'American Idol' roundup: Phillip Phillips releases song previews, Jessica Sanchez goes 'Glee,' and 'Skyfall' gets a killer cover by... Syesha?
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, that’s what we’re here for!
Here’s what’s going on with your favorite American Idol stars:
PHILLIP PHILLIPS: The reigning champ’s album, The World From the Side of the Moon, won’t be available until Nov. 19, but 90-second previews of all the album’s songs have surfaced on iTunes. Though many of them reflect Phillips’ personal style while on Idol, there are more than a few that resemble his double-platinum smash “Home.” Come back to EW for a review of the disc later this week, but in the meantime, check out these snippets below. (“Gone, Gone, Gone” is my personal fave.)
JESSICA SANCHEZ: Season 11’s runner-up has a busy January in her future. Not only will she start filming her arc on Glee, but she tells The Hollywood Reporter that she’s expecting to release her debut single that month as well, with an album to follow in March or April. She says the sound of the disc will be “more like urban R&B.” So long as it isn’t filled with tracks like “Fairytale,” we’ll be happy.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD: The CMA host extraordinaire, whose latest album Blown Away has sold over 900,000 copies this year, sings a song with Aerosmith on their brand new album called “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You.” Give it a listen below.
KRISTY LEE COOK: Season 7’s resident punching bag never won over the judges, but she’s maintained notoriety on the Versus Network’s hunting program Goin’ Country. Now, though, she’s getting back to the music. Cook has signed with Broken Bow Records, the same label as Jason Aldean, who just so happens to be producing her upcoming album. Her first single with the label is “Airborne Ranger Infantry,” a patriotic song she co-wrote based on her father’s poems about fighting in Vietnam. A pretty video for the track hit the web this weekend:
SCOTTY McCREERY: As of Oct. 16, Season 10’s champ has a new album out in stores called Christmas with Scotty McCreery, and it’s selling pretty well thus far. Not at the same levels as his debut Clear As Day, which moved 1.1 million copies, but that’s to be expected as this is a novelty disc. Though it’s sold just 75,000 after three weeks, it’s projected to increase substantially this week — and likely every week that follows in the lead-up to Christmas. It should become a solid little hit. When McCreery isn’t singing carols, though, he’s repping Bojangles. Watch his new commerical for the fried chicken joint below:
BROOKE WHITE: McCreery isn’t the only Idol getting in the Christmas spirit. Season 7 warbler (and new mom) Brooke White has a just-released collection called Brooke White Christmas out on iTunes as well. It’s a breezy, ethereal, West coast take on some holiday standards. (Download it HERE)
NEXT PAGE: James Durbin, Kris Allen, Jason Castro, Colton Dixon, Syesha (née Mercado) and Paul McDonald
JAMES DURBIN: The Season 10 rocker released a preview of his take on the Elvis Presley Christmas song “Santa Claus is Back in Town,” which will be available at iTunes on Nov. 13.
KRIS ALLEN: And wouldya look at that? Another Idol alum getting all Christmas-y! The Season 8 winner is wasting no time getting new music out there after his split with RCA. Allen tweeted the cover of his upcoming Christmas EP, saying, “This will be coming soon.”
JASON CASTRO: The dread-locked Season 7 contestant has made a nice career for himself in the Christian music world (as has Season 5 alum Mandisa, whose latest disc What If We Were Real has sold 225,000 copies so far). He recently released a video for his new single “Only A Mountain” (below) and is currently on the Winter Jam tour with chart-topper TobyMac.
COLTON DIXON: The Season 11 rocker is also entering the Christian scene. His debut album is scheduled to come out in January, and he will hit the road with veteran band Third Day for their Miracle Tour, which kicks off in February. Dixon’s first official single “You Are” (below) is impacting Christian radio now.
SYESHA: Remember Syesha? (Apparently, she dropped the Mercado.) The Season 7 contestant was treated like a total non-factor during her run on the show despite delivering stunning (if somewhat soulless) vocals each week. Yet she made it all the way to third place (behind David Cook and David Archuleta), becoming the veritable Wonder Woman of her season. In the years since, Syesha traveled the country as Deena Jones in a touring production of Dreamgirls, and it seems that the years of performing experience have done her well — at least based on this utterly gorgeous cover of Adele’s “Skyfall” that she posted this morning. Those notes! It’s a totally awesome, totally random surprise.
PAUL McDONALD: Season 10’s raspy-voiced charmer and his wife, Twilight star Nikki Reed, released a five song EP on Oct. 29. The couple (who also share a duet on the new Twilight soundtrack) have produced a few videos for their songs, including this one, released back in March:
Which Idol contestants do you still have on your radar? Which ones are you glad to see sticking around in the industry? What do you think of all this new music? And are you as excited for this new season of Idol as I am?