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'American Idol': 13 Best 'Idol' Performances Of All Time Ever (VIDEOS)

American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson sings after winning the contest at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Ca., Sept. 4, 2002.  (photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect)
American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson sings after winning the contest at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Ca., Sept. 4, 2002. (photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect)

The 13th season of "American Idol" kicks off this week, and we once again enter the seemingly endless morass of auditions. You know which ones we mean -- the tryouts that balance a few a capella gems alongside soul-crushing awfulness, if the past dozen years are anything to go by. But the launch is an opportunity to not only consider the show's future, but also look back at the accomplishments of one of the biggest shows ever, even if it's no longer exactly that.

So we've gathered the 13 best performances since that out-of-nowhere first season back in 2002. These videos demonstrate that even if "Idol" never gets its mojo back, it can still claim a legacy that no other singing competition show can compete with.

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