Over its 15 seasons, American Idol brought us some amazing performances from some talented, new pop stars, as well as judges like Jennifer Lopez. Some of those stars went on to become best-selling artists with huge labels like Sony and Interscope, and some never made it much past the Dolby Theater stage.
Some of the contestants stood out for their great singing, and others stood out for the unusual auditions. Here are some of the most memorable auditions from the show throughout the years:
Kelly Clarkson’s audition will always be one of the most memorable because she was the first winner and she has come so far from that first introduction. However, the audition was also shocking because she sang “At Last” by Etta James so flawlessly. She got noticed right away, and we’ve all been paying attention ever since.
Though Clay Aiken looked like a wimpy nerd, he had a voice like a sexy soul singer. He would go on to star on Broadway before returning to his native North Carolina to be a Congress man. These days, he’s fighting for LGBTQ rights, but we’ll always remember his Idol days.
William Hung wasn’t a great singer, but he came to his audition with such enthusiasm that he made a real impression. He sang “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin, and he shot to instant stardom. He was one of the only people who auditioned who became famous without ever making it onto the show. He was even invited back to perform at the end of the season.
American Idol may be over and gone, but it will live on in our hearts and with the music the stars it discovered continue to create. From Philadelphia to South Beach to Dallas, the show went all over the country looking for superstars, and it brought us some truly memorable auditions. You can give the super fan in your life a box set of the show for Christmas, or you can enjoy clips from YouTube while they last.