American Idol host Ryan Seacrest said yesterday that producers are trying to figure out an appropriate homage for the late Whitney Houston — who had reacted positively to a possible season 11 guest-mentoring spot just days before her death. Whitney had always been one of those untouchable, “hmmm…maybe don’t go there” artists on musical competition shows, but there were always a few brave souls who got in there and wanted to feel the heat with their idol.
Jennifer Hudson’s wow-worthy “I Will Always Love You” tribute at last night’s Grammys got us thinking about other American Idol contestants who dared to cover one of the greats. Below is our roundup of the 10 best Whitney Houston performances on Idol. You don’t really need to look very much further. Don’t (you DARE!) walk away from me. Just listen below, and let us know who you think wore Whitney best.
Season 2: Trenyce, “I Have Nothing”
TRENYCE! Oh hey girl! Haven’t thought about you in…forever. This was gorgeous. Way to set the trend for American Idols refusing to hold it back again, this passion inside.
Season 3: Jennifer Hudson, “I Have Nothing”
I love her matter-of-fact “I think I’m a powerful singer as well” (not to mention her Sister Act obsession). It’s cool to see how much more she’s developed since Idol. Her vocal’s a bit hollow, especially at the beginning. But of course she’s great!
Season 5: Katharine McPhee, “I Have Nothing”
Randy Jackson thought the song was “too big for her” (doesn’t he know she’s about to be big on BRRRRROADWAY?) The judges were right, but I had to include this one, because a) she gives Paula the best stinkface at 3:11; b) she does hit a few strong notes; c) seriously, her boobs; d) was “Well, for those who don’t have their volume on, I’m sure you’re gonna get plenty of votes” Seacrest’s best unintentional insult ever?
Season 6: Lakisha Jones, “I Have Nothing”
I’ll always think of Lakisha as one of the strongest voices ever on American Idol.
NEXT PAGE: Some people DIDN’T sing ‘I Have Nothing’!