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The Year In Idol: Season 7′s Top 10 Moments

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

With the premiere of American Idol season 8 taking place Janaury 13, I can think of no better time to reflect on last season's top 10  moments. All of these watercooler-chatter-worthy, The Soup-championed highlights (or lowlights) oddly already seem so very long ago...which indicates that I've already moved on and am more than ready for the new season, fourth judge and all. But this recap will hopefully tide me, and other Idol fanatics, over until the new season begins...

10) "No Sex Allowed" On The AmIdol Set!
In the early audition rounds, leopard-vested New Jersey comedian Milo Turk warbled perhaps the finest pro-abstinence anthem since Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off" or Janet Jackson's "Let's Wait A While," a little original ditty called "No Sex Allowed." At a time when today's pantyless pop stars were giving a free peep show every time they drunkenly stumbled out of a car, and the airwaves were teeming with salacious commands to "Superman that ho," what a refreshing change of pace this song truly was. I'm just waiting for those purity-ringed Jonas Brothers to cover it:

9) Amanda Overmyer Goes Through The Motions
Anyone who questioned whether or not Amanda was a true rocker only had to take one gander at her dead, constantly rolling eyes and her openly disdainful sneer as she mushmouthed and sidestepped awkwardly through hokey Donna Summer and George Michael medleys during the Idol finale group performances. The Big O's bad attitude was pure comedy gold, and I had to reluctantly give her props for not "selling out." The chick couldn't even pretend that she was happy to be there, and I bet she was thrilled that she narrowly missed making the top 10, because that meant she wouldn't be forced to mime along to cruise-ship pop singalongs on the American Idols Live tour for the next six months of her life. (It would have been awesome to see her in that Guitar Hero commercial, though--see #6 for more on that.) Check out the rock 'n' roll nurse in non-action here:

8) Jason Castro Thinks About Bob Marley
There's a reason that this drealocked, Travolta-eyed fourth runner-up became the darling of, which temporarily rechristened itself "Vote For The Stoned" in Jason's honor. Wait for the 42-second mark of Castro's post-Marley-performance critique clip below, and that reason will become abundantly obvious. Cough:

7) Fantasia Renders Simon Cowell Speechless
When a newly fuchsia-haired Fantasia belted out "Bore Me" on a results show last season...well, she didn't bore me, that's for sure. There were plenty of season 7 moments that did bore me, but the three minutes Fantasia was rocking the stage certainly were not among them. Fanny shook her fanny (or, to quote one of her song titles, her "Baby Makin' Hips") and totally owned that stage. She came out and simply killed it. She didn't play nice and sweet; that's not her style. Because, let's face it, this chick has always been a bit of a weirdo. In a good way. That was obvious way back when she showed up to her season 3 audition with that Grace Jones hairdo and those Marlene Dietrich eyebrows. I knew right then and there this lady was just itching to let her freak-flag fly. A lot of people--including Simon, judging by his bug-eyed silent treatment--didn't like Fantasia's "Bore Me" performance, but I say she should just keep letting her freak-flag fly and ignore the haters:

6) The Idols Become Guitar Heroes
Sure, those Risky Business-spoofing Guitar Hero ad spots starring Davids Cook and Archuleta were highly entertaining...but the video game's 1970s-rockin' commercial that ran on the jumbotron during the American Idols Live tour was even cooler. Rastafied Jason Castro, Farah-haired Carly Smithson, Afro'd Syesha Mercado, and Jim Morrison clone Michael Johns made particularly convincing '70s pinups, and the sight of Archie as a Partridge Family-esque retro-nerd was the best makeover of the whole Idol season:

5) Paula Abdul Loses Her Notes--And Her Dang Mind
On the top 5 episode of Idol, Paula wasn't talking very straight-up at all. See, on the show, each of the finalists performed two songs, and after Jason Castro had only sung his first song, Paula critiqued BOTH of his numbers. That's right: She critiqued a song that had yet to be sung. She complained that Jason's second song left her feeling "empty," but then again, how could she feel anything BUT empty if she hadn't seen the performance yet? So either Paula was either having a psychotic episode, or a psychic one. Of course, she claimed she accidentally looked at some misplaced notes that she took during Jason's dress rehearsal...but that explanation hardly stopped rumors about the "Crazy Cool" singer's alleged drunkenness, or about the show being rigged, from spreading all over the Interweb. Idol host Ryan Seacrest defended the center judge on the following night's elimination show, saying such nasty gossip was untrue and that Paula was a member of Idol "family." Well, every family has wacky relative or two, so hey, why should the Idol cast be any different, right?:

4) Danny Noriega's "Flip" Remark
Danny Noriega was my favorite contestant on season 7 from the moment he reared his Lego-haired, beestung-lipped, guylinered little head. But some viewers--and judges--clearly thought he was TMTH. Between his controversial YouTube Christmas video (apparently slurring Santa Claus didn't go over well with Middle American viewers), unapologetic flaunting of his sexuality, and tendencies to sass back to Simon and talk in textese, he was doomed to narrowly miss making the final top 12. (This was the most heartbreaking elimination of the season for me, personally.) Some people just weren't LIKE-ing Danny. The poor kid didn't even get invited to the season finale! But he left a lasting impression nonetheless, all with a simple, expertly timed flip of his perfect hair:

3) David Cook Has His Best Week Ever
As if there weren't enough reasons to heart David Cook, his LOL-tastic skit on possibly the best Best Week Ever ever did the trick. With this, David officially man-cemented his status as best Idol ever--and proved that if if this singing thing doesn't pan out for him, not only could he go into hairdressing, he surely could try acting or standup comedy as well:

2) Renaldo Lapuz Is Your Brother, Your Best Friend Forever
American Idol execs, and American audiences in general, adore big, BIG power ballads. There was Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This," Ruben Studdard's "Flying Without Wings," Fantasia's "Believe," Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven," all humongous hits...and then came the biggest, most powerful power ballad of 'em all: Renaldo Lapuz's furry-hatted fist-pumper, "We're Brothers Forever." Say what you will about Renaldo, but at least he knew the first and foremost rule of hit songwriting: Repeat the chorus. A lot. Seriously, if Kelly Clarkson had had an uplifting, feelgood number like this on her supposedly depressive My December album, Clive Davis never would've complained, and she'd still be playing to arenas full of illuminated-cellphone-wielding fans, all singing with her in unison (c'mon everybody, I KNOW these words are lodged permanently in your cerebellum): "I am your brother/Your best friend forever...":

1) Josiah Leming Performs With Grace
This towheaded teen captured my heart the instant he turned on the waterworks while confessing that he lived in his car (I'm a big softie, see) and then sweetly warbled Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" with a faux British accent (I'm an even bigger Anglophile). I of course quickly declared him an early favorite. But then he completely won me over--and seemingly won over the judges as well--when he covered Mika's "Grace Kelly" during Hollywood Week. Even Simon Cowell himself admitted that this would be the one audition he'd remember when all was said and done. But incredibly, Josiah did not make the final cut--which led to public uproar, which led to an appearance on Ellen, which led to a major-label record deal anyway, which led to tons of critical acclaim for this young talent. The people at Idol are the folks who really should be crying now, for letting this one get away. I predict big things for Josiah in 2009:

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