The Most Memorable American Idol Finale Performances of All-Time

American Idol’s tribute to departing judge Simon Cowell was one of the most memorable finale performances of all-time. (Photo property of FOX, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America).

By: Jacob Elyachar

Since the show’s humble beginnings back in 2002, American Idol’s season finales have always featured incredible surprise guests and astonishing parings between a contestant and a music legend.    This blog post revisits some of these best performances and hopes that American Idol: Season 11 delivers another spectacular finale.

Elliott Yamin and Mary J. Blige-One (American Idol: Season Five)

Fan-favorite Elliott Yamin joined forces with Grammy-winning artist Mary J. Blige to cover U2’s “One.”  This duet was one of the few finale performances that gave viewers goose bumps.

To watch the performance, click here:

Paris Bennett and Al Jarreau-We’re In This Love Together (American Idol: Season Five)

One of Idol’s youngest contestants in Season Five had the distinguished privilege of collaborating with soul legend Al Jarreau.  Their cover of “We’re In This Love Together” was filled with impeccable scat singing and lots of soul.

Click here to see Princess P and the Grammy winner’s terrific performance:

Syesha Mercado and Seal- Waiting for You (American Idol: Season Seven)

One of the best female voices that graced the Season Seven competition was Syesha Mercado.  While she was eliminated at the end of Top Three Week, the future Dreamgirls star stole the show when she collaborated with R&B singer Seal.

Syesha and Seal stole the night with their smooth rendition of “Waiting for You.” Click here to re-watch the performance:

Adam Lambert and KISS- KISS Medley (American Idol: Season Eight)

When Adam Lambert teamed up with the iconic rock band KISS to perform two of the band’s classic songs: “Detroit Rock City” and “Rock and Roll All Nite,” it lead to one of the best performances on an Idol finale.

To watch this superior performance, click here:

Allison Iraheta and Cyndi Lauper-Time After Time (American Idol: Season Eight)

Allison Iraheta was one of the best female rockers that has ever graced the Idol stage.   While she robbed at the chance of tackling one of her best friends, Adam in the 2009 finale, Allison did have the chance to collaborate with the iconic Cyndi Lauper.  This is was strong performance.

Several  Adison (Adam and Allison) fans used this duet to reflect on the duo’s friendship that blossomed on the show.   To watch the montage, click here:

Crystal Bowersox and Alanis Morissette-Ironic/You Oughta Know (American Idol: Season Nine)

The singer-songwriters united on the Season Nine finale when the duo performed Alanis’s iconic “You Oughta Know.”   This was an excellent performance and both artists’ vocals complemented each other very well.

To watch the duet, click here:

Simon’s Tribute-Together We Are One (American Idol: Season Nine)

American Idol: Season Nine was an end of an era as longtime staple Simon Cowell left the long-running FOX singing competition at the end of the 2010 series.   For the first time ever, almost all of the winners, notable previous contestants and Season Nine finalists came together to pay tribute to him.

Click here to watch this moving tribute:

Haley Rinehart and Tony Bennett-Steppin’ Out With My Baby (American Idol: Season 10)

Last year, the legendary Tony Bennett performed one of his classic hits with rising star and fan favorite Haley Rinehart.  This one of the best duets of the night because it was incredible to see that American Idol brought Jazz to the finale and also it was great to see two different generations uniting together in song.

Haley and Tony Bennett’s duet brought down the house, click here to watch the performance:

Steven Tyler-Dream On (American Idol: Season 10)

The Aerosmith lead singer was the first judge ever to take the finale stage and perform one of their hits.   Steven Tyler’s powerful rendition of “Dream On” was one of the best performances of the night and he challenged other singing competition judges to bring their A-game every time they hit their respective shows’ stages.

Click here to see this epic performance:

I do not own these clips that were used in the article. They belong to FOX, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America.


Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar