Film and TV

Top 10 'American Idol' Moments

Paula Abdul already left, and Simon Cowell may be on the outs, too. But no matter what happens to American Idol, the singing competition has left us with plenty of memories we'll forver cherish. Here are 10 of our favorites to get you ready for the upcoming season, which begins January 12 on FOX.

1. Kelly Clarkson becomes the first winner

The pop singer went on to become one of the biggest stars today, and her humble attitude was refreshing in a then-world full of boy bands and Britney Spears-types--Clarkson actually keeps her clothes on.

2. Rubben Studdard beats Clay Aiken

I myself was a Clay-mate, but even I couldn't help but love the giant teddy bear. His performance of "A Whole New World" made him that more likable.

3. William Hung tries out with "She Bangs"

The cute guy became a joke after his audition, but he laughed all the way to the bank after landing a record deal with Koch Entertainment. Take that, Simon.

4. Jennifer Hudson gets ousted early, goes on to win an Oscar

She was voted off way too soon in the competition but later proved what the voters were clueless about--she has a powerhouse voice, evidenced by this performance.

5. Taylor Hicks recruits Soul Patrol members

OK, so he really didn't deserve to win Season 5 (thanks,, but his chants of "Soul Patrol!" were so endearing you just had to root for him.

6. Sanjaya's pony-hawk

This is probably the coolest hair-do in America.

7. Jordin Sparks wins!

Um, we live in Arizona. How could I not include this? I got to see her when she came to Westgate for her parade and speech, and it was a super-special moment.

8. Paula Abdul forgot to take her medicine again...or took too much...or is drunk....or, oh, whatever

She was incoherent just about every time she opened her mouth, but in this clip, she doesn't even know how many songs the contestants sang.

9. David Cook proves what we never thought possible--he sang a cooler version of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby"

Thank gosh Cook bested Archuleta in the finals of Season 7. It was his ability to perform re-invented versions of songs such as this classic that propelled him to the top. That and his dashing good looks.


10. Adam Lambert sings "Mad World"

Be you straight, gay or just into guyliner, Adam Lambert nailed this performance and solidified his status as Season 8's breakthrough star.

Leave your favorite moments in the comments.

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Nicki Escudero
Contact: Nicki Escudero