American Idol finale week is always fun to watch, no matter if your favorite contestant wins or not, because it’s the final match-up of the season (which is always exciting), and we get to spend two hours sitting back and watching big stars perform with the finalists and eventual winner. But something fans are always curious about is the coronation song that will become their debut single should they win. Will it have cheesy lyrics? Will it be groan-worthy? Or will it actually be a decent song that we can listen to on repeat on our iPods? Now that Candice Glover’s “I Am Beautiful” has been added to the list, take a look at our rankings of all 12 singles:
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#12 Taylor Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud” (Season 5)
Whereas some of the coronation songs at the top of this list are iconic and fantastic, these three at the bottom are infamous for very different reasons — because they are just plain bad. Look no further than the title to give you a sense of how cheesy and ridiculous it is. And “Do I Make You Proud” didn’t fit Taylor Hicks at all. Taylor really is a talented performer, but this song restricted him to the point where you could tell he wanted to bust a move in true Soul Patrol fashion but wasn’t able to.
#11 Scotty McCreery’s “I Love You This Big” (Season 10)
I don’t have much to say about this song. It’s a good thing Scotty recovered after being given such a cheesy song. I know we usually expect that from these singles, but this is on a whole other level. Just look at the title: “I Love You This Big.” Gag-worthy, if you ask me. I still remember Simon Cowell was on one of the late-night talk shows and made fun of Scotty singing this song — that pretty much sums it up.
#10 Kris Allen’s “No Boundaries” (Season 8)
“No Boundaries” didn’t work for Kris Allen, and not even Adam Lambert could pull it off — that tells you something right there. To further show how bad this song is, Kris pulled it from the Idols Live Tour and it was nowhere to be found on his debut album.
#9 Lee DeWyze’s “Beautiful Day” (Season 9)
When Idol realized season 9 was going to end up being a weak season, they must have given up completely with the winning songs and just decided to give the Top 2 cover songs to perform. Yes, I realize that Ruben’s “Flying Without Wings” is a cover as well, but nobody knew that and it wasn’t a hit song in the US before Ruben released it, unlike “Beautiful Day” which was a huge hit for U2. Lee DeWyze does a decent enough job with it, though I can’t help but rank it low because you can’t really compare a cover like this to the originals.
#8 Candice Glover’s “I Am Beautiful” (Season 12)
Not enough time has passed to get a complete picture of Candice’s debut single yet. But based on these early listens, it’s an okay song, not one of the best. The lyrics are almost too simple. Maybe after listening to it more, it’ll grow on me. However, what I do like is the melody — and her voice, which is as fantastic as always.
#7 Jordin Sparks’ “This is My Now” (Season 6)
I don’t think a lot of people liked this song. But as with “Inside your heaven,” to me it’s not as bad as others make it out to be. Regardless of the sappy lyrics (yes, I know I’m going to be saying that a lot), the melody is actually pretty good (similar to Candice’s). But it doesn’t have the iconic feel of some of the ones further up on this list.
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#6 Ruben Studdard’s “Flying Without Wings” (Season 2)
“Flying Without Wings” is a laidback, feel-good type of song — which is of course fitting for Ruben since he’s a very laidback kind of a guy — while also allowing the season 2 winner to showcase his smooth, soulful voice. Even though the lyrics are similar to many of the others, when you’re listening to it, it doesn’t give off the cheese factor like the others.
#5 Carrie Underwood‘s “Inside Your Heaven” (Season 4)
It’s obvious why the three songs below are at the top of the rankings. With “Inside Your Heaven,” it has the usual message a lot of them do, but for some reason it holds a special place in my heart — maybe it’s because Carrie sang it, I don’t know.
#4 Fantasia’s “I Believe” (Season 3)
When looking at these winning singles, it’s hard to separate the song from the singer. During the final performance show of season 3, both Fantasia and Diana DeGarmo sang “I Believe.” But nobody believed Diana when she sang those lyrics — “I’ve waited all my life for this moment to arrive … If I reach deep within my heart, overcome any obstacle” — because of her inexperience and the fact that she hadn’t struggled in life the way Fantasia has. The words in this song mean something to Fantasia, and as a result we get it; we understand why this song is great.
#3 David Cook’s “Time of My Life” (Season 7)
What’s interesting here is that in theory, this song should not have worked for David. Some of the lyrics are the typical “magic rainbow” fluff. But for some strange, “magical” reason, he pulled it off and it’s become one the better coronation songs. And “Time of My Life” even got quite a bit of radio airplay afterwards.
#2 Phillip Phillips’ “Home” (Season 12)
A lot of Idol fans assumed that after Phillip won, he’d end up fading into the background like Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze. And he probably would’ve if it weren’t for “Home” (and the fact that it was chosen as the theme song for the USA female gymnastics team at the 2012 Olympics). In terms of marketability, being a song that can stand on its own outside of the show and sounding current, this tops the list. It’s a good thing “Home” can stand up to multiple listens because every commercial under the sun is featuring it, even as we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary.
#1 Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” (Season 1)
I mentioned above that with a different singer, these songs might not work, and that’s the case here. Because for someone like Kelly Clarkson, she created a moment (no pun intended) with “A Moment Like This,” whereas when Justin Guarini sang it, he was straining his voice and, put simply, it was the completely wrong song for him. If Justin had won, this song would probably be near the bottom of the rankings. So it really does depend on the singer bringing it to life.
And while Phillip Phillip’ “Home” is now the best-selling Idol single of all time, it’s that sense of nostalgia and seeing Kelly cry when trying to sing after winning that sends “A Moment Like This” to number one. No winning moment since has been able to match it.
How would you rank the coronation songs? And which is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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(Image courtesy of FOX)