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American Idol: Best Performances of All Time

Celebrate the end of an era with the best Idol had to offer us over the years.

Jessica Roy
Fantasia Barrino, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"
1 of 22 Fox

Fantasia Barrino, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Season 3)

Fantasia rocked this song, as well as doing a killer rendition of "Summertime." Watch it here.

2 of 22 Fox

Siobhan Magnus, "Paint it Black" (Season 9)

The Rolling Stones gave very few singers permission to cover their songs. And for a good reason: So that when they did, it was spectacular. Watch it here.

3 of 22 Fox

Jessica Sanchez, "I Will Always Love You" (Season 11)

Wow. Just wow. Watch it here.

4 of 22 Fox

Kris Allen, "Heartless" (Season 8)

Choosing to do an acoustic version of Kanye West's "Heartless" sounds like a terrible idea, but Kris pulled it off like it was meant to be sung that way. Watch it here.

5 of 22 Fox

Kelly Clarkson, "A Moment Like This" (Season 1)

It's so hard to pick a favorite Kelly Clarkson performance. "Natural Woman"? "Respect"? Instead of choosing, we went with the tearful "A Moment Like This," which she sang after winning the first season of the show. Watch it here.

6 of 22 Fox

Adam Lambert, "Mad World" (Season 8)

This and "Ring of Fire" were hands-down his best performances. Watch it here.

7 of 22 Fox

Clay Aiken, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" (Season 2)

They brought in a gospel chorus, and Clay brought down the house. Watch it here.

8 of 22 Fox

Constantine Maroulis, "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Season 4)

The moody crooner did an admirable job with this borderline-impossible-to-sing number. Watch it here.

9 of 22 Fox

Carrie Underwood, "Alone" (Season 4)

Carrie was cited repeatedly by the judges for not having enough charisma on stage. Her rendition of Heart's "Alone" certainly changed that. Watch it here.

10 of 22 Fox

David Archuleta, "Imagine" (Season 7)

Setting aside Fox's questionable decision to use the split-screen on poor David, this was a moving tribute to John Lennon's music. Watch it here.

11 of 22 Fox

Quentin Alexander, "I Put a Spell on You" (Season 14)

This gives Bette Midler's version a run for its money. Watch it here.

12 of 22 Fox

David Cook, "Billie Jean" (Season 7)

Ironically, this homage to the King of Pop broke many a young girl's heart. Watch it here.

13 of 22 Fox

Jordin Sparks, "I Who Have Nothing" (Season 6)

Jordin served up pop diva realness week after week, but this was by far her brightest moment. Watch it here.

14 of 22 Fox

Ruben Studdard, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (Season 2)

Ruben was great, but it's still hard for fans to believe he beat out Clay to win Season 2. This performance hints at why he ultimately deserved to take home the trophy. Watch it here.

15 of 22 Fox

Jennifer Hudson, "Weekend in New England" (Season 3)

This performance wasn't as memorable as what it led to: The next day, Jennifer was sent home in one of Idol's all-time most shocking moments. Watch it here.

16 of 22 Fox

Bo Bice, "In a Dream" (Season 4)

Bo was the show's first bona fide rocker. Watch it here.

17 of 22 Fox

Jena Irene, "Can't Help Falling in Love" (Season 13)

See if YOU can help falling in love with this rendition. Seriously, just try. Watch it here.

18 of 22 Michael Becker/FOX

Blake Lewis, "You Give Love a Bad Name" (Season 6)

Blake was the first person to ever make the American public utters the phrases "Bon Jovi" and "beat boxing" in the same sentence. Watch it here.

19 of 22 Fox

Taylor Hicks, "Trouble" (Season 5)

Nobody ever knew quite what to do with sweet Taylor. Turns out he's pretty good with Ray LaMontagne. Watch it here.

20 of 22 Fox

Candice Glover, "Lovesong" (Season 12

This soulful Cure cover goes down as one of the greatest music performances in history, period. Watch it here.

21 of 22 Fox

Haley Reinhart, "Bennie and the Jets" (Season 10)

It's rare to see someone who can make belting big notes look so effortless. Watch it here.

22 of 22 Fox

Katharine McPhee, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (Season 5)

We're thrilled Katharine's career has brought her to Scorpion, but this song makes us wish she'd stuck it out in music. Watch it here.