Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ranking the American Idol Runners-Up

Now that we have gotten to the American Idol runners-up, these rankings become much more subjective -- all of these contestants were fantastic, so ranking them is, above all, a matter of personal taste. Remember, these rankings are determined on American Idol performances only, not on what the contestants have accomplished since their time on the show.

1. Clay Aiken (Season 2)
Best Known For: The dork who transformed into a singing superstar
Best Performance: "Solitaire," "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Worst Performance: "Vincent"
Post-AI: Debut CD sold amost 3 million albums; follow-up CD of primarily covers has been somewhat of a disappointment; several national tours; working with Unicef; recently made a trip to Afghanistan

2. Katharine McPhee (Season 5)
Best Known For:
Best Performance: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
Worst Performance: "All in Love is Fair"
Post AI: Released debut CD earlier this year; first single "Over It" was a Top 30 pop hit; second single "Love Story" released this month

3. Blake Lewis (Season 6)
Best Known For: Beatboxing wonder
Best Performance: "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Time of the Season"
Worst Performance: "Keep on Dancin'"
Post AI: Who knows??

4. Diana Degarmo (Season 3)
Best Known For: Jordin's predecessor as an endlessly cheery teenager
Best Performance: "Don't Cry Out Loud," "No More Tears"
Worst Performance: "My Heart Will Go On"
Post AI: Debut CD didn't make much of a ripple; has started to make a name for herself in the theater world, appearing on Broadway in "Hairspray" and in the national tour of "Brooklyn"

5. Bo Bice (Season 4)
Best Known For: One of Season 4's "rockers"; distinctive way of holding the microphone stand; paved the way for Chris Daughtry to achieve real rock 'n roll success on the show
Best Performance: "In a Dream"
Worst Performance: "Corner of the Sky"
Post AI: Debut CD had middling success; has had several health problems; recorded the title song for the film Blades of Glory

6. Justin Guarini (Season 1)
Best Known For: Being the first-ever American Idol hearthrob; Sideshow Bob-esque curly hair
Best Performance: "Get Here"
Worst Performance: "PYT"
Post AI: Debut CD barely sold; film From Justin to Kelly was a flop; released independent CD; co-hosts "Idol Talk" on TV Guide Channel

Read more American Idol News/Recaps/Commentary
Read more American Idol Best-Of Lists


Lisa said...

If you're going by what they did on the show, I'd put both Blake and Bo above Katharine McPhee. Both of them were FAR more consistent performers week to week than Katharine. Kat was either brilliant or incredibly shaky, so pretty inconsistent for me. Both Bo and Blake were much more consistent and memorable from week to week. (I can barely remember half of Katharine's performances even just a year later.)

Also, in Season 4, it seemed like Bo actually could have taken the title from Carrie. Whereas, it was a foregone conclusion last season that Kat was the runner-up to Taylor even before the votes were counted. And Bo was DEFINITELY better than Diana DeGarmo, without a doubt in my mind.

Just my opinion though. :)

Rachel said...

Wow. Those are the runners up, huh. Not a bad one in the bunch, but not exactly a stellar bunch either. Don't get me wrong, I loved Bo, Kat, and Blake. Diana and Justin were very nice, and Clay was pretty amazing, but still... If this is second place, it's kinda a let down.

Anonymous said...

Blake and Bo, in that order, definately deserve to be higher than Kat McPhee.

Anonymous said...

Blake w/o a doubt deserves to be dead last as the other five did something he never did--deliver at least one wow factor VOCAL performance. The other 5 are decisively better singers. I'd have gone, adhering to your criteria, Clay, Diana, Bo, Justin, Kat, and then Blake. Diana is the Rodney Dangerfield of AI and its a shame.

Rodel said...

i'd rank them as Clay, Bo, Justin, Kat, Blake the Diana. Clay should not even be part of this group, he's that good. Bo revolutionized AI, like Blake did, but showed consistency week after week. Justin, before we start ripping him, was the very first true entertainer of the show. If not for the great KC and the restriction they put on the runner-up where he released his album over a year after the season, he would've been more successful. Watch the AI rewind and you'll see what i mean. Diana was not even on the top 3 of the worst season yet.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your list, but I'd place Bo above Blake and move Diana to last place. Katharine definitely deserves that position.

Anonymous said...

NO doubt about it Clay is number one. But I definitely would not have Katherine next in line. Bo was much better far more often and even Blake was at the very least interesting. She's pretty tho.

Anonymous said...

Clay is definitely number one, but I would switch Bo as number two. Maybe Blake or Diana after that.

Anonymous said...

Mcphee was very inconsistent with her performances. I would definitely rank Bo #2, I'd give McPhee #3 or #4. She and Diana are interchangeable.

Anonymous said...

Though not necessarily consistent, Mcphee produced some of the best performances of the season and no doubt belongs in the upper regions of the list. Blake was much weaker vocally and shouldn't be so high up, same with Diana. Bo deserves a higher position as well.

Anonymous said...

I think Justin Guarini defines "whole package" like none of the others do. Too bad he was on the first season when non-winners were so badly managed post season. He's a rare find who doesn't get the credit due him.

It's also worth mentioning that his adventurous Jazz album was critically praised. On his own, he's shown a level of artistic sophistication I haven't heard from the other runners-up. (Although I think Bo is a thoughtful musician, too). Plus, he has a gorgeous smooth voice with an unmatched vocal range.

Anonymous said...

Putting Bo #5 is unbelievable. Clay, then Bo. Blake was interesting, but not better than Bo. The others did nothing particulary memorable. Bo rocked that show.

Kathy said...

Bo is #1 on my list! You forgot to mention that Bo has a fantastic new album out called See the Light (digitally available everywhere online; CD is a Walmart exclusive). Bo wrote all the songs on the album and plays several instruments on it. His awesome music video of Witness from that album was #1 on VH1 Top 20 Countdown for three weeks in a row! Check out bobice.com and myspace.com/bobice. You can also watch Bo's tongue-in-cheek "Blades Of Glory" music video on youtube.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to have these contestants sing again NOW on an AI show. Season 2 had the best voices of all the seasons. I don't mean every person was better, but there were more solid voices that season. If we put all those on your list on an AI special, we'd have an interesting show. It amazes me that this year the contestants have sung many songs that were sung by Clay on his JukeBox Tour and at other times. He is so much better than any of these people. He sings effortlessly and can capture any era of song. As for the comment about his performance of "Vincent" ... everyon knows that they added a verse for him at the last minute. I wish he'd not sung that song. I have never liked it ... by anyone.

Anonymous said...

It's really hard seing Clay up there, lumped in with/followed by the others. Somehow he needs or should have his own status. LOL I mean he technically did not win but he is one of the biggest stars to come from the show. And his talented certainly appears to be far greater than some of the actual "winners". But I digress...I actually would have Bo at #2 behind Clay given his level of performance during that season and popularity since. He has a very dedicated fanbase and his overall talents seem to outshine Blakes. In fact, what exactly has Blake done to be that high on the list. I'm confuzled. And while Justin hasn't really proven to be a stellar talent he has had slightly more success (that's good&bad) post AI which should land him at #3.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Clay should be #1 but I cant agree with Katherine at #2. That should be BO then maybe Diana. Katherine smiled through every song no matter what it was or what words were coming out of her mouth, not an ounce of feeling in her performances. Bo had a voice and passion. He was definitely someone to look forward to every week.
But no one beats Clay.