Hot Gallery: As American Idol Marks a Milestone, We Look Back at the Show’s Top Star-Making MomentsIn its 13 seasons, American Idol has showcased plenty of gems in the rough—and some radio-ready stars. But there have been a few truly great performances, the kind that stick with you years later. We look back at the show’s top star-making moments, and the future stars who gave them to us. By Nina Hämmerling Smith
With her big voice and big brown eyes, Katharine McPhee was a standout in a season full of remarkable talent, but she made the biggest impression with one of her most restrained performances. Sitting at the center of the stage, she delivered a vulnerable take on the Judy Garland classic “Somewhere over the Rainbow” that propelled her into the finale. The season 5 runner-up starred in the NBC musical-theater drama Smash.
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