1. Kelly Clarkson, "Since U Been Gone"
The original American Idol
winner, Kelly Clarkson
, has come out with hit after hit, and while it's hard to narrow it down, "Since U Been Gone" ranks at the top of our playlist. It's one of those songs that's always appropriate to play. It makes you run a little faster on the treadmill, jump a little higher at the bar and sing a little louder in the shower. Even if the person you're dedicating this song to can't hear you, singing this angst-ridden pop/rock tune aloud gives new meaning to the phrase "girl power."
2. Carrie Underwood, "Before He Cheats"
Who knew cute country girl Carrie Underwood
would transform into a chart-topping bombshell beauty? When "Before He Cheats" comes on the car radio, you can't help but turn it up way too loud, roll down all the windows and belt out the words at the top of your lungs...giving dirty looks to every man who looks in your direction. Yes, even you, Grandpa. This song is dedicated to all the cheating men out there, and these days, the list seems to be getting longer and longer. But take one look at Carrie's fine fiancé (and massive diamond ring), and it's obvious that she's the one who got the last laugh.
3. Jordin Sparks, "No Air"
You know your song is a pop culture smash when the Glee
cast records a cover. This is just one reason "No Air," American Idol
Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks' duet with Chris Brown, makes the cut. Another reason? Um, how about it's pure amazingness? We think that's reason enough. Would you judge us if we admitted we often play this song on repeat, imagining ourselves playing Jordin and/or Lea Michele in our own music video? Yes? Okay, then we totally don't do that.
4. Adam Lambert, "Whataya Want from Me"
Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert
is responsible for more than just bringing back guyliner. This glam rocker is an artist known for his originality, talent (which is very refreshing these days) and, of course, his kick-butt single, "Whataya Want from Me." We'll tell you what we want from you Adam...more songs like this one! In case you missed him on The Oprah Show
, check him out here
5. Jennifer Hudson, "Spotlight"
Judging by her success, you would never know that Jennifer Hudson
didn't take the American Idol
crown in Season 3. Between Dreamgirls
, an Oscar® and her powerhouse voice, Jennifer has become an entertainment industry staple. Her song "Spotlight"
is a must-download for every iPod owner. Now, if only our voices didn't crack every time we tried to reach the high notes.
6. Kelly Clarkson, "Breakaway"
If there's one American Idol ballad that takes the cake, it's Kelly's "Breakaway." There is nothing that gets us more than a song about a girl going out on her own. Making a wish, making a change and, of course, breaking away. But seriously, this song is more than just a high school graduation anthem. If you've ever been to one of Kelly's concerts, this song is the ballad that gives you chills. When the house lights come up, everyone is swaying with their arms around sweaty strangers and singing at the top of their lungs. It may be incredibly cheesy, but you can't help but tear up. That is precisely why "Breakaway" has landed on this list.
7. Daughtry, "No Surprise"
When Chris Daughtry
got the boot on Season 5 of American Idol
, viewers were outraged. And rightfully so. But his early departure did not slow down this frontman's rise to the top. Chris and his band, Daughtry, have released countless hits, and he's showing no signs of stopping. It was hard to settle on just one all-time favorite Daughtry song, but "No Surprise" tops our list. A song about the end of a relationship always hits home, and this tune is one you can easily listen to on repeat.
8. David Cook, "Time of My Life"
For a few seasons of American Idol
, ordinary people could submit songs to be considered as the first single for the Idol
winner. David Cook's hit "Time of My Life"
was one of those songs. And, well, it just proves that ordinary people can rock. This song is such a feel-good song, and David sounds oh so good singing it. (In our book, there's nothing wrong with a guy who is easy on the eyes and ears!) It was such an inspiring ballad, it became the anthem of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
9. Clay Aiken, "Invisible"
While we love Kris Allen's song Live Like We're Dying, we have to give this last spot to Clay Aiken and his 2003 single "Invisible." Why? Well aside from his voice, he lands on this list because everyone has a guilty pleasure song and with lyrics like "Whatcha doin tonight/I wish I could be a fly on your wall" and "If I was invisible/Then I could just watch you in your room" (not at all creepy), this song is one large serving of pop goodness.