2013 in Review

2013 in Review: Best Idol songs

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Here are my picks for the best 10 songs of 2013 from former American Idol contestants.

And, wow, that was tough.

Tough because former contestants delivered lots of great music in 2013.

Many, perhaps more than ever before, released singles independent of albums.

My rules for determining which songs were eligible were pretty simple.

The song must have been released in 2013 (which, for example, eliminated hit singles from 2012 albums from Phillip Phillips and Carrie Underwood). I did not consider Christmas songs (go ahead and call me “Scrooge”). And I limited it to one song per artist, which just seemed fair.

So here’s my top 10.

If your favorite Idol song didn’t make the list, let me know by commenting below.

Head here for my picks for top five Idol videos and here for the top five Idol albums of 2013.

And to check out all the music released by Idols in 2013, follow this link.

10. Jessica Sanchez, “Gentlemen”

A catchy dance tune from the debut album by Season 11′s runner-up on Idol. And, hey, a dance tune that’s age appropriate and delivers a positive message. Great job, Jessica.

9. James Durbin, “Parachute”

This sounds more pop-rock than metal from the Season 10 contestant who begged fans to just “give metal a chance,” but it’s a great start for a sophomore album — “Celebrate” — that’s due out in April.

8. David Cook, “Laying Me Low”

Here’s hoping 2014 brings more new music from the Season 7 champ, because this single, delivered in April and performed on Idol, again proved he’s capable of delivering great music, major label deal or not.

7. Crystal Bowersox, “Til the Whiskey’s Gone”

Talk about a great sing-along chorus … the Season 9 runner-up delivers one with this tune. It was far from the only highlight on her sophomore album, “All That for This,” which came out in March.

6. Mandisa, “Overcomer”

Probably the best song from Mandisa four albums deep into her successful Christian music career. And nominated for a pair of 2014 Grammys — best contemporary Christian music song and the best gospel/contemporary Christian music performance.

5. Brooke White, “Sun Up, Sun Down”

Brooks sings, musical sunshine typically follows. That’s certainly true of this song from the Hallmark movie “A Banner 4th of July” in which she starred. The iTunes version features wonderful harmonies from co-star Christian Campbell.

4. Elise Testone, “I Will Not Break”

Her shining moment on Idol was a cover of “Whole Lotta Love.” So what does Elise deliver for a debut single? This hauntingly beautiful ballad. It has me looking forward to “In This Life,” the debut album she plans to release in 2014.

3. Fantasia, “Get It Right”

From the first time I listened to Fantasia’s album, this was my favorite track, the one on which she absolutely cuts loose with that fantastic voice. So I wasn’t surprised to learn it’s been nominated for a Grammy for best traditional R&B performance.

Head here to listen; the song includes explicit lyrics.

2. Lee DeWyze, “Fight”

Lee’s sophomore album, “Frames,” is loaded with great songs. This one kicks off the album in brilliant fashion. I wonder how different things would be for Lee right now if “Frames” was his post-Idol debut album.

1. Kellie Pickler, “Someone Somewhere Tonight”

My iTunes library tells me I played this song more often than any other released by an Idol in 2013, and country music isn’t even my favorite genre. But I consider this the best vocal yet after four albums from Kellie. A beautiful version of a great song.

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