With Season 17 of “American Idol” coming to a close on May 19 with Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg as the final three, it has a good chance of being considered to be among one of the best seasons ever. But is it THE best? That is yet to be determined. Certainly all three contestants have grown as vocalists and entertainers each and every week, especially on Sunday’s second-to-last show. But it is a little too early to see how No. 17 stacks ups with these four stellar seasons from the past.
America per saymay not have voted in our “best-ever” poll, but Gold Derby readers did — and 39% chose Season 8 when Kris Allen with his folky renditions of pop tunes somehow beat the versatile showman Adam Lambert. Of course, being the current front man for Queen is a different kind of win. I also don’t recall Allen being invited back on the show, while Lambert has filled in as a judge on Season 14 and recently coached the current crop of hopefuls on how to handle Queen songs.Other standouts that year who received record deals were Danny Gokey and Allison Araheta, who came in third and fourth place, as well as Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai, Michael Sarver and Mickey Guyton.
Coming in second? Season 10, with 28% picking the year when teen country crooner Scotty McCreery took the crown and Lauren Alaina was the runner-up. Third-place finisher Haley Reinhart was no slouch, either.
In third place with 22% of the vote? Season 3, when the Three Divas — winner Fantasia Barrino, LaToya London and Jennifer Hudson — would regularly bring down the house. Fantasia would eventually face off with Diana DeGarmo, who took runner-up.
Last but not least with 11 % of the votes was Season 5, when the Soul Patrol paved the way for bluesy Taylor Hicks to take the title. Runner-up Katharine McPhee was no slouch either, with a debut album that hit No. 2 on the Billboard chart and a plum role on the Broadway-themed TV show, “Smash.” Even the season’s fourth-place finisher Chris Daughtry would become the third best-selling artist who competed on the show after winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
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