2012 The Year in Review

2012 in Review: The best Idol songs

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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.

Kelly Clarkson's Stronger was the best Idol song of 2012.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.

Related Posts


  1. Pastel (@pastelpastel) January 10, 2013 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    I really love Broken by David Archuleta and Jon Hunt and its message. Melodically and lyrically, very moving. One of David’s sponsored charities is Invisible Children and this song was inspired by the charity.

  2. Sharon M. January 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm -  Reply

    I really love the song created by David Archuleta and Jon Hunt. It is full of heartfelt emotion…and delivered only as David can….straight from his heart. Even though David is gone on a mission, he is a gift that keeps on giving.

  3. djafan January 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm -  Reply

    I love David Archuleta’s BEGIN. album. His vocals are incredible but Broken is my favorite. The beautiful melodies composed by David blew me away. Thank you for highlighting this gem.

  4. Marlie January 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm -  Reply

    Love David Archuleta’s “Broken” with that yearning falsetto. He really can cover a heck of a range. The boy with the golden voice has grown into a young man with carazee vocal chords.

    Loved Haily and so i enjoyed this song, above. Also, thanks for posting Michael Lynche’s – I hadn’t heard it, but love that funky sound from him.

  5. Trish January 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm -  Reply

    Broken is my favorite song off Begin by far. I wish it had been a mainstream release so it could have gone to radio. But then of course David would have had to stick around to promote it and the whole point of the album was to keep us happy while he was gone.

  6. Gwen January 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm -  Reply

    BROKEN is one amazing song, brings me to tears each time I hear it.. I can’t wait to hear David sing this live when he returns in 2014. All of the cover songs on David’s BEGIN.album are so wonderful. His Everybody Hurt’s video is another gem.
    He is so special to have made this for his fans just the few days before he left on his Mission. His fans will all be here in DA2014.

  7. Jonerz January 10, 2013 at 9:05 pm -  Reply

    This was a great year for music from all the Idol alum. I’m happy to see you included David Archuleta on the list for “Broken.” It’s a beautiful, touching song that truly showcases David’s phenomenal singing talent. There aren’t too many artists that can deliver a song with such tenderness.

  8. goldenjane January 11, 2013 at 11:36 am -  Reply

    The song “BROKEN” by David Archuleta is amazing. He is a amazing singer and he is missed so much. Fans are waiting for DA2014.Beautiful song.

  9. Virginia Banker January 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm -  Reply

    I love any thing that David Archuleta sings. But his album Begin is the best of the best. As for your list Broken and Everybody Hurts should be number one in my book. We all know the kind of artist and songs that make it in the good USA. If a good singer wants to make it they have to turn country or leave the states. Thank you for putting Broken on your list.

  10. Vicky January 11, 2013 at 6:48 pm -  Reply

    This reminds me why I love David’s voice so much. I miss him more than I knew.

  11. Mb January 12, 2013 at 1:04 am -  Reply

    David Archuleta’s song “Broken” is a song by a truly talented artist and written with such heartfelt meaning,David’s amazing vocals on this song leaves me speechless and in tears every time I listen to it.

  12. RD January 12, 2013 at 5:12 am -  Reply

    David’s “Broken” is amazing. Actually most of the songs on the album Begin, are terrific and truly do the original artists’ songs justice.
    Another of David’s treats to his fans before he left on his Mission is the OPM from the Phillipines …. Forevermore. When it comes to singing songs with emotion, meaning, and true vocal quality, most singers on this list pale in comparison.

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