American Idol is hyped as a showcase for great vocalists who could be hitmakers. That’s dishonest. American Idol, most of the time, is a showcase for hot people who want your attention. And I confess: Some of them deserve it! Today I’m counting down the ten hottest dudes ever to take the Idol stage, and I’m offering pictorial proof too! Warm up your vocal cords and prepare to sing out in ecstasy, y’all.
10. Mario Vasquez
OK, let’s make a pact: If we forget the unnerving, deeply troubling scandal that erupted around season four Top 24 competitor Mario Vazquez (which forced him to drop out of the competition), we can simply admire his boyish, sweet looks like a nicely blended oil painting. His cover of “I Love Music” is deeply underrated, by the way. Listen to that. Not the creepy other stuff.
9. Adam Lambert
I find American Idol’s most famously gay hollerer’s getup cool and fun, but truth be told, I don’t think it’s very… alluring? For all of his glitter and tight-panted strutting, Lambert always feels less like a lascivious loverman to me and more like, say, a standard Glee character. Or a character in general. Or an anime drawing in a high school freshman’s Art I notebook. Or the lovechild of Butch Patrick and Jo Anne Worley! Still, he democratized “glam” in 2008, and for that he warrants hotness points. Oh, and those gay makeout pics are pretty hot.
8. Casey James
I could’ve killed myself when Kara DioGuardi made Casey James take off his shirt during the season nine auditions, but her instincts are pretty comprehensible: The third-place troubadour’s gentle rasp and wheaten tresses are damn hot. Anyone who can countrify John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” without sounding contrived might be awesome for real.
7. Stefano Langone
I got serious bad boy vibes from season 10 showman Stefano Langone, particularly when he confessed that he had a fiery “love/hate” relationship with fellow contestant Haley Reinhart. That’s a serious flirter. A dangerous flirter. I’m scared. And yet, the hotness speaks for itself: At an Idol concert last year, Langone ripped off his shirt like a cocky prom king who idolizes Usher. Ugh. I accept this.
6. David Cook
Somebody call up Blake Shelton, because David Cook’s sexiness is all in THE VOICE. While David Archuleta grinned and giggled like an excited Tamagotchi, David Cook packed a world of burly grit into his magical instrument. He’s like a Chris Cornell you can bring home to Mom. And he may be the only Idol contestant who doesn’t look horrifyingly stupid in a vest.
5. Chris Daughtry
American Idol’s biggest male success story happens to be deeply, symmetrically hot: That dark stare! Those parabolic sideburns! His palpable anger! All of the things that a responsible gay adult enjoys.
4. Tim Urban
Was season 9’s Tim Urban hot? Very. Was he a good singer? Oh, not so much. In fact, his versions of Anita Baker’s “Sweet Baby” and The Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” are two of my most painful memories. But we’re not here to judge talent, guys. We’re here to dredge up photos of Tim Urban in some man pageant and tickle those abdominals with a feather duster. Yay!
3. Jordan Dorsey
I clamored when season 10 underdog Jordan Dorsey didn’t make the Top 13. Sure, his Top 24 performance of Usher’s “OMG” was lame, but OMG, he was such a sexy, sexy singer and shaker. A classy music teacher with an old-school Harry Belafonte charm and stunning — nay, gorgeous — good looks. Come back to us.
2. Kris Allen
Stop the presses: I believe Kris Allen was the rightful winner of Season 8. His song choices were the most inspired, his song renditions were the most inventive (“She Works Hard for the Money” as an acoustic come-down jam, anyone?), and more than any other singer his season, he transmitted vulnerability. That vulnerability makes him hot, along with his innocent eyes and sidemouthy singing. My vote for the sexiest vocal in Idol history is his rendition of “To Make You Feel My Love.” And while I’m being honest, “Live Like We’re Dying” is as good a post-Idol single as Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent” or Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” I said it. [Drop mic.]
1. Ace Young
Ace Young isn’t exactly a giant among Idol alums, but his attractiveness is so versatile that the Season 5 looker’s a shoo-in for our top spot. He’s both rugged and clean-cut, a rocker and a Broadway belter in Hair, a hard-edged brooder and a winsome grinner. And the body happens to be slammin’, as you can see. All hail. His girlfriend, fellow Idol alum Diana DeGarmo is so damn lucky.