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The 10 greatest gifts American Idol gave the world

By Nick Bond

After fifteen seasons, the biggest juggernaut in American reality television, American Idol, has been cancelled. Its next season will be its last, and as star judge and producer Simon Cowell has said today, “we had a blast.”
To mark the impending passing of one of the world’s most popular TV shows, we thought we’d look back at 10 things we’re grateful American Idol gave us. #blessed

Kelly Clarkson’s entire career
Let’s face it, Kelly’s the clear winner out of American Idol (except for Simon Cowell, who now has so much money he could buy a small country). Seven albums in, she’s one of the successful, dependable and likeable pop stars in the world. Miss Independent, Since U Been Gone, Stronger, My Life Would Suck Without You – five-star pop songs, every last one of ’em. But it’s her love of tackling stone-cold classics with the greatest of ease that we really admire:

Clarko, if you ever want to do karaoke with us, we’ll happily organise you a babysitter and foot the drinks bill.

That time host Ryan Seacrest tried to high-five a blind contestant

Committed an embarrassing social faux-pas? Maybe you congratulated an overweight woman on her impending birth. Perhaps you butt-dialled someone right while you were slagging them off. Whatever it was, console yourself with the knowledge that it wasn’t as soul-crushingly embarrassing as the time Seacrest went the ol’ high five with a blind dude.

Fantasia’s ‘Girl Please’ moment

Third-season winner Fantasia Barrino has had a rocky ride in the past decade – she’s had hits, she’s had misses and some very public heartbreaks. She also had a short-lived reality show which gave us this, one of the most important moments in 21st century television. Fantasia’s no-nonsense Aunt Bunny delivers the perfect response to the singer’s man troubles: “GIRL PLEASE.” Actually, it’s more like “GURRRR PLEA.” Aunt Bunny, we salute you.

Mariah vs. Nicki – FEUDING DIVAS!

“Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj on the same judging panel? LOLZ that might be fun,” the show’s producers no doubt thought. And it was – because the two clearly HATED each other. We’ve gotta say, Mariah ran circles around her younger rival, gifting the world this appraisal of Minaj’s talents during a Barbra Walters interview: “Didn’t know she sang. Thought she rapped or… whatever”:

Paula Abdul’s ‘tired and emotional’ judging style

See Paula above, critiquing a contestant’s two song choices before being gently informed by her co-judges that, actually, the contestant she just watched only sang one song. “I thought you sang two?!? THIS IS REALLY HARD [slumps in chair]” Oh Paula.

Jennifer Hudson. YAAAS KWEEN etc.
Don’t think American Idol produces proper stars? It gave the world a GODDAMN OSCAR-WINNER.

Jordin Sparks’ Battlefield

2 minutes and four seconds in: “I GUESS YA BETTA GO ‘N GETCHA ARMOUR”. ‘Nuff said.

Attitude cover guy Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert 150
Adam, oh Adam! Killer voice, gay icon, beloved by Glamberts everywhere – oh yeah, and he just dropped the best song of his career.

This picture of Clay Aiken
Without American Idol, the world would never have seen this publicity picture of Aiken when he starred in a 2013 stage production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat:
Life hack: Print this photo out. Keep it in your wallet. Look at it whenever you feel sad. IT REALLY WORKS!

William Hung having the last laugh, bitches

One unfortunate side effect of talent shows like American Idol is that they offer a worldwide stage for people who really shouldn’t be thrust in front of a camera. Such was the case with American Idol‘s third season, when Hong Kong-born singer William Hung ‘wowed’ the judges with his terrible rendition of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs, and rapidly gained a cult following. Feel bad that Hung essentially became a worldwide laughing stock? Don’t be – he sold more than a quarter of a million albums during his 15 minutes of fame. Willy’s probably richer than all of us.

And a bonus gift: the girl who started (and effectively ended) her Idol stint with a loud fart

“I TOTALLY JUST FARTED.” Yes, doll, yes you did (OK we know this one’s from Canadian Idol but c’mon, it’s quite a nice way to round off the list).