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