Chris Sligh courtesy Fox
This Wednesday's American Idol is a "Best of the Rest" recap of the Season 7 auditions we didn't see throughout each city. That got us thinking about some of the best auditions we've seen, regardless of whether the candidate went on to Idol greatness. Instead of a top-10 list, we thought we'd have a battle of the sexes: the best women's auditions versus the best from the men. - Erin Fox

Top Five Women's Auditions

5) Frenchie Davis, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" | Watch on YouTube
Holy crap, we think our ear drums just burst listening to her amazing vocal power. Randy and Paula gave her a standing ovation (Simon, of course, stayed seated but clapped as enthusiastically as he could), and if she hadn't been kicked off the show for those naughty pictures, there's no telling how far Frenchie could have gone.

4) Carrie Underwood, "I Can't Make You Love Me" | Watch on YouTube
Who knew this farm girl who sported the '80s wardrobe and glamour-shots makeup at her audition would become the Idol winner and sell a bazillion country records? Well, check out this video and you'll see why this country girl's star rose so quickly.

3) Paris Bennett, "Cowboy Take Me Away" and "Take Five" | Watch a Clip
Yes, that's right... Paris got to sing two songs because the judges were so impressed. She did a fine job with "Cowboy" but really blew us away by singing a Billie Holiday song with the grace and depth of someone much older than her 17 years. My one question is, "Where is she today, and why isn't she way more famous?"

2) Katharine McPhee, "God Bless the Child" | Watch on YouTube
Paula had goosebumps, we had goosebumps; Kat cried, we cried.... This was one of the best and most natural voices in the show's history. Now this Idol runner-up is filming movies, singing with Andrea Bocelli, and just married her boyfriend of several years. She's on a roll.

1) Melinda Doolittle, "For Once in My Life" | Watch on YouTube
For such a shy little thing, boy could she rock the house! Melinda proved that she was not only talented but also that she was a unique and refreshing addition to Idol. Can you believe she was a backup singer for so long?

Top Five Men's Auditions

5) Chris Sligh, "Kiss from a Rose" | Watch on YouTube
Not only did Chris crack us up with his "wanting to make David Hasselhoff cry" comment, he wowed us with his soulful rendition of Seal's hit song. Paula even stood up and clapped at the end.

4) Taylor Hicks, "A Change Is Gonna Come"/"Swanee River Rock" | Watch on YouTube
The funny thing about this is that Simon clearly didn't like Taylor from the get-go. You can tell his vote is a no, but Randy and Paula are really impressed by his soulful, funky voice. When Simon says he should stay in the background and will never get to the final group, we wish we could have fast-forwarded to the moment of Taylor's victory and shoved it in Simon's face.

3) Justin Guarini, "Who's Lovin' You" | Watch on YouTube
We know what you're thinking: "Justin? Seriously?" But take a look at the video, and you'll see why the judges went nuts for this unknown. Why he didn't excel as a crooner after Idol is anyone's guess, but it's fun to look back at his raw talent.

2) Chris Daughtry, "The Letter" | Watch on YouTube
Though poor Chris looks like a dear caught in headlights, his voice speaks for itself. Again, Simon thinks Chris isn't ready and gives him a no, but thank goodness Paula and Randy step in to send this mega-hit-producing rocker to Hollywood. That's right, Simon, you were wrong!

1) Clay Aiken, "Always and Forever" | Watch on YouTube
Clay looked like the elf from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, but he sounded like a superstar. The judges didn't know what to make of his dorky style mixed with his insanely good vocals. But they voted him through and Clay went on to sell millions of records. Frighteningly enough, he also became the object of affection for thousands of "Clay-mates."

What do you think about these choices? Who was left off the list? Do you think the women's were better than the men's auditions?