- The Season 9 finale where Simon gave his goodbye speech after contestants from the entire run (seven of the first eight winners — David Cook couldn't make it — and 18 former contestants) sang together in one big song.
- If we listed all the heartwarming personal stories shared by contestants, we'd be here all day.
- On the season 11 Top 8 results show, contestant Joshua Ledet was feeling ill, but Ryan Seacrest showed that he genuinely cares for the cast by making it clear to Joshua that he should speak up if he starts to feel worse. He even told Joshua that he didn't have to come on stage to hear his result if he was not feeling up to it (he did though, and he was ultimately safe).
- Colton Dixon's Season 11 audition had two of these. First, the judges forcing him to audition(he planned to just be there to support his sister Schyler) and Jennifer Lopez' speech to him on not giving up. The second came while Schyler, who was kinda robbed of her moment by the judges making Colton audition, was singing. The camera zoomed in on Colton, who was beaming with pride in his sister.
- In season eight, Paula Abdul choreographed the disco week group number, and Ryan spent a good minute before and after the contestants performed talking about how wonderful a choreographer she was, and after, Ryan pulled Paula up to the stage and the contestants all gave her a bouquet of flowers nearly as big as she was, because she did so well. (Paula, understandably, was near tears.)
- Simon Cowell actually apologised to Ellen DeGeneres for announcing that the ninth season would be his last at almost exactly the same time she was named to the judging panel (thereby giving off the impression that he was leaving because of her), even though the timing really was pure coincidence.
- From season 6, overlapping with tear jerker; Sherman Pore, at age 36, was past the age limit of 28 for potential contestants, but he traveled to Los Angeles hoping for nothing more than to sing in front of the judges in memory of his recently deceased wife, who was a huge fan of the show. Naturally, the judges accommodated him, and he proceeded to give a heartfelt rendition of "You Belong To Me."
- "I don't really care who wins" is usually just a platitude, something contestants say to look unselfish even though absolutely no one would fault them for being greedy in that situation. Not so in Season 16, where about 15 minutes before the winner was announced, the top two, Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson, revealed that they'd actually secretly been in a relationship since meeting back in the Hollywood rounds, so they really meant it when they said they were fine with the other one winning.
- They weren't the only confirmed couple that season, either. In fact, given how Ryan Seacrest often likes to point out the Ship Tease between contestants, the relationship between co-4th place finisher Cade Foehner and 3rd place finisher Gabby Barrett might have been the best possible thing for Caleb and Maddie's goal to keep their relationship hidden until after it was too late to be used as a "storyline" that could affect the voting.
Heartwarming / American Idol