American Idol returns for its 12th Season with a new panel of judges and thousands of hopefuls who have dreams of becoming a pop star. Who will impress Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson in 2013? And more importantly, who will win the votes and hearts of everyone watching at home?
That is yet to be seen, but we do know the past 11 seasons have supplied us with many great artists like Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, David Cook, Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood and countless others. Past seasons have also been packed with dynamite performances from not just Idol winners, but contestants gunning for the prize who fell short in the long run.
Here is CBS-FM’s list of the Greatest American Idol Covers From The ’60s, ’70s & ’80s.
David Cook “Billie Jean”
From Michael Jackson‘s 1982 album Thriller, this was one of the performances that sent Cook to the winner’s circle during Season 7.
Pia Toscano “All in Love Is Fair”
Originally released on Stevie Wonder‘s 1973 album Innervisions, Howard Beach resident Pia Toscano impressed with this cover during Season 10, but fell short of becoming New York’s first American Idol winner.
Clay Aiken “Solitaire”
Season 2 winner Clay Aiken would become well known for his ballads following his sting on Idol and his performance of Neil Sedaka‘s “Solitaire” was a sign of things to come.
Jason Castro “Hallelujah”
Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah” has been covered countless times and is even the basis for the book The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah.” Jason Castro certainly made his performance of the timeless classic one of the most memorable.
Crystal Bowersox “Me and Bobby McGee”
There has never been a contestant more perfectly suited to cover Janis Joplin‘s “Me and Bobby McGee” than Season 9 runner-up Crystal Bowersox.
David Cook “Hello”
Season 7 winner David Cook makes his second appearance on this list for his rendition of Lionel Richie 1984 love song.
David Archuleta “Imagine”
John Lennon‘s peace anthem was giving one of it’s best makeovers by the Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta.
Casey James “Jealous Guy”
Lennon’s Imagine album inspired not one, but two of American Idol’s greatest cover, this time from Season 9’s 3rd place finisher Casey James and his performance of “Jealous Guy.”
Kelly Clarkson “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson wasn’t even a favorite during the inaugural season of the show, but her performance of Aretha Franklin‘s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and many others helped her become the very first American Idol.
Jennifer Hudson “Weekend In New England”
Jennifer Hudson only placed 7th during Season 3 of American Idol, but her performance of Barry Manilow‘s “Weekend In New England” showed America and the rest of the world exactly how powerful her voice was. Stardom was definitely in her future.
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