In anticipation of tomorrow night’s sixth season premiere of American Idol, we’ve decided to recap the ten most annoying Idol finalists of all time. Easier said than done. Turns out there have been very many annoying, awful, and intolerable finalists; so ranking them is no easy task. I’ll throw up the usual disclaimer: I’m sure most of these kids are friendly and lovable and wonderful people. But dammit if they didn’t make me want to throw a shoe at the TV.
To the countdown!
10 Paris Bennett (Season 5)
Paris had an amazing set of pipes on her. She also was cute as a button. And she also was crazy annoying. Whether it was her quiet air of entitlement or her so-precious-it-hurts princess voice, Paris became surprisingly grating as the season went on. She was an early favorite to go far, and she did, but her yo-yoing between cutie Princess Pea and wannabe Beyoncé drove everyone mad. Yech.
9. Diana DeGarmo (Season 3)
Just barely beating out Jasmine Trias and her dumb flower is Diana DeGarmo. My lasting memory of this girl comes from the season three finale when she bounded down the aisles of the Kodak Theatre, imploring everyone to get their hands up, y’all, and clap to the beats of “I Knew You Were Waiting.” SHUT UP.
8. Nikki McKibbin (Season 1)
Remember this girl? She was the dyed-hair single-mom who somehow failed upwards into the top three. If I recollect accurately, I’m pretty sure she didn’t a single note the entire season. By the time she reached the upper echelons of the show, there was genuine concern that she might somehow sneak into the top two, what with Justin and Kelly canceling out each other’s votes, or something like that. Luckily, she was soon expunged from the Idol world, and the last I saw of her was, well, up close when she drunkenly showed J-Unit and I bruises on her inner thigh at a bar. If that’s not annoying, I don’t know what is.
7. Taylor Hicks (Season 5)
SOUL PATROL! If you’re like me, those two words are enough to make you want to jump off a bridge. Sure, Taylor had heart, and sure, he had soul, but he also had disturbing body ticks up the wazoo. His schtick was perfect for all the 48 year old men at home who rush out to buy the latest Michael McDonald CD, but for the rest of us, it was frustrating, especially in a season where more talented folk like Chris Daughtry, Elliot Yamin, and Mandisa were unceremoniously cut early.
6. Corey Clark (Season 2)
This guy has the added bonus of not just being annoying, but sucking too. His voice was beyond awful, and yet he somehow made it into the finals (thanks Paula!). Luckily, he was soon axed for his off-camera antics, but like a stubborn roach, he simply would not go away. Two years later, he tried to drag the Paulster into the mud by flinging accusations of a romantic tryst. It may have been true, but no one cared. Paula may be loopy and crazy and inarticulate, but she’s ours and damn you for trying to take her away!
5. Ace Young (Season 5)
Ace, Ace, Ace. The falsetto. The nails-on-chalkboard version of “Butterflies.” The Queen cover. The scar. Everything about Ace Young was horrendous. He seemed like a nice guy with an even nicer family, but man did he try our patience. Luckily, Ace was dropped before he could reach that special upper-echelon of awfulness — reserved for the likes of, well, the next four people.
4. Clay Aiken (Season 2)
Like most of the annoying finalists on Idol, people either loved Clay or hated him. I hated him. No doubt, the kid could sing. And no doubt, he’s done terrifically in his post-Idol career. But at the same time, his sappy, histrionic, Broadway voice mixed with his ardent, ravenous fans just made him intolerable. Week after week he persevered, and for those of us in the “Hate” camp, it was nothing but pure torture.
3. Mikalah Gordon (Season 4)
Mikalah didn’t last long, but she sure made her mark. Somewhere along the way, poor Mikalah thought it would be hilarious to revive Fran Drescher’s schtick for a new generation. For reasons I can’t quite figure out, the judges seemed to absolutely love her, which leads me to believe that she must be an awesome person because for anyone to look beyond the low-rent Drescher act means there must be something more there. After she was eliminated, she later returned for cameo appearances, this time sporting the full Lawng Island makeover: crazy highlights, a fake tan, and loads of makeup. Awful.
2. Justin Guarini (Season 1)
The original sucker. Justin Guarini started off season one as the guy to beat. The judges loved him. The girls loved him. And the guys, well, they hated him (but guys didn’t count for much that first season). Somewhere along the way, however, the anti-Justin movement grew stronger and stronger, and by the time it was down to Justin and Kelly, it seemed like it might be the largest crime against humanity if he had won, what with his silly hair and strange dancing/bopping. In the wake of his Idol success, Justin hasn’t been able to get past his “HE’S SO GODDAMN ANNOYING” reputation, which is too bad because I met him once, and he was really, really nice. But annoying is annoying. Sorry, Justin.
1. Constantine Maroulis (Season 4)
Was there really any question about this? Constantine was cocky, ugly, and not fit for popstardom. Plus, he fancied himself a rocker, which kind of ran contradictory to his Broadway training in Rent. Everything about him screamed poseur, and to this day, we still don’t know why there are Connie fans absolutely devoted to him. He’s awful. Truly, truly awful.