Since 2002, iconic country music artists have graced Fox’s American Idol stage. Whether it was as a sole performer, a mentor, a judge, or a duet partner, many of our favorites have had cameos on one of the most popular competition reality shows to ever air in our nation.
Considering that Idol is about breaking superstars, what better way to pay homage to the final season than to look back on some of the best country duets that allowed aspiring artists to team up with their own idols? In order of season of appearance, these are some of our favorite duets over the years, coincidentally co-starring some of our favorite artists!
Season 1: Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire – “Does He Love You?” (Top 20 Vegas show)
Before they were step in-laws and when Kelly Clarkson still wore dresses over jeans, Reba McEntire was the artist Kelly held in highest regard as her idol. While we are sure Kelly still feels this way about the woman whose music she grew up on, their relationship took quite a turn after this first performance, even leading to joint tours before joining families. It is pretty safe to say that after Reba heard Kelly sing, she, too, engaged in some idol worship.
Season 4: Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood – “God Bless the Broken Road”
Perhaps Carrie Underwood’s road wasn’t always paved in the direction she ultimately traveled, but thank goodness for all the forks, turns, and dead ends. From her first audition, the girl from Checotah, Oklahoma was a fast favorite, and her collaboration with super group Rascal Flatts goes down in Idol history as one of the best. Because Carrie and Gary.
Season 10: Josh Turner and Scotty McCreery – “Your Man”
Scotty McCreery put four words on the American Idol map immediately upon his introduction on the coveted stage: “Baby lock the door”. In fact, if viewers would have taken shots each time the show spotlighted him singing those words, we would have had an influx of alcohol poisoning that year. However, with chops as sexy as Scotty’s, the condition would have been well worth the suffering. The singer who originally made “Your Man” famous, Josh Turner, surprised Scotty during his Idol hometown visit and the reaction by the ultimate Season 10 winner is simply adorable.
Season 10: Carrie Underwood and Lauren Alaina – “Before He Cheats”
You can’t have a comprehensive American Idol post without shining light on Lauren Alaina, one of the most spunky and talented artists to hail from the show. Coming in runner-up to Scotty, Lauren had the opportunity to share the stage with Season 4 winner and country music superstar, Carrie Underwood. The result: one of the strongest and sassiest vocal duets in the fourteen seasons that have aired.
Season 13: Jo Dee Messina and Alex Preston – “Story of My Life”
This particular pairing is rather special because it’s a family affair. Alex Preston’s second cousin, Jo Dee Messina, surprised him on stage during his hometown visit, and while Jo Dee didn’t get overly involved in the performance, the look of pride she has on her face is more voluminous than a song. When the song ends, you can see a sincere “I’m so proud of you” come from her mouth, and if that doesn’t hit you in the ticker, you might want to consider seeking medical attention stat.
Season 14: Steven Tyler and Jax – “Piece of My Heart”
Big Machine Label Group recording artist and former Idol judge, Steven Tyler, made his return to the American Idol stage in Season 14 to sing Janis Joplin‘s “Piece of My Heart” with contestant Jax. Though the rendition wasn’t quite like Faith Hill‘s, Steven is a bonafide member of our country music community and the love of my life, therefore he earned a spot on this list due to reasons of favoritism. Hey, at least we’re honest.