Yep, it's time once again to dig into Idol history and identify some of the best performances of all time. This time around, it's the Ten Best 'Top 5' Performances.
Click here to read Ten Best 'Top 6' Performances
Click here to read Ten Best 'Top 7' Performances
Click here to read Ten Best 'Top 8' Performances
The most famous runner-up tops this list, with two other runners-up and three winners also making the cut. This is also the first time that a contestant has had two songs on the list, and the recipient of this honor is not who you might expect it to be!
There were also so many good 'Top 5' performances that I decided to include a few more as honorable mentions. Enjoy...
1. Clay Aiken, "Solitaire"
This is one of those magical Idol performances, where everything -- singer, song, lighting, timing -- come together to create something truly memorable. Until Clay wrapped his golden vocals around this song, it was just an old Neil Sedaka chestnut. Once Clay got through with it, to paraphrase Mr. Sedaka himself, it was Clay's song forever. Truly astounding.
2. Tamyra Gray, "A House is Not a Home"
Simon called this performance one of the best that he had seen on television ever. While that may be a bit of an overstatement, there is no denying that Tamyra felt every single word of this Burt Bacharach classic, proving that she had the chops of a modern day Dionne Warwick. Bringing the audience, Paula Abdul, and herself to tears, Tamyra totally nailed it.
3. Carrie Underwood, "Bless the Broken Road"
Every once in a while a contestant gets the chance to sing a song that gives the audience an idea of what kind of music they will put out if/when they achieve success after the show. Giving an understated yet beautiful spin to this Rascal Flatts tune, Carrie did just that -- proving she more than had the chops to become a successful country music artist. With this performance she launched herself (and Rascal Flatts) into the stratosphere.
4. Katharine McPhee, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
What Carrie did for Rascall Flatts, Katharine did for KT Turnstall. Boldly performing the entire song from a kneeling position (something she would repeat a few weeks later with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"), Katharine flirted with the band members and the audience, and brought a youthful spark to this infectious tune. A perfect song choice and a near-perfect rendition.
5. Trenyce, "Proud Mary"
Trenyce must have known she didn't have a shot at cracking the Top 4 back in Season 2, but that didn't stop her from giving it her absoulte all on the classic Tina Turner song. What could have been karaoke-esque turned into a dazzling showcase for Trenyce's performance and vocal skills. She still got the boot, but this performance has lingered in the memory.
6. Latoya London, "Don't Rain on My Parade"
Latoya + Soaring high notes = Heaven. It's a hard song to do justice to, and Latoya just nailed it. Barbra Streisand, eat your heart out.
7. Fantasia, "What Are You Doing the Rest Of Your Life"
Speaking of Babs, Fantasia took on another of La Streisand's songs, and once again showed off her amazing interpretational skills. I mean, no one feels a song like Ms. 'Tasia. Dedicating this tearjerker of a song to her daughter, Fantasia left nary a dry eye in the house (in my house, at least).
8. Trenyce, "Love Will Keep Us Together"
Yes, surprisingly it is Trenyce who is the first performer to grab two spots on one list! Flirty and fun, Trenyce absolutely killed this song, making some wonder if they should have taken the one-named shoplifter more seriously earlier in the competition. Despite her strong one-two punch, it proved to be too little, too late.
9. Kelly Clarkson, "Walk on By"
Kelly has called this her least favorite Idol performance, but I love the way she showed off her lower register, wrapping her blues-y tones around the Burt Bacharach tune. I'd be lying, though, if I said that I haven't always wanted to hear her sing her original song choice for that evening, "Anyone Who Had a Heart." Now that would have been amazing.
10. Justin Guarini, "Look of Love"
How appropriate for Justin to sing about the "Look of Love," when he had been giving the camera that same gaze all season! Dressed, appropriately, in a flowy/hippie-esque shirt, this was Justin at his breeziest and sexiest. Easily one of his best performances.
Chris Daughtry, "Renegade"
Diana Degarmo, "Come On Get Happy"
Diana Degarmo, "Someone to Watch Over Me"
Kimberley Locke, "Where The Boys Are"
Latoya London, "Too Close for Comfort"
RJ Helton, "Best That You Can Do"