These 'American Idol' Auditions Were Incredible

by Jennifer Still

This week, reality TV fans got some pretty sad news: American Idol had been canceled after an amazing 15 seasons, the 2016 season will be its last. What a bummer, right? Sure, the ratings for the talent series have drastically declined in recent years despite the addition to some major names to the judges' table, but so what? It's a modern classic and without it, we wouldn't have amazing singers like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood out there doing their thing and totally dominating the charts in the process. And anyway, let's not get ahead of ourselves — as Idol judge Jennifer Lopez pointed out during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, May 15, "It's not over 'til it's over" and we've got a whole other season to enjoy yet before we have to say goodbye.

But what can I say — I'm a sucker for nostalgia, so I'm already thinking back to the great American Idol moments that took place over the years. My favorite part of every single series had to be the audition stages, when some of the best (and worst) talents were introduced to us for the first time. Years later, there are still plenty that stick out in my mind, and lucky for you, I'm going to share them.

Kelly Clarkson

This is an obvious pick, but seriously, do you remember the first time you ever saw Kelly Clarkson? She was so young, so green, and yet SO amazingly talented. I think many people could feel from the very first time we laid eyes on her that she was destined for something huge, and she's certainly achieved that!

Larry Platt

Do the words "pants on the ground" mean anything to you? If not, you can't truly call yourself an American Idol fan. Larry Plat took the world by storm with his stunning original composition... and I mean that in the most hilarious way possible.

Paris Bennett

When Paris auditioned for the fifth season of American Idol, I was absolutely gobsmacked. Her rendition of the Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away" was unexpected and just brilliantly done. At only 17 years old, she had the voice of a singer who'd been in the spotlight for decades. I'm still mad she didn't win.

Derek Stillings

There have been a lot of terrible singers on American Idol over the years, but who could forget one of the earliest contestants to batter our eardrums, Derek Stillings? Simon even called him "the worst singer in America", so it's clear he was a special brand of awful... and memorable!

Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks swept into the Idol auditions with a rendition of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" that blew the judges away. He was not only amazing enough to get through the live shows, but he also won the whole season over co-competitor Katherine McPhee.

William Hung

Hung's edition of "She Bangs" earned him worldwide fame. Everyone knew it was awful and that Hung had no future on the show or in the music industry, but he still capitalized on the notoriety of his audition to secure a record deal and release an album that was, to be kind... not great. Ah, well. Can't win 'em all.

Carrie Underwood

I remember watching Carrie's first audition when it aired and thinking, "Yeah, she's pretty good!" Admittedly, I didn't necessarily peg her as the winner, but looking back on her first audition now, you can totally see the spark of star power in her just waiting to come out.

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