Remembering the Best and (Mostly) Worst of American Idol

Taking a look back at the moments that shaped American Idol

Love it or hate it (or pretend you hate it but secretly love it), American Idol has been a reality show guilty pleasure for the past 13 years. In light of the news of its cancellation, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 most memorable Idol moments — some good, and some embarrassingly bad.

Keith’s “Like A Virgin” Monstrosity (Auditions, Season 2)

Yeah, this guy was bad. Randy Jackson flat-out calls him horrific. Simon calls him the worst singer in the world, saying “there is nobody like you on this planet.” Was this audition a joke or for real? The heartbreak on Keith’s face seems genuine enough, but come on. It’s almost as noteworthy as the William Hung “She Bangs” classic. On another note, look how young Ryan Seacrest looks!

Ryan Seacrest’s Moment of Shame (Auditions, Season 8)

Speaking of Seacrest, let’s take a look at one of his not-so-shining moments on Idol. He tried to high-five blind contestant Scott MacIntyre and immediately regretted his decision. “I’m giving you a high-five… and there it is.” We all felt your second-hand embarrassment, Ryan. And we haven’t forgotten.

Paula Abdul: What Happened There? (Season 7)

During her time as a judge on Idol, Paula Abdul faced a lot of controversy: was she drunk all the time, or just really out of it? We’ll never know, but here’s a classic example of her shenanigans. Paula critiqued contestant Jason Castro on two songs, when he’d only performed one so far. Let’s just say, tensions got high real quick.

“General” Larry Platt’s “Pants On The Ground” (Auditions, Season 9)

This guy’s audition was so catchy it actually made it onto the Billboard 100. Intended to be a protest against the habit of sagging one’s pants, this song turned into a huge joke and was even parodied by Jimmy Fallon (as Neil Young). You can still buy it on iTunes… I mean, if you want.

Kelly Clarkson’s Audition (Season 1)

First of all, who’s that other guy hosting the show with Seacrest? Oh right, the first season had two hosts — that didn’t last very long. But who can forget the first time we saw America’s newest sweetheart? Sporting a homemade dress and a bunch of nerves, 20-year-old soon-to-be American Idol Kelly Clarkson went into that audition room and showed Simon who’s boss. “Score!!!”

It’s safe to say American Idol made television history in more ways than one. From producing 15 minutes of fame-ers to some of the most popular artists out there today, it had a real impact on the pop music industry. We’ll miss ya, Idol.