American Idol season five was extremely memorable and is often considered one of the most popular seasons. Fan bases were obsessive to a fever pitch and it seemed uncertain who would take the whole thing, especially after Chris Daughtry’s surprise elimination. With polarizing contestants like Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee, it’s no surprise that there are some great performances from season five of American Idol.
(1) Elliott Yamin: Moody’s Mood for Love The ultimate underdog, Elliott Yamin was lovable, hard working, and completely shocked at being a fan favorite. This was his second performance during the semi-finals and it was incredible. He took a song most of the American Idol audience had never heard before and stole the show.
(2) Ace Young: Father Figure Ace Young’s first performance was his absolute best. It seemed like the boys were stacked, but he had trouble matching this amazing vocal. His voice was sultry and he flirted just enough without it coming off like Constantine Maroulis. It’s really too bad that Ace couldn’t carry this kind of performance throughout the competition.
(3) Paris Bennett: Fever She might have been young, but she sang with a nuance beyond her years. She sounded most at home on throw back, jazz numbers like this one. Her phrasing, tone, and runs came with complete ease. She has such a classy voice. You want to hear her on all of the songs from the 30s and 40s.
(4) Chris Daughtry: Walk the Line Chris Daughtry never really had a bad performance, which is what made it all the more shocking when he went home in fourth place. This performance of a Johnny Cash classic was absolutely head and shoulders above the performances we saw during the current season. If Bo Bice proved you could rock on American Idol, Chris Daughtry showed us just how far you can take it.
(5) Taylor Hicks: Try a Little Tenderness Taylor was never my favorite and as rabid as his fans were, they have given him little help since the season ended. That said, Taylor was best on these numbers where he could let loose vocally and really get his performance energy on. Sure, it could be a bit manic and kind of crazy, but that’s Taylor Hicks.
(6) Katharine McPhee: Someone to Watch Over Me At her best, Katharine was exactly this performance, classy and beautiful. Her voice is flawless as she takes on this Gershwin classic with complete finesse. She changes up the melody just enough to make it her own, without threatening the integrity of this beloved tune.
(7) Elliott Yamin: Song For You This is Elliott Yamin’s signature song. This Donny Hathaway hit showed off all of Elliott’s amazing vocals and reminded us of his initial audition, where he also sang this song. It was a fan favorite and definitely a great moment during the middle of American Idol season five.
(8) Chris Daughtry: Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman I love this song and I love Chris Daughtry’s version of it. His voice sounded sexy and he completely connected emotionally to the piece. It also showed of higher parts of Chris’s range that weren’t completely in his control. It was definitely a more vulnerable side of him.
(9) Katharine McPhee: Since I Fell For You During the semi-finals, Katharine pulled out this subtle, jazzy number and completely stood out as the strongest female. Katharine always sounds best when she isn’t pushing her range, and this is the perfect example of how she can sound sassy and sultry.
(10) Mandisa: CryMandisa had a fabulous range, but kept faltering in her lower register during the top 12 weeks. However, during the semi-finals her vocals were on fire! She sounds fabulous on this song and her belting just soars. I love hearing country songs done without the twang! I hate the country twang.
(11) Chris Daughtry: Wanted Dead or AliveHis first time out in the semi-finals it was completely clear that American Idol producers had found someone special. I am a huge Bon Jovi fan and still liked his version as much as the original. Chris Daughtry has a way of making covers sound totally like his own.
(12) Katharine McPhee: Somewhere Over the Rainbow The camera adores Katharine, and that stood true for this dramatic interpretation of this Judy Garland classic. Katharine sat on the stage with a single spotlight on her and started the song a capella. She had beautiful runs and phrasing and it is definitely what got her into the final.
(13) Paris Bennett: Kiss Sass with a side of Paris rocking out, let do this great performance of Prince’s song. Paris showed the most versatility during the season with beautiful classics, solid oldies, and energetic takes on modern music. She handled every genre with ease, and doing songs from her birth year was no exception.
(14) Elliott Yamin: Trouble No one thought Elliott would make it this far, and no one knew he would completely own Elvis night. Despite great performances from Taylor Hicks and Chris Daughtry, Elliott took Elvis night by storm with an amazing ballad and this amazing bluesy interpretation of an Elvis classic.
(15) Paris Bennett: The Show Must Go On On most seasons of American Idol, the top five includes someone who doesn’t deserve to get there. What made season five so special is that every single singer deserved to make the top 5. This includes Paris Bennett who rocked the house on Queen night with this dramatic ballad.