American Idol Top 30 Performances of All Time: No. 23, Bo Bice, “In a Dream”



Confession time.

Like everyone else in the country, I watched Season 1 of American Idol religiously.

Then I moved. I worked at a newspaper in Pennsylvania, which meant working nights and in the age before DVR, that meant no Idol. So I didn’t watch Seasons 2-5.

When Season 6 rolled around, my girlfriend – now wife – forced me to watch and the rest is history.

So when putting together these lists, I relied on a lot of other lists to get nominees and then I went from there. This write up won’t be as in depth as some others, but to not include it would be crazy. Why?

Because this is about Idol when it was still a singing show.

From all accounts, Bo Bice knew how to play the game. He knew how to pick songs and how to create big moments. He took risks – and then he took what might have been the biggest risk in American Idol history with our No. 23 American Idol All-Time Performance, his version of “In a Dream” by Badlands.

A rock song? By a band founded by Ozzy Osbourne Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee and former Black Sabbath members Ray Gillen and Eric Singer. Why is that a risk?

Because he gave the band the night off.

THE SITUATION: Bo wasn’t going to win American Idol and he knew it. Carrie Underwood was the favorite – with good reason, as seen by her millions of records sold post show – but he wasn’t going to sit back and let her take the title.

He didn’t like the way his performance sounded in rehearsal, so instead of trying to make small changes to improve it, he made a monster one that was getting him sent home or sent to the final – he ditched the band.

Nobody had done a capella on a live show on Idol, so this was some groundbreaking shit. In the final three it took balls. Just straight balls. Maybe even balls with a z, considering it wasn’t exactly the most popular song in the world.

But this was when Idol was still a singing show, so all that mattered was how Bo sounded.

THE HIGHLIGHTS: He had auditioned with it, so he had some experience singing it sans band, but still.

It just looked and sounded right from the start. Bo’s flowing brown locks poured over his shoulders and with two spotlights shining on each side of him, he looked like Singing Jesus.

There’s not a lot of Idols who could have gotten away with this. He sounds confident and sure on every note. He doesn’t oversing; he lets his voice do what it’s intended and it’s tough to imagine a band doing anything that would have helped his cause better than going a capella.

Shit really gets real when he sings “When I wake/And I’m bless by god’s grace/just to open my eyes” and holds “Eyes” for 7.85 seconds (I timed it). It’s just ridiculous because if he cracks at any point, he’s done. Season over.

He closes slow and steady and the judges are amazed.

WHY IT’S HERE: Some songs are here for voice, some are here for performance and some are here because it’s groundbreaking shit. What Bo Bice did was groundbreaking shit and, oh yeah, voice and performance.

While it’s surprising no one has really tried to replicate the performance, it shouldn’t be a shock; it’s so risky and if you can’t sing like Bo Bice, you shouldn’t think about it.

PREVIOUSLY: No. 24, Joshua Ledet, “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”

NEXT UP: The hunkiest hunk in the history of Idol makes everyone in America instantly attracted to him singing a song written by a chick with huge knockers.