Dozens upon dozens of songs were released by former Idol contestants in 2012.
Some became mega-hits. Others, unfortunately, went largely unnoticed.
So as I put together my 2012 Idol in Review blogs, I decided to compile two top 10 lists of favorite songs.
First, the boring list. It’s the one that contains all the songs you’d expect to see on such a list.
And it would go like this: 1) “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson; 2) “Home” by Phillip Phillips; 3) “Two Black Cadillacs” by Carrie Underwood; 4) “Trespassing” by Adam Lambert; 5) “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood; 6) “Crying on a Suitcase” by Casey James; 7) “Never Close Your Eyes” by Adam Lambert; 8) “Vision of Love” by Kris Allen; 9) “Tough” by Kellie Pickler; 10) “Georgia Peaches” by Lauren Alaina.
I call that the boring list because you’re probably already familiar with most of those songs.
The second list?
I decided to compile a Top 10 of my favorite Idol tunes that didn’t make the mainstream. The only criteria: the song needed to be released in 2012, as a single, on an EP or on an album. And I restricted the list to one song per artist.
You probably aren’t familiar with all the tunes that follow in these days when lots of music lovers download the hot songs and ignore the albums.
But it’s the list I’d rather highlight — 10 more obscure Idol songs that deserved to be hits … or at least heard. Repeatedly.
So here goes …
1. Megan Joy: “Can’t Bring Me Down”
I love this little pick-me-up, pop tune, one of a couple of really great originals from Megan’s self-titled album. The iTunes version is even better than the one you’ll hear below. The song is proof that not everyone is at their best singing covers on Idol.
2. Kris Allen: “Out Alive”
I liked Kris’ second album (“Thank You Camelia”) a whole lot better than his first. It sounds like truer Kris and less Idol meddling. Anyway, this track is one of the album’s best. Kris must like it too. He’s now traveling across the country on The Out Alive Tour.
3. Crystal Bowersox: “Get Me Out”
Explain to me again how this young woman lost to Lee DeWyze on Season 9 of American Idol. I prefer to pretend it didn’t happen. That it was all just a bad dream. This track is on an EP of 5 pre-Idol songs Crystal released in late May. Album number two should be out this spring.
4. Haley Reinhart: “Hit the Ground Runnin'”
I’ll never figure out why “Free” was the first single from Haley’s debut album, “Listen Up.” This would have been a much better choice, with Haley’s sultry vocals front and center. In the age of Adele, it surely could have found a spot on pop radio.
5. David Archuleta: “Broken”
Before leaving on a two-year mission with his church, David recorded an album called “Begin.” This is the album’s sole original, and a wonderful reminder of why David won legions of still faithful fans on Season 7 of American Idol.
6. Paul McDonald and Nikki Reed: “Now That I’ve Found You”
This is the version of the song that appears on “The Best Part” EP, released by Paul and Nikki in late October. Lovely tune, and reminiscent of Paul’s best work with the Grand Magnolias and Hightide Blues. Hey, actress Nikki sounds fine, too.
7. Siobhan Magnus: “Big Collapse”
One of a couple of killer tracks from the magnificent screamer’s debut album, “Moonbaby.” Another is “Black Doll,” which made this list last year. Love the spoken ending, which is apparently where the album title was lifted from. Siobhan will be fronting a new rock band this year.
8. Michael “Big Mike” Lynche: “Crazy Gina”
The opening track from Big Mike’s debut album is a funky delight, about an obsessed girlfriend who just keeps getting “meaner, meaner.” Hint to Michael: The next album could use a few less ballads and a little more of this kind of “crazy.”
9. Carrie Underwood: “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun”
Carrie might tackle “darker” territory on her fourth album, but this ditty about a trigger-happy Cupid armed with love grenades isn’t one of those songs. It is nearly 4 minutes of country fun, with some great guitar work from Brad Paisley thrown in for good measure.
10. Casey Abrams: “Midnight Girl”
There are several really great songs on Casey Abrams’ debut album, but this ballad is my favorite of the non-singles, a song that grew on me with repeated listens, the song I’d find myself humming along to whenever I played the album.
Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of Year in Review blogs. You can also check out …
The year’s best and worst on the singing shows.
The best Idol videos of 2012 (I’ve embedded all the rest, too.)
The best Idol albums of 2012.
Coming tomorrow: Special honors for a deserving few.