Nicholas David singing "You Are So Beautiful"An unassuming family man who looks like the music teacher next door but sings like a top soul artist, Nicholas David serenaded his family with the Joe Cocker song, "You Are So Beautiful." The performance demonstrated both restraint and a deep connection with the lyrics. Not only did his performance set Twitter abuzz, but it also earned him a spot in the finals.
Amanda Brown singing "Dream On"With her richly textured cover of Aerosmith's "Dream On," former background singer Amanda Brown proved her headline act potential. Sadly for her, she peaked too early with her subsequent performances compared again and again to this one. But her signature rendition of this song was without a doubt one of the outstanding moments of the season.
"The X Factor"
Tate Stevens singing "Fall"One of the front-runners since early in the competition, Tate Stevens sang Clay Walker's "Fall" at "The X Factor" semifinals and showed off his tender side. While he'd been coasting at the top due to his strong country tenor, this was the song that highlighted his ballad skills and made even non-country fans take notice.
"The X Factor"
Carly Rose Sonenclar singing "Rolling in the Deep"
A stand-out singer since she first surprised the judges with an audition that showed off a voice mature beyond her years, 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar brought new life to a song sung far too often on music-competition shows. In her pared-down version of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," she proved that it doesn't take vocal acrobatics to shine, but simply a creative arrangement and flawless execution.
Jessica Sanchez singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"In her rendition of the song made famous in the movie version of "Dreamgirls" by "Idol" alum Jennifer Hudson, precocious teen singer Jessica Sanchez invested the song with power and emotion. While this song is one of the most frequently attempted by music-competition show wannabes, Sanchez's effortless but raw performance solidified why she made it all the way to Season 11 runner-up.
Joshua Ledet singing "It's a Man's Man's Man's World"Before performing the James Brown classic "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," finalist Joshua Ledet made a rare move for "American Idol" contestants: He actually did a little research into the song. He interpreted the song as acknowledging the often-overlooked contributions by women in our culture. Drawing on that, he said that he drew on his mom's experiences: a hard-working, self-sacrificing, strong woman. That emotional connection to the song elevated his performance to a phenomenal, heartfelt tribute.