Top Idol Performances: #70-66

With Season 10 all wrapped up, it’s time to resume (and hopefully quickly move through) the top 100!

Two of these performances are likely going to be considered outrageously low. This is probably made even worse by the fact that two of the people on this update are mostly forgotten now. (One of them is most definitely forgotten, but she shouldn’t be.) Whatever. That’s how I roll. It’ll get even worse when you realize that Jasmine Trias still has a performance to-be-listed. But hey, at least they made the list! I can think of a few performances that would make some top 10 lists that aren’t around at all. On to the killing spree:

70. Latoya London – “Somewhere” (West Side Story) (Season 3, Top 8 Movies)

To use an Idol judging clichĂ©, Latoya London could sing the phone book to me and I’d be infinitely interested. Fortunately, she picked songs that were much better than the phone book, like “Somewhere.” Seven years later, I’m still in awe of her voice. She hit and held every single note of the song without ever seeming like she was straining. I found it impossible not to get swept up in her voice. It’s really a shame that this performance is often overlooked due to another, admittedly far more memorable performance given on the same night.

69. Phil Stacey – “Blaze Of Glory” (Bon Jovi) (Season 6, Top 6 Bon Jovi)

For the most part, Phil Stacey did nothing but creep me out from his eerie resemblance to black and white movie vampires all season long. However, there was something magical in the air during Bon Jovi week of Season Six and almost every single contestant brought it. (Woops, so sorry about your performance, Jordin Sparks.) Maybe it was because they knew it was a double elimination week and one third of the contestants were gonna be axed the next night. To be honest, I think Phil’s innate creepiness (no, I’m not letting this go) spurred on the energy of the song and brought his vocally solid performance to the next level. It was properly anthemic and dramatic and well, if Phil had to be sent home that week, at least he (wait for it…) went down in a blaze of glory. (ba dum cha)

68. Jessica Sierra – “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” (Bonnie Tyler) (Season 4, Top 11 Billboard #1 Hits)

Before Jessica Sierra was a failure of a functioning human being (star of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and her own sex tape), she was a strong contender on American Idol. A few botched (but deftly covered-up) lyrics aside, her confident take on “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” was natural in a way that was scarce in the early seasons of Idol. (You know, a time when “artistry” and even “arrangement” were rarely uttered in a broadcast.) Not often do contestants pick songs that are perfect for them, but Jessica managed to with this choice, highlighting all the right parts of her rocker sensibility and big-with-a-hint-of-gravel vocals. Nothing like that has-been, hack job who sang Heart earlier the same night (Carrie Undersomething or sommat).

67. Adam Lambert – “Mad World” (Tears For Fears) (Season 8, Top 8 Year You Were Born)

One of the most iconic images of Season Eight, heck, one of the most iconic images of American Idol, is without a doubt Adam Lambert bathed completely in bright blue light, sitting on a chair while singing “Mad World.” The performance’s water cooler conversation-level was then further increased by DVR-gate. Season Eight had been terrible all season long at sticking to time constraints with its new four-judge format and this was at its worse on top 8 night when the last performance of the night hadn’t even started by the time the credits were supposed to be rolling. Thus, on top of a beautifully haunting, sparsely staged and, as par for Lambert’s Idol run, vocally immaculate performance, there was added media buzz from viewers taking to the web to see what their TiVo failed to catch. And that’s how you create an Idol moment.

66. David Cook – “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson) (Season 7, Top 10 Year You Were Born)

That David Cook, always trying to steal arrangements from other people. How dare he steal Chris Cornell’s arrangement of “Billie Jean” while cleverly playing it off as his own by announcing ahead of time that he was using Chris Cornell’s arrangement? The nerve. On a more serious note (appropriate because everything David Cook did was on a more serious note), Cook was an expert at expressing weightiness and projecting gravitas through his performance and this was no different. The arrangement removed all the frivolousness of MJ’s dance-pop beat to punctuate the story of the song. It was a smartly picked arrangement that ended up placing itself nicely in Cook’s repertoire for the show.

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