By now, you're probably aware that Kelly Clarkson will return to "American Idol" this week, to perform her current Country smash "Don't You Wanna Stay" with Jason Aldean during Thursday night's results show.
Obviously, we're pumped by the news — after all, we loved Kelly's last album, 2009's All I Ever Wanted — and we're glad to see her stepping back into the spotlight to promote her still-too-far-away new album (she did a medley of her greatest hits last week on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" last week). But, to be honest, it's not like this is the first time she'll be back on the show — shoot, she was on just last year, joining other "Idol" faves in a tribute performance to departing judge Simon Cowell — so we'd like to use this opportunity to shine a light on some of Clarkson's fellow "A.I." alumni ... because, really, they could use the love.
So, with Kelly booked, here are five other former "American Idol" contestants we'd like to see take the stage this year, for reasons as perverse as they are profound. After all, anybody's better than Iggy Pop, right?
» Antonella Barba: As those photos of her cavorting in the fountains of the National World War II Memorial proved, she is certainly the most, uh, patriotic contestant in "Idol" history (take that, Kristy Lee Cook!), and judging by her official site, her schedule's clear. Plus, with Glenn Beck vacating our airwaves, someone needs to fill the "marginally talented jingoist" slot, don't they?
» Sanjaya Malakar: The self-proclaimed "People's Idol" would certainly add some flair to this season's rather staid proceedings; just by taking the stage, he'd instantly become the third craziest person on "Idol," behind Steven Tyler and whomever keeps giving James Durbin all those bandanas. And, as a bonus, we'd probably get to see this girl again.
» Jessica Sierra: Hey, at least it would be entertaining.
» Melinda Doolittle: In all seriousness, it's a crying shame that just because she passed on signing with Sony — opting, instead, to go the independent route — Doolittle has basically been blackballed from "Idol" entirely. Because not only was she the best contestant on season six (she finished third, behind Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks), but with her classy, soulful voice, she remains one of the show's most underrated contestants. If freaking Constantine can perform on "A.I.," certainly there's room for Melinda, too.
» Taylor Hicks: Would show up disheveled and dazed, bellowing about the "Soul Patrol" while pumping his fist in the air like a train conductor working an old steam whistle. Would threaten Paul McDonald, then ask Ryan Seacrest to lend him "like five bucks or something." When Seacrest refused, he'd burst into tears, be escorted off the premises, and return to the Geo Tracker he's been sleeping in since 2008.