Ninth place, Season 5
The uni-monikered diva’s now legendary ”I’m Every Woman,” combined with her megawatt smile and effervescent personality, made it easy to pardon the occasional pitch problems that betrayed her on her semifinal covers of Faith Hill’s ”Cry” and Heart’s ”Never.” Her sorry performance of Shania Twain’s ”Any Man of Mine” during country week, however, proved unforgivable — especially in the deep, contentious fifth-season talent pool.
Seventh place, Season 6
There’s a massive difference between performing a Stevie Wonder song snippet a capella in a conference room and convincingly delivering it with a band in front of a live audience. That became abundantly clear when the gawky teenager who won a Golden Ticket with a sweet ”Signed, Sealed, Delivered” tackled ”Knocks Me Off My Feet” in week one of the semifinals with all the appeal and musicality of a worn-out kitchen sponge. We still can’t explain why it took viewers eight more performances to send the kid packing, but perhaps Americans forgot to get their masochism immunizations the previous autumn?
Twelfth place, Season 2
Oh perky pink-haired songbird! What might have been had you refused to read the cue card calling Ryan Seacrest a ”performing monkey” after your rendition of ”Keep Me Hangin’ On,” a comment most viewers thought was off-the-cuff — and very, very rude indeed.
Semifinalist, Season 7
Epperson looked like a shoo-in for the top 12 after delivering a soulful take on ”Piece of My Heart” (while clad in a dazzling violet halter top) during week one of the semifinals. Fourteen days later, though, the only thing recognizable about the early front-runner was the kicky apostrophe in her name, as her bizarre high-waisted pink pants and screechy cover of the accursed ”I Wanna Dance With Somebody” led to an early and unexpected ouster.
Twelfth place, Season 6
He seemed to have it all: Good looks, charisma, a mellifluous voice that made him a front-runner heading into the voting portion of Idol‘s very weird sixth season. But after atrocious song choices (”I Just Want to Celebrate”) and noticeable pitch problems (”Time After Time”) marred his semifinal run, those botched lyrics on ”You Can’t Hurry Love” proved to be the final straw.