Monday, May 14, 2007

Ten Best 'Top 4' Performances of All Time

Yep, it's time to rank the Ten Best 'Top 4' Performances of all time. There were actually fewer standouts than there were back in the Top 5, but the list still includes some classic performances, including four of the five winners, three runners-up, and two tunes from Elliott Yamin. I've also included some honorable mentions. Here we go...

1. Kelly Clarkson, "I Surrender"
Yes, I know this performance was not vocally perfect, and Kelly's voice sounded a bit ragged, but, to me, this is one of the most dramatic performances ever seen on the Idol stage, and the imperfections in Kelly's vocals make the performance that much more stirring. Simply stunning.

2. Diana Degarmo, "No More Tears"
Taking on the combined vocal talents of Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer is no easy feat, but Diana more than rose to the challenge back in Season 3, providing one of the most thrilling vocal performances of that season. This is the performance that propelled Diana toward the finals.

3. Elliott Yamin, "Trouble"
Most folks had written Elliott off coming into the Top 4, thinking Taylor, Katharine and Chris were locks to get to the next round. But with his rousing, soulful, attitude-filled version of this Elvis song, Elliott made clear he wasn't giving up that easily.

4. Justin Guarini, "Get Here"
Justin made Paula cry with this song in the Hollywood round, and he wisely saved it for the Top 4 to reprise it. Perfectly suiting his vocals, this was, in my opinion, Justin's strongest performance of the competition.

5. Taylor Hicks, "In The Ghetto"
It's no secret that I was not Taylor's biggest fan, but he won me over big time with his rendition of this Elvis Presley song, ditching many of his Taylor-isms to give the song some serious soul and gravitas. Easily my favorite Taylor performance ever.

6. Clay Aiken, "To Love Somebody"
Jordin got lots of praise for her rendition last week, but in my mind Clay's is the definitive Idol version of this song. Combine that soaring voice with the beautiful swell of the music, and how could you go wrong?

7. Carrie Underwood, "Sin Wagon"
Whenever you combined Carrie's spot-on vocals with contemporary female country singers, she hit it out of the park, and her rendition of this Dixie Chicks tune is no exception. This song allowed Carrie to show off her fun and flirty side, which no doubt helped her take the title over Bo Bice a few weeks later.

8. Vonzell Solomon, "Don't Leave Me This Way"
Vonzell must have been a disco queen in another lifetime, I have no doubt. As she wailed this 70's classic, she showed why she deserved a spot in the Top 3.

9. Elliott Yamin, "If I Can Dream"
Yep, it was Elliott's night during the Top 4 last season, as he injected this Elvis ballad with trademark Yamin vocal licks and soul. I'd take this version over the creepy Celine Dion/Elvis duet any day.

10. Ruben Studdard, "How Do You Mend a Broken Heart"
When Ruben just stood there, infusing the perfectly written 70's classic with his patented booming, soulful sound, he couldn't go wrong. This was a much better fit for Ruben than it was for Melinda this year (although, to be fair, Melinda did tear up the final notes).

Honorable Mentions:
Anthony Fedorov, "If You Don't Know Me By Now"
Diana Degarmo, "This is It"
Fantasia, "Holding Out For a Hero"
Josh Gracin, "To Love Somebody"
Nikki McKibben, "Mary Jane"
Ruben Studdard, "Nights on Broadway"
Tamyra Gray, "Feel the Fire"


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'd have to say that Phil Stacey's Blaze of Glory deserves an honorable mention and that one of the best all-time was Elliott Yamin on Song For You.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Fedorov's "I Surrender" was much better than Kelly's. Her arrangement was terrible - she totally dispensed with the verses and launched straight into chorus. The whole song was nothing but screaming.

Anonymous said...

Tamyra should be in top 10.

donna said...

I totally agree about Anthony Fedorov's "I Surennder"!!!Way better that Kelly Clarkson's.More emotion, achingly beautiful!!!!

Ging said...

Elliott was the Very Best !! He Floored me on Top 4 Night !! It was the Best American Idol show EVER !!

Anonymous said...

Elliott Yamin's Trouble, Home, If I Can Dream.... Song for You...
ah, anything he sings is my favorite!! He is awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

Elliott's performance of "If I can Dream" clean blew me away. Strangely, no one noticed it. Everyone was paying more attention to "Trouble".

Check out "If I can dream" at this link

Shaky start, but after that it's classic Elliott. Man, what a singer!

Tara said...

When Elliott Yamin was on last season I was always waiting for what Elliott would bring. He was the total performer in every way. His belting out a song to a very sincerely sung ballad I was totally immersed in every song he sang. Moody's Mood for Love, A Song For You and Find Me Somebody to Love had me convinced Elliott was and is the rare kind of singer who can sing it all and make it his own.

AngELL said...

You could put Elliott in all ten spots for the phenomenal job he did on every performance, but some might complain. I say "Let Em"...there are other greats, but no one really comes close to Elliott.

Anonymous said...

Clay's performance of " To LOve Somebody" was one of his best, just brilliant, so he would be #1. As for the second and third spots they would both go to Elliott. Forth I think I would have to give to Ruben. The rest of the performances I really dont remember.