List: American Idol Winners’s Coronation Songs

We all know by now that the longest running reality singing competition of the modern era is bidding its goodbye next year as the show that produced a long list of talented artists will have its curtain call. Yup, American Idol Season 15 will be the last and there is no clear view if it will be back in the future.

Nonetheless, here is a special list that I created where I compiled the winners’s coronation song. See whose single were complete dud in terms of quality and whose single created quite a buzz in terms of sales and quality.

In particular order,

Kelly Clarkson, Season 1

– The woman who started it all. With her consistent performances week to week, Kelly’s rally towards the first idol crown is heartfelt and victorious. She has the perfect story. Her voice is incredible and how she managed to keep it that good over the course of time is simply remarkable. Not to mention, the “Queen Idol” as the show’s fans call her, managed to sell records like pancakes up to this date and score multiple hit singles and grammy awards. The song is cheesy though for a victory song regardless of the fact that it was certified platinum. But what I like most about this? The moment when she is singing it and she’s fighting back her tears was just a moment, literally.

Ruben Studdard, Season 2

– Ruben’s win was a shock but respectable. He isn’t a bad singer but people were actually predicting that eventual runner up is a lock for the win. The track is popular already. As a matter of fact, I remember that there is a Westlife version of this. Nonetheless, Ruben’s version score a pretty good recognition with this coronation song. His performance is decent and Ruben seems to be a charming, sweet guy that I think his qualities that made him win the season.

Fantasia Barrino, Season 3

– I’ve watched this and I was deeply touched on how much passion Fantasia showed during this performance. It was full of heart, her vocals were over the top fantastic and it was just a winning performance from the get-go. The song managed to score recognition in the Billboards Awards and charts. The song gave Fantasia a passport to fame aside of course from winning, the song itself was embraced really well.

Carrie Underwood, Season 4

– Carrie Underwood was the first country singer to win this show. Her vocal chops is backed up by a strong genre in the country is what pundits have always noted when she won. Yes, Carrie hasn’t made any risky moves during her season but her consistency made people love her. Now, she is one of the multiple selling country artist that American Idol has produced. If I’m being honest, Carrie is ranked second as the most successful Idol alumni and winner to date.

Taylor Hicks, Season 5

– Taylor shocked the whole nation when he beat the preferred winner in this season, Katherine McPhee. Actually, people pegged 4th placer, rocker, Chris Daughtry to win the show but then in a surprise boot, he went home before the hometown visits. Now, regarding with the song, it was actually the fourth successful idol coronation song from the show. It managed to score big hits on Billboard charts as it debuted at no. 1 and the song managed to sell really well. While the song isn’t the best one, at this point I think “I Believe” still holds the best coronation song out of the 5, it is still a song that sells well during graduation hymns or victory tunes.

Jordin Sparks, Season 6

– During this season, I think American Idol needs another successful winner that is why if I’m being completely honest, the song was penned for Jordin – point blank. The finale where Jordin and runner up, Blke Lewis sang the same coronation song which was right at Jordin’s alley. But then what more can I say, the youngest American Idol winner at that time, proved that her big pipes and consistent performances won the hearts of America. Regarding with the song? Haha. I still think it was super cheesy and it never lived up to a level of a really great coronation song. But well, it has a certain appeal that I am pretty sure was embraced well by the idol audience.

David Cook, Season 7

– David Cook started the trend of “WGWG” (according to the idol fanatics) on this show. His win paved way to some fans to conclude that America really prefers these type of guys to win the idol crown. But to his credit, David is actually one of the artists who started taking risks in his arrangements for his performances. With regards of the coronation song? It was actually one of the most successful ones from the show. It was certified platinum by RIAA and eventually becoming the best selling coronation song of an idol winner in June 2009. The song offers a lot of cheesy symbolisms from rainbows and dreams and stuff. But what works here, I think is David’s vocals sounded pretty good and despite the cheese-ness, it was still an eargasmic victory song.

Kris Allen, Season 8

– Kris has probably – if not – the worst coronation song from the show. Haha. I think American Idol pundits really hated it. The writers penned the song with a woman singing it in mind. It was obvious on how Kris (even Adam whose voice were off the roof) struggled to stay in pitch. But in hindsight, the song actually gave Kris the advantage that it suits him well despite him struggling to keep her pitch strong. Also, Kris’ win came out as a surprise because it was a David-Goliath battle during that season and Kris was the clear underdog but he came out winning eventually. Nonetheless, like what I said was just all sorts of cheese. 

Lee DeWyze, Season 9

– A U2 original, this is the second time the show used a song that was already popular for its coronation single. Criticisms rose from the get go when Lee began performing the song as it was not just an average version but his delivery is just poor. Also, this is another season where a “WGWG” won the show and it is also the season where the expected winner came out as an eventual runner-up. As for the song, it was already a gorgeous song to begin with. It just sucks how poor Lee delivered it.

Scotty McCreery, Season 10

– For a coronation song, this is weird for me. But Scotty is the reason why American Idol picked up better ratings after some poor showing in Season 9. Aside from the show welcoming new set of judges, Scotty has a following that was unexpectedly expected – if that makes any sense. It was certified platinum and the song peaked at 11 on Billboard Hot 100. As for the song itself, I find it really odd. Haha. Or maybe it is not the usual victory anthem that you expect from a winner of such show.

Phillip Phillips, Season 11

“Home” is the biggest and best selling coronation song from an American Idol winner. And I must say, this is the best coronation song the show had to date. It was anthemic, folk, beat driven but it never possess that cheesy ballad that is usually featured on coronation songs. It sounded current, contemporary and solid. Plus, Phillip Phillips’ voice suited so well with song! At this rate, the song currently has the title of the best and biggest selling coronation song of the show.

Candice Glover, Season 12

– While most of the American Idol pundits thought that Candice win was a fluke not because she is a bad singer – no she is a fantastic singer – but her win felt like there is no really competition during her season to begin with. Aside from crowd favorite, Angie Miller, Candice’s road to the crown is easy. With her song at this point holds the lowest ranking idol coronation song on Billboard and it never really managed to pick up a strong following afterwards. While she sang the song beautifully, for me, it is more a self representation than a victory anthem. But hey, at least, it is not the worst coronation song but it didn’t really sell well as well.

Caleb Johnson, Season 13

– Caleb’s coronation song didn’t even chart and that made his coronation song as the worst selling out of the coronation songs this show has. But while the song sounded pretty, it was an unconventional one. Like Candice’s, this felt more like a single for Caleb and not a victory song. But then there is an audience for this type of song.

Nick Fradiani, Season 14

– Recently minted American Idol champ probably has the second best coronation song of this show to date. With an upbeat, anthemic stomp featured on a song that reminds us why Phillip Phillips’ “Home” was the best selling coronation song of all time. It was written well. It has enough cheese but it wasn’t overwhelming cheesy. It sounded current and the urgency in Nick’s voice fit well with song. Currently, it is doing well on charts but I am hopeful that Nick will be American Idol’s second to the last chance of success story. We all know, the last two winners were dud disappointing.


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