With the inevitable happening in a matter of weeks now, one thing that the show that started it all can be proud of is that they have produced numerous pop stars and hit makers that undeniably made – even if it was a one hit wonder – an impact on radio, music charts and pop culture.
X Factor did produced famous boy group One Direction, power girl groups Little Mix and Fifth Harmony and diva belter, Leonna Lewis and on the The Voice corner, they haven’t really made stars even after 9 seasons, but American Idol was able to carve names out of its winners and some finalists and runner-ups doing well.
And as the farewell season starts rolling, I will be doing various list American Idol related that will serve as a good journey back to good ol’ memories and a celebration of the success that American Idol has made.
First: 30 SONGS FROM AMERICAN IDOL ALUMNI
For my first list, I will be enumerating 30 (this will be my staple wrap-up number for American Idol this year) songs that I thought were fantastically marked by an American Idol alumni. The list is very subjective as I have considered personal biases, radio impact and chart success. Also, I limited 3 songs for each Idol cos’ let’s be clear 30 is enough to list all of Kelly Clarkson’s hit songs! Haha. Also, the list will not include the coronation songs from the winners, cover songs nor recent American Idol winner, Nick Fradiani, as he hasn’t released any single or album yet.
So with no further adieu. Here it goes.
(Season 9/Winner): Lee Dewyze which won the 9th Season of American Idol released his debut single with so much expectations in his back from the bosses and idol pundits altogether. Too bad, such lovely, ray of light, uptempo track didn’t get a much deserve traction from both radio and mass appeal. Even so, I personally think that “Sweet Serendipity” has stayed true to its title, giving me such sweet feels and butterflies.
(Season 11/Top 7): Colton Dixon found his nichè in Christian music and rightfully so as he succeeded in that genre! “Never Gone” is such a solid single from Colton and it could pass also as a pop tune – if it was appreciated in that genre. Still, I think the song establishes a clearer career path and the song leaves a strong impression.
(Season 9/Hollywood Week): The argument if American Idol should take the credit on Tori Kelly‘s success right now still left me in the middle. One thing is for sure, American Idol will always be in her resume whether she made it to the final or not. “Nobody Love” is Tori’s biggest hit to date that she was recognized, loved and boomed dominantly in year 2015. She even scored a Grammy nomination for this. Rightfully so, the song is catchy and relevant and radio friendly. It also gave us a variety of her vocal capabilities as she played to some soft notes and then belt out that crazy yet delicious high register.
(Season 13/Top 2): Original, relevant and solid. Jenna Irene may not have won her season and luck on her career may be still up in the air, the singer song writer has penned a fantastic single that is riveting. Too bad, radio took a pass on it.
(Season 11/Top 2): Power vocalist and talented pop singer Jessica Sanchez is one of the gems that American Idol has produced. She can sing the phonebook to be honest. Her biggest hit, assisted by Ne-Yo, is pop-R&B dance tune that keeps the vibe alive, moving and fun. This is also a good escape from her usual power ballads during her American Idol run.
(Season 5/Top 4): Chris Daughtry is one of the best testament in Idol that you don’t have to win the show to make a career out of it. With a fantastic single like “What about now” that speaks message – simple yet powerful.
(Season 8/Top 2): Adam Lambert is a solid vocalist and one of the best discovery of American Idol but when he took a more midtempo and combining that vocal dynamics of his in “Whataya want from me”? I am sold. It is infectious, lss-inducing and a really good midtempo track.
(Season 4/Winner): Carrie Underwood not just won American Idol but she also carved her name in the music industry. Breaking records, selling top notch albums and representing Idol in the country genre. “Jesus take the wheel” is a good breed of country tune that never really felt country. With a powerful lyrics that seems to fit a story telling, Carrie sold the story and made millions out of it.
(Season 8/Winner): Powerful ballad. Kris Allen‘s vocals has been underated during and after his Idol run. But with the piano-themed pop ballad like “The Truth” there’s a dignified attitude and solid vocal power to a song that seeks for the truth. Ha.
(Season 8/Top 4): That gritty, rock quality on her voice made Allison Iraheta a compelling artist. “Scars” is a fantastic follow up from the pop-rock tune, “Friday, I’ll be over u”. It is soft yet edgy ballad that is emotional and tune-ful. I was hoping the radio would pick this up, but I guess it wasn’t enough.
(Season 7/Top 2): One of the more successful runner up, David Archuleta released a single that played in his teen spirit. A relatable, bubble gum pop tune made him even more closer to his fans and created new ones too. With a hook that is catchy and a simple lyrics, the relatable pop tune is one of the more succesful runner up single of an idol alumni.
(Season 7/Winner): David Cook won the hearts of many as he was one of those idol alumni who took risks and evolve the landscape of reality singing shows into a more groundbreaking performances. His sophomore single – alot better than the first – is a sad yet compelling pop rock hybrid. David’s vocals were front and center and the song just had that dynamics, allowing us to enjoy David’s gorgeous voice in full.
