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A History of Aerosmith on 'American Idol'

From Adam Lambert to Antonella Barba, THR takes a look back at Aerosmith's presence on 'Idol' before frontman Steven Tyler became judge.

Aerosmith
John W. Ferguson/Getty Images

In the decade that American Idol has been on the air, Aerosmith songs have been performed on the live show no less than nine times! Of course, some versions of "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" are better than others, but there's certainly no shortage of options, including one as recent as last week, when 15-year-old Lauren Alaina wowed Steven Tyler himself. Below, nine more note-worthy Aerosmith moments on Idol.

1. Adam Lambert "Cryin'" (Season 8)
 
It was Adam Lambert’s final song on Top 3 night and he chose the late-era Aerosmith hit, “Cryin’,” for one last bow. “Steven Tyler’s the man, I wanna do him proud,” said Adam before launching into a rousing, octave-defying rendition of the band’s 1993 hit. The performance left Kara DioGuardi speechless (shocker), Paula Abdul was another matter. “You set the bar so high in the sky, I hope you’re gonna be collecting frequent flyer miles,” she told Adam from the judges’ table. “You’re gonna be flying for free everywhere!” 
 

2. David Cook "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (Season 7)
 
Another Top 3 performance which paved the way to the finale, David Cook tackled Aerosmith’s 1998 hit with the songwriter in the room! No, not Steven Tyler, Diane Warren who proudly looked on from the audience. Surrounded by a string section a clad-in-black Cook stayed true to the original, which didn’t impress Randy Jackson, who called his “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” “very predictable.” But Simon Cowell was of a different mind, especially after Cook killed it on Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which the hard-to-please judge had chosen. “David Cook wins the night,” Simon proclaimed. A week later, Cook won it all. 
 

 
3. Allison Iraheta “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Season 8)
 
When the Top 7 took on movie night, Allison Iraheta chose the theme to Armageddon, knocked it down a key, and belted with all the vocal grit she could muster. “I don’t care if you’re 16 or 60, all I know is that you’re one remarkable, talented young lady,” said Paula. Simon’s assessment was spot-on, too. “You are the girls’ only hope in the competition right now,” he told Allison.  
 
 
4. Michael Johns “Dream On” (Season 7)
 
Sadly, Michael Johns’ Inspirational Week choice, Aerosmith’s 1973 breakout smash “Dream On,” was also the song that sent him home. Although to be fair, Johns didn’t butcher the final note as contestants have been wont to do. For her part, Paula had this opinion to offer: “You sound as good as you look.” ‘Nuff said.
 
 
5. Aaron Kelly “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Season 9)
 
Sporting his signature rolled-up sleeves, then 16-year-old Aaron Kelly delivered a no-nonsense version of the Aerosmith chart-topper, his choice for Billboard No. 1s week, after which he sailed through the next five rounds. 
 
 
 
6. Danny Gokey "Dream On" (Season 8)
 
Rock week was a rough one for Season 8’s Danny Gokey, who ended Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On” with an uncharacteristic screech that was heard around the world. This was also the performance that sparked one of Kara’s unforgettable flubs, telling Danny, “I don’t see you on this type of song, I see you doing more early Aerosmith like ‘Cryin’’ or ‘Crazy.’ ” Of course, it doesn’t get any earlier than “Dream On,” the band’s first single off their debut album from 1973. “Cryin’” and “Crazy,” on the other hand, came out in 1993 and 1994 respectively. Oopsie!
 

 

7. Lindsey Cardinale "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (Season 4)
 
It was the last phase of the season 4 semifinals and 16 contenders remained, including Louisiana native Lindsey Cardinale. Her version of the Idol staple impressed Randy, who responded simply with “wow, wow, wow,” while Paula declared unapologetically, “I’m not a fan of the song.” Simon Cowell was less PC, of course, saying Lindsey’s version was “the musical equivalent of Ryan Seacrest: you look the part, do everything right, and yet you’re disappointed with the performance.” Stewing off to the side, Ryan decided proper payback was throwing a cup of water to Simon’s face -- which he did in one of the show’s truly dramatic moments. 
 
 
8. Josh Gracin "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (Season 2)
 
For Season 2’s Songs of the Cinema round, Idol’s resident marine also chose the Armageddon theme. It was only his second time on the big stage, but it was good enough to move him on to the next week's show and six more after.   
 
9. Antonella Barba "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (Season 7)
 
The original Jersey Shore babe, Antonella Barba sang the Aerosmith favorite for her Top 24 debut and barely made it through to the next round. The definition of pitchy, Antonella struggled with every turn of the vocally challenging song. Two weeks later, she was off the competition. 
 

10. Lauren Alaina "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (Season 10)*

An honorable mention from the auditions phase: In one of the first stand-out moments of season 10, 15-year-old Georgia native Lauren Alaina boldly delivers her rendition of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” her parents’ song, to Steven Tyler himself. The Aerosmith frontman’s reaction? He sang along, of course!