Over the past 11 years American Idol has played host to 133 different finalists vying for a shot at belting out a coronation anthem at the Nokia.
As such, keeping track of all the goings-on of American Idol alumni can be a daunting task — but hey, it’s a whole lot more fun than speculating about the judging panel lineup.
Here’s what’s going on with your favorite American Idol stars:
KELLY CLARKSON: The best news of the week is for the original Idol, whose fifth album Stronger was certified platinum for shipments of 1 million copies. Driven by the success of “Mr. Know It All” and the album’s smash hit title track — not to mention Clarkson’s always-viral concert covers (Watch some HERE and HERE) — Stronger reached a sales level that Clarkson couldn’t achieve with her 2009 disc All I Ever Wanted, which included the hit “My Life Would Suck Without You” and sold just under 950,000 copies total.
While Stronger has, at this point, sold less than that (929,000 copies), it’s tally will overtake All I Ever‘s sales total in a few weeks. Not many artists can say they’re selling better in 2012 than they were in 2009, so it’s a testament to Clarkson’s widespread appeal and true talent that she’s remained a viable pop (and increasingly country) commodity.
KRIS ALLEN: Things were less rosy for the Season 8 champ, who parted ways with his label RCA after the under performance of his sophomore album Thank You Camellia, which sold only 15,622 in its debut sales frame in May. (His 2008 self-titled first disc sold 346,000 total.)
“I thank [RCA] so much for everything that they did for me,” Allen said via WhoSay. “There are so many people there that contributed to my becoming the artist that I am and I will miss them all.” As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Allen has signed with new management. Allen is the latest winner dropped from RCA. His exit comes less than a year after Season 7’s David Cook and Season 9’s Lee DeWyze split with the label, as well. Interscope took over the Idol kids in Season 10.
TAYLOR HICKS: In happier news, the Season 5 winner inked a one year extension through 2013 to his residency at Bally’s Las Vegas, where he has been performing nightly this summer. “Taylor was enormously successful in his first headlining engagement here at Bally’s this summer,” said Bally’s President David Hoenemeyer in a statement. “We look forward to continued success here and at some of our other properties.” The new deal will go into effect on Oct. 17. Not bad for the king of the Soul Patrol!
SCOTTY MCCREERY: The Season 10 winner, whose debut album Clear As Day sold over 1.1 million copies (Side note: It’s astounding to me than people often say Idol can no longer produce actual chart performers with those kinds of sales), is prepping to release his holiday followup, Christmas with Scotty McCreery, which hits stores Oct. 16. He recently revealed the album cover.
CASEY ABRAMS: The jazzy Season 10 standout, who’s signed to Concord Records, released a music video for the new single “Simple Life.” Check it out:
COLTON DIXON: The God-fearing Season 11 contestant, who also recently got signed, dropped his new Christian contemporary single “You Are” on the radio last week:
Which Idol contestants do you still have on your radar? Which ones are you glad to see sticking around in the industry? And will The Voice or The X-Factor ever produce legitimate recording stars the way that Idol has?
For more Idol banter: