American Idol: Top five best performances of the season
Sanjaya Malakar will not be appearing on this list. 

One of the biggest problems with American Idol is how little time the singers get to learn songs that they are, at the least, not intimately familiar with and, at the worst, totally out of their comfort zone.  For competition's sake, this is not a big deal.  However, for audiences, it waters down the quality of the performances.  We never, really, get to see these singers at their peaks.  There's a reason that when past Idol contestants come back and perform they sound so damn good.  It's because the songs are perfectly suited for them and they've had ample practice time.

This makes truly great performances a rarity on Idol. It also makes the contestants sometimes sound more amateur-ish than they really are.  Look at the final two this year, and how they dealt with the lack of practice time.  Blake Lewis focused his attentions on choosing songs that he could arrange and mold into his own.  His creativity lied in the literal construction of the songs he chose, which made the quality of his voice a non-issue.  Jordin Sparks knew what she was good at: slow ballads that showed off her range and big voice, especially in the upper register.  So, she played to those strengths and chose extremely similar songs throughout the competition.  Although you'd like to see everyone branch out, you can't blame Jordin for taking the route she did.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Idol doesn't give us the occasional great performance.  It does, but just not as often as we'd all like.  What follows is our top 5 performances of the year, all complete with video.  We tried to be objective as possible, and spread the wealth around a little bit.  It's no surprise that the best performances came from the singers who made it the furthest.  That's typically how these things are supposed to work.

Tell us who we forgot.  What were your favorite performances throughout the season?

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-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

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