From worst to best. Not so much by their subsequent commercial success, just how good they are. 11. Lee DeWyze. He's cute and can more or less carry a tune, but doesn't seem particularly inspired. Should not have won. Has faded faster than a Bravo reality tv star. 10. Scotty Mcreery. He's ok. Barely distinguishable from the two or three who won before him. 9. Kris Allen. Really not that bad, although I'm not sure I see an appeal outside suburban coffeehouses. One half-decent Kanye West cover will not carry a career. 8. Ruben Studdard. So unbelievably dull, if he'd been around in the 80s he'd have fallen far behind a much better group of soul crooners (Luther, Peabo, James Ingram, etc.). I do have soft spot for him, though, for having sung Superstar. 7. Fantasia. Can't say I ever "got" her. I thought Jennifer Hudson and Diana DeGarmo were both much better. And what a nails-on-the-chalkboard voice! Ugh. But I'll give her points for being unique. 6. Jordin Sparks. Can't say I remember too much about her, but she strikes me as someone who should be cranking out anonymous gay disco anthems (a la Cascada or Deborah Cox) and not trying to rule Billboard. 5. Taylor Hicks. Often and mercilessly mocked, but I think it's more like he's in the wrong genre. He's a genuine blues guy in a way that few white guys can pull off, but he will never be a pop star. 4. Carrie Underwood. Strong pipes, no doubt, although I wish she didn't look exactly like 50 other country blondes. Great singer, I guess. Zero personality. 3. David Cook. Wildly underrated. Love the smoky voice. Definitely one who I hope can at some point achieve the commercial recognition he deserves. 2. Phillip Phillips. Dumb name, hugely talented. That Home song is good but starting to get irritating. 1. Kelly Clarkson. The first Idol and still far and away the best. A truly stunning talent. I would put her up against anyone (Celine, Mariah, Babs, Whitney, etc.) as the greatest pop singer ever.
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