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All 19 winners of "American Idol" have released "coronation songs" upon their win.
The quality ranges greatly, from borderline un-listenable to true bops.
Insider ranked them based on lyrics, production, sales, and personal taste.
"Do I Make You Proud" by Taylor Hicks solidified why I voted for Katharine McPhee.
This song sounds like it belongs in a pop Broadway musical, which makes sense, given that Hicks would go on to star in "Grease" as Teen Angel. But this song's cheesiness factor and sickly sweetness (truly, I felt like it gave me a cavity), is just too much for me.
Hicks' voice sounds good, but I can't help but think about how good McPhee's cover of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" is.
It goes to show how much of a force "American Idol" was that this song reached No. 1 on the Hot 100, and remained somewhere on the charts for eight weeks.
Caleb Johnson's vocals just aren't suited to "As Long as You Love Me."
This song sounds like the Jonas Brothers if they leaned into rock instead of pop in their later career (I say this as a loving Jonas Brothers fan). Johnson's vocals are suited to rock, not this pop-rock hybrid that sounds as out of place in 2021 as it did in 2014.
The song peaked at No. 42 on the Hot Rock/Alternative Songs chart, where it stayed for a week.
Lee DeWyze sang a forgettable cover of U2's "Beautiful Day."
Using a cover as a coronation song, for me, isn't a great idea. This is your introduction to the world! Don't pick someone else's song — and definitely don't pick a song sung by someone as iconic as Bono. DeWyze sounds fine, but the production doesn't add anything to his vision of the song.
His version of "Beautiful Day" made it on the Hot 100 for two weeks, peaking at No. 24.
"Beautiful Life" by Nick Fradiani came after American Authors' "Best Day of My Life" and Imagine Dragons' "It's Time," and it shows.
Fradiani's song sounds like it was created in a lab by people trying to recreate the vibes of those two hits. Unfortunately, "American Idol" songs are almost always synthetic-sounding, and that goes for "Beautiful Life" as well.
It ended up peaking at No. 93 on the Hot 100 and only held the spot for a week.
"I Love You This Big" by Scotty McCreery is the only truly country coronation song.
Even Carrie Underwood, one of the biggest country musicians of all time, took down the yee-haw levels for her debut single. While I commend McCreery for committing to his country roots, the song almost sounds like a parody of country music.
However, it's still sweet, and McCreery's voice remains soothing no matter what he sings.
"I Love You This Big" remained on the Hot 100 for 16 weeks, and it peaked at No. 11.
"Flame" by Laine Hardy wouldn't be out of place on the Disney Channel.
It makes sense, as Hardy was just 19 years old when he took home the crown during season 17. I'm fully awaiting this song to be used in a trailer for a movie about a group of teens trying to make it as a band, a la "Lemonade Mouth." This is a compliment — I love "Teen Beach Movie" and "High School Musical" as much as the next '90s baby.
The song never made it to the Hot 100, but it did peak at No. 8 on Digital Song Sales chart for a week.
Musically, "This Is My Now" by Jordin Sparks is the most 2007 song ever.
It's basically an early draft of 2008 classic "This Is Me" from "Camp Rock." Lyrically, I'm not exactly sure what the song's title "This Is My Now" means, but it's catchy, and Sparks sounds lovely.
"This Is My Now" spent four weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 15.
Kris Allen's "No Boundaries" is a perfectly average song.
Unfortunately, the Adam Lambert version is better. That's really all there is to say.
Allen's version of "No Boundaries" peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100, and it spent three weeks on the chart.
Personally, I can't connect with the contemporary Christian sound and content of Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven."
This one can really be chalked up to personal taste — I'm Jewish, and I just can't connect with songs that sound like they could be covered by Hillsong. Taking the lyrics out of it, however, I can appreciate its catchiness and how talented Underwood is.
But clearly, most people didn't share my point of view. "Inside Your Heaven" reached the top of the Hot 100, and it was in the top 100 for a total of 12 weeks.
Ruben Studdard's version of "Flying Without Wings" is the rare case in which the cover stands equal to the original.
"Flying Without Wings" is originally by Irish boyband Westlife, though you'd never know from Studdard's complete owning of the song. The only thing it has going against it is how dated it sounds in 2021, but it's going to approach classic status soon.
The song spent 10 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 2.
"Going Going Gone" by Maddie Poppe is a serviceable folk-pop song, if not a few years too late.
Poppe's song has flair and personality that we rarely get from an "American Idol" coronation song. Although it sounds a little like the "Glee" version of itself with the a cappella parts, Poppe's performance is extremely charming.
The song peaked at No. 13 on the Digital Songs chart, but that was its only appearance.
"The Time of My Life" by David Cook belongs in end-of-high-school montages, but it's enjoyable.
Clearly, the good people at Fox took notes from the success of season five contestant Chris Daughtry when writing "The Time of My Life," which sounds like a Daughtry reject — I mean that in the nicest way possible. This song is a bop! It frequently gets stuck in my head.
"The Time of My Life" peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and was on the chart for a total of 20 weeks.
Candice Glover's single "I Am Beautiful" is underrated.
Glover's self-love anthem was somehow both ahead of and behind the times in 2013. While it might be on the more generic side, Glover's vocals are undeniable, and I could've seen the lyrics being plastered all over everyone's AIM profiles, or as a popular lip sync on TikTok. Wrong place, wrong time, sadly.
It peaked at No. 93 on the Hot 100, and it was only on it for a week.
Just Sam's cover of "Rise Up" is lovely to listen to.
Yes, this is a cover of recent Oscar nominee Andra Day's song, but Just Sam's talent and personal connection to the lyrics make you forget it's not her own. As our reigning "American Idol" champ, Just Sam proved she might be one of the few recent "American Idol' winners to find real success after the show.
While the song didn't find much success on the Billboard charts, it did well on iTunes.
"Falling," Trent Harmon's single, doesn't sound like any other coronation song on this list.
It's not just a congratulatory anthem about overcoming obstacles — it's a bluesy, country jam that kind of sounds like Justin Timberlake's "Drink You Away," which he covered during the season.
It peaked at No. 16 on the Bubbling Under 100 chart (which means it peaked at No. 116), and it was on the chart for one week. It also reached No. 27 on the Hot Country chart.
"I Believe" is a solid showcase for Fantasia's astounding vocals.
Fantasia's voice must be heard to be believed, and "I Believe," fittingly, is a wonderful way to hear her range. For that reason, it's also become one of the only "Idol" winners singles that has regularly been covered on the show since her win in 2004.
"I Believe" reached the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100, and it remained on the Hot 100 for 10 weeks.
"A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson holds a special nostalgic place in my heart.
Much like Clarkson herself, "A Moment Like This" started it all. So while, yes, it sounds like the perfect song to slow dance to at your middle school dance, that's exactly why I love it. Plus, it proved that the winner of "American Idol" actually could become an American idol.
It's also just really fun to sing alone in your car.
"A Moment Like This" spent a staggering 20 weeks on the Hot 100 and, of course, peaked at No. 1, giving Clarkson her first of three No. 1 songs.
Phillip Phillips' "Home" is still the only "American Idol" coronation song I hear on the radio or put on a Spotify playlist.
"Home" came at the perfect time, right when this type of folk-pop was becoming popular. Don't forget, 2012 was also the year of The Lumineers' "Ho Hey" and Mumford and Sons' "I Will Wait." It's the rare coronation single that didn't hop on a trend two years too late.
Phillips' song broke "American Idol" records and became the best-selling winners single of all time. It peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100, remained on the chart for an unreal 40 weeks, and was nominated for a Billboard Music Award. There's never been a coronation song like it, before or since.
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