didn’t like the faster part as much as the slow opening, but it was all good.
12. Always On My Mind – Anoop Desai
A solid vocal and all-around performance. The first song I really liked by Anoop.
11. Change Is Gonna Come – Adam Lambert
With this bluesy performance, Adam shows that he really can perform anything. I didn’t love the bigger middle part at first, but it’s grown on me over the last week.
10. What’s Going On – Kris Allen
Kris took the Ramp;B classic and made it work with a folksy acoustic sound.
9. True Colors – Anoop Desai
Easily Anoop’s best vocal of the season, and perhaps the only time he truly connected with the audience.
8. Ain’t No Sunshine – Kris Allen
Kris managed to give this just enough of a blues feel to make it really work. The opening is some of the best stuff from Kris for the entire season.
7. Whole Lotta Love – Adam Lambert
Completely over the top, but not as theatrical as some of his other performances. Adam’s closing was fantastic.
6. Dirty Diana – Alexis Grace
The week before this performance the judges told Alexis they wanted to see a sexier side of her. She certainly gave them what they asked for.
5. Cry Baby – Allison Iraheta
For weeks we’d been waiting for Allison to let go and show us what she could really do with those big pipes of her. With “Cry Baby” she does just that!
4. Mad World – Adam Lambert
I didn’t love this performance when I first saw it, but then I was watching a fairly low-quality recording from the Internet, because the American Idol producers ran long, screwing those of us watching via DVR. But over time (and with better audio), it’s really grown on me.
3. Heartless – Kris Allen
A very gutsy decision, to choose a hip hop song and take it the folk direction, but it really worked. It also likely won the competition for Kris.
2. To Make You Feel My Love – Kris Allen
This was Kris’ first great performance, and certainly his best. After several weeks of being told he wasn’t as good as everyone else left in the competition, Kris showed why he was a contender to win it all.
1. The Tracks of My Tears – Adam Lambert
Understated, full of emotion and a fantastic vocal. Easily the best performance of the season. The studio version isn’t nearly as good.
So, my choices include a heavy dose of Kris and Adam, but they were my two favorites through most of the season. I didn’t choose any Danny Gokey, as he just didn’t “wow” me on any of his performances. They tended to be be good, but not great, all season long.