The sixth season of American Idol premieres on Tuesday, January 16th, which means it’s only a couple of weeks until the journey begins to find America’s next singing sensation. Which is always fun. Today we’re going to look at, through the show’s first five seasons, who the best of the Idols have been.

Now, this list is entirely subjective, as are the results of American Idol in general. The winners of each season are never necessarily the best singers who tried out that year; in fact, it is even unlikely. So, it is with this in mind that I have fashioned my list.

This top ten list is comprised of only those who won or finished second in their season. So, yeah, there’s only ten former contestants who fit this bill, which makes for a tidy list. Where the subjectivity comes is the ranking. Again, this is just my opinion, and I’d be glad to hear yours.

#10 Clay Aiken

I don’t get it. I really don’t. I find Aiken’s voice unbelievably annoying. He seems arrogant on stage. Why did he get so far? Why is he so popular?

#9 Diana DeGarmo

She was fine, but definitely the most forgettable of any of the runner-ups over American Idol’s first five seasons.

#8 Katherine McPhee

I really like Katherine McPhee. I do. I just think she’s overrated in the eyes of many. She may have a little career potential. We’ll see.

#7 Fantasia Barrino

I’m not as high on Fantasia as others. She’s very good, has a lot of range, but her voice kind of nags me. Another lackluster post-Idol career.

#6 Justin Guarini

I like Justin. I think people forget how good he actually was.

#5 Carrie Underwood

I’m not a country fan, but Underwood is a very big talent who is having a great post-Idol career, with no end in sight.

#4 Bo Bice

My favorite rocker to appear on American Idol. Bice was a great singer and performer, who hasn’t really done much of note since Idol.

#3 Taylor Hicks

The jury is still out on his post-Idol career, but I have soft spot for the gray haired wonder. His Joe Cocker/Michael McDonald voice was a breath of fresh air after all the warblers normally found on the Idol stage.

#2 Ruben Studdard

Ah, Ruben. American Idol has lacked the brand of soul music that I’m partial to, but Ruben brought it every night. Ruben had the voice, the whole package. Too bad his career hasn’t kept going.

#1 Kelly Clarkson

Was there any doubt? Clarkson is not only far and away the best singer to ever appear on Idol, but she has the most successful post-Idol career. This is no coincidence.

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