‘American Idol’: Most Surprising Top 4 Finalists In 11 Seasons

1
Hollie Cavanagh, American Idol, Season 11
Hollie Cavanagh, American Idol, Season 11
FOX
Hollie Cavanagh defied all odds when she hung in the competition despite dismal performances that left the audience dead silent. Yet, once she leaped into the Top 4, she started to leap into our hearts with rapidly improving performances. Could she be the little underdog... that wins?
2
Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Season 5
Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Season 5
FOX
No one expected Season 5 winner, Taylor Hicks, to make it to the top. Sure, he's got soul for days, but his non-pop star looks threatened to doom him from the start. Shows you how far you can go with a adorably named group of fans, the "Soul Patrol." Sorry, Simon Cowell.
3
Anthony Fedorov, American Idol, Season 4
Anthony Fedorov, American Idol, Season 4
FOX
Fourth-place finisher Anthony Fedorov had a sweet ballad voice, but tough competition: Season 4 was Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice territory. Where do you fit in when there's already little bit country, a little bit rock and roll?
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4
Jason Castro, American Idol, Season 7
Jason Castro, American Idol, Season 7
FOX
You'd be hard-pressed to imagine the screen-time-challenged Jason Castro lasting past the semifinals. But the dreadlocked one stumbled into the Top 4, despite invoking memories of watching 'Dazed and Confused.' Too bad he failed to make it any further after shooting — or, should we say butchering — the sheriff with an ill-advised Bob Marley cover. 
5
Elliott Yamin, American Idol , Season 5
Elliott Yamin, American Idol , Season 5
FOX
Oh, Elliott Yamin. Your gorgeous voice and amiable nature made us overlook the overbite. And so did the rest of America — though his unconventional look kept him from finishing any higher than third place, Yamin bagged a radio hit with "Wait For You."
6
Jasmine Trias, American Idol, Season 3
Jasmine Trias, American Idol, Season 3
FOX
Despite criticisms from the judges and three stints in the bottom three, Trias hung on until the Top 3. Of course, her Top 4 performance of "It's Raining Men" proved she wouldn't have confetti raining on her flowered head anytime soon.
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7
Nikki McKibbin, American Idol
Nikki McKibbin, American Idol
FOX
McKibben's punk look was a bit much for the general audience — and the audience appeared to agree. The oft-pitchy singer was sent to the bottom three a whopping five times. Still, the "Heartbreaker" cover singer broke our hearts by outlasting Tamyra Gray, eventually finishing in third place. Good thing a young singer named Kelly Clarkson was unstoppable. 
8
Syesha Mercado, American Idol
Syesha Mercado, American Idol
FOX
Not only was Syesha Mercado given a ticket to the bottom three as many times as Season 1's Nikki McKibbin, she also rode the competition right into the Top 3. Still, her Broadway- (not pop) friendly voice made way for the real Goliaths in the competition, Season 7's two Davids (Archuleta and Cook). 
9
Blake Lewis, American Idol
Blake Lewis, American Idol
FOX
Oh, Simon Cowell, you gave Blake Lewis a bad name when you told the Season 6 contestant, "I don't think you're as good as you think you are." But the under-appreciated beat-boxer flourished throughout the season, fighting his way into the Top 2. Unfortunately, this was not his now, as Jordin Sparks bagged the victory.
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10
Haley Reinhart, American Idol
Haley Reinhart, American Idol
FOX
Haley Reinhart was the underdog for most of Season 10, receiving flack from the judges for showing off her unique vocal stylings and picking songs that "most of America" doesn't know. She came close to the chopping block four times, but made it to the Top 3. Turns out rumored boyfriend Casey Abrams wasn't the only one who loved her. 

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