(Season 1/Winner): Kelly Clarkson‘s “Breakaway” is written to uplift you, to make you feel hopeful, to take chances or in her words, break away. It is the kind of song that simply wraps itself around you and then you feel more empowered and trusting and I think a lot of it is due to how Kelly sold the song. She just sand the hell out of it.
(Season 4/Top 16): In a year where the likes of Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Rihanna are emerging in pop culture, making pop & R&B music a more radio love fest – Mario Vasquez‘s “Gallery” is another gem. With its catchy beat, Mario’s simple lovely tone and a hook? This is a good ol’ recipe for a radio hit!
(Season 5/Top 2): Simple, lovely, Gorgeous! With an assistance from Zachary Levi, this Katherin McPhee single is her best to date.
(Season 7/Top 4): The beginning with the whistle like hum, it already catches your attention and then Jason Castro casts his spell through that gorgeous tone that is breezy, cool and vibrant making “Let’s just fall in love again” sweet, romantic and cheesy.
(Season 1/Winner): There’s a conviction to the track “Stronger” as it continues a trademark – strong message theme from Kelly Clarkson. “Stronger” begins slowly, allowing Kelly’s beautiful voice to hover and creep in you until it burst to a pre-chorus mid tempo and then catching you singing along on its catchy chorus!
(Season 3/Top 7): L-O-V-E, what is in me. Or, if you got real love lemme see you put your hands up? Look these lyrics phrases were one of the many reasons why this single worked on Jennifer Hudson. The track is relatable, simple and had so much dynamics without being overwhelming. “If this isn’t love” is catchy and lss inducing, you just can’t help but sing along.
(Season 9/Hollywood Week): One of the strongest single from Tori Kelly. “Should’ve been us” is bubble gum pop but not really, a dynamics loaded track without being overwhelming and a catchy midtempo.
(Season 7/Top 2): Again, for his second single, David Archuleta played on a relatable single this time turning a pop tune to a more emotional stint but still maintaining that bubble gum pop feel, which worked for his age and his fan base.
(Season 6/Winner): The steps sound in the back track provided a subtle meaning to the wholeness of her song. “One step at a time” is an uplifting track, giving a solid message behind a catchy rhythm and an infectious hook. Also, Jordin sounded really good.
(Season 10/Top 3): The piano driven single from Haley Reinhart is delicious at its best! It was written beautifully, sang brilliantly and is also an underrated single. The single allows Haley’s vocals to be front and center and I love it.
(Season 4/Winner): To actually deliver a solid country ballad is not a hard thing from Carrie Underwood but to make the tune sound like a pop ballad too. Seriously, I mistakenly took this as a pop ballad. Nontheless, “So small” is a gorgeous power ballad with Carrie’s vocals showing real strong.
(Season 5/Top 3): “Wait for you” is such a gem. It may be Elliott Yamin‘s one hit wonder but it did put him on the map of a successful idol alumni. The song had solid verses and a hook in the chorus that is memorable.
(Season 8/Winner): For ne, “Better with you” is the best case of what Kris Allen‘s music should be. It was a guitar driven, acoustic tune with Krism vocals front and center. The track is infectious and catchy and the single is very pop friendly. But remind me again why it wasn’t picked up by radio nor became a mega hit? Even in the stripped down version sounded fantatsic!
(Season 5/Top 4): “Home” hits it right. It was relevant, current and solid. But the ambiance that the pop tune provided stings through the heart. Thanks to Chris Daughtry and his band, “Home” will always be remembered a single from an American Idol alumni.
(Season 11/Winner): A follow up to “Home”, his debut single post idol is another hit. with”Gone Gone Gone”, Phillip Phillips‘s success is not a fluke but rather a good call of how he transcends to viewers really well. The song was just catchy, infectious, now and relevant. It was a perfect theme for a good ride and the beat is memorable and will never be.. gone, gone, gone. Ha.
(Season 8/Winner): Originally by The Script but I heard they never really released it as a single, rather, season 8 champ Kris Allen released his version of the song as part of his debut album and was his debut single as well. The end thought? While it was a wordy tune, it was also a more nuanced take and polished and beautifully infectious.
(Season 6/Winner): With an assistance from Chris Brown, Jordin Sparks had a hit that hit the whole world in a hypnotizing LSS-inducing single. You just can’t help but sing along with “No Air”. It was a gorgeous R&B hit from them and the collaboration perfectly harmonizes from the two singers. The song elevated Jordin’s status.
(Season 1/Winner): Still holds the title of the best track of non-coronation songs from an American Idol alumni. Save from Phillip Phillips‘ “Home” because that song was just simply awesome, but Kelly Clarkson‘s “Since U Been Gone” is a delicious pop gem. It was solid vocally, gorgeously written and a strong statement from the Queen of Idol. End of note.