Music Monday: Reality TV Alums

There was a time I used to love American Idol, before everything about it started to annoy me. These days, The Voice is my singing competition of choice, but even I have to admit that them doing two seasons year is quickly burning me out. But you know what? At the end of the day, you can’t deny some of the talent that comes out of these TV singing competitions. Just two weeks ago, American Idol season 8 winner Kris Allen released his third album, Horizons, and it got me thinking about all the other alums who came out of Idol or Voice, whose career I still follow and music I still listen to.

  1. Kelly Clarkson, Sober – Too obvious to put Kelly in this list? Who cares? Let’s be real, it all started when Kelly won that first season of Idol and moved on to international success. It would be easy to put one of her massively successful singles, but instead, I’m going with my favourite Kelly song of all time.
  2. Kris Allen, In Time – As previously mentioned, the winner of American Idol season 8 just released a new album and “In Time” is one of my favourites off of it. People may have wanted to Adam Lambert to win that season, but I was a fan of Kris’ from the get-go and have absolutely loved everything he’s done since the show.
  3. Tessanne Chin, Count on My Love – I’ve loved The Voice from the beginning, but Tessanne’s album (which got released in June) is the first Voice winner’s album I’ve actually bought. She’s an amazing and unique talent, and the album does feel like its an extension of the person you met on the show.
  4. Chris Cauley, She Can’t Take My Love – Chris appeared on the second season of The Voice and immediately impressed me with his rendition of “Grenade.” Though his time on the show was short-lived, I was so impressed by his voice that I continued to follow his music. So glad I did and helped fund (through Kickstarter of course) his EP My Turn which was released last year.
  5. Dia Frampton, Walk Away – She may have been known as one half of the sister duo Meg & Dia prior to being on The Voice, but Dia made a name for herself and took it to second place in the first season. Her album Red was one of my favourites in 2011, with its eclectic mix that still managed to personify Dia as an artist.
  6. Will Champlin, Eye of the Pyramid – Will came in third place in season 5 of The Voice, and that was after being stolen twice during the run of the show! His album Borrowing Trouble was released in June and like Tessanne’s album, it’s what you would have expected from him if you were a fan of his during the show.
  7. Jordis Unga, Hold on Me – I first remember Jordis from when she competed on a show called Rock Star: INXS and one of my favourite songs she did on that show was “The Man Who Sold the World” by David Bowie – that was 2005. Flash forward to 2012, where Jordis re-appears on my radar, appearing on season 2 of The Voice. Like Chris Cauley, I backed her Kickstarter, and “Hold on Me” is one of the songs that is featured on her album A Letter from Home.
  8. David Cook, Life on the Moon – I think it’s safe to say that David kind of ruined how I watch American Idol, in the BEST way possible. That is to say, season 7 of Idol was a game changer and that’s because David regularly remade the songs he performed on the show so they didn’t sound exactly like the original. I mean, who can forget his rendition of “Always Be My Baby“? Classic. Since then, he’s released two full albums and I actually wanted to include his song “Laying Me Low” which is a little bit more recent, but because Spotify doesn’t have it, I picked my favourite song from his first album.
  9. Tony Lucca, All My Friends – Tony had a pretty decent career/following before going on The Voice. I wish I could say I’ve followed his career for a long time but The Voice really was my true introduction to his music (I only knew of him previously as a former Mickey Mouse Club member). He released an EP under Adam Levine’s 222 Records label, but has now gone back to his indie roots and has released another EP Drawing Board on his own.
  10. Melinda Doolittle, You’re the Reason (U.R.Y) – One of the best talents to come out of Idol and she needs to get more recognition. Melinda is simply amazing and this song, from the album of the same name, features her flawless vocals over a modern R&B sound that still has a little old school feel to it. So in other words, it’s awesome.
  11. Ben Hazlewood, Twice – Ben surprised me on the first season of The Voice Australia and it continued post-show. I was incredibly impressed by his EP Loveless which turned out to be a very solid collection of pop songs.
  12. Diana Rouvas, If We Never Said Hello – I feel like it’s a pattern with me, following the careers of more non-winners than actual show winners, but that’s because there’s just so many talented singers who deserve recognition. Diana is another alum from the first season of The Voice Australia, who has such a soulful yet cool voice. I’ve got one of her original songs here, but may I suggest you check out her rendition of Beyonce’s “Love on Top”? Just as good, if not better than the original (yeah, I said it.)
  13. Carrie Underwood, Undo It – I wasn’t a huge fan of Carrie’s, thought she was a great singer on Idol and she deserved to win, I just wasn’t that big on country music. I slowly became a fan after the release of “Before He Cheats” and by the time she released her third album Play On, which features “Undo It” I was a convert. I still can’t do the REALLY COUNTRY songs, but give me a country song with a rock edge and we’re good.

 

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Music Monday: Current Obsessions

I love the feeling of hearing new music; there’s just something so exciting about it. While there are a lot of songs on the radio I really can’t stand, there are quite a few radio hits and a few songs from recently released albums that I’m currently obsessed about.

  1. Keira Knightley, Lost Stars – It brings me absolute pleasure to see Begin Again (fka Can A Song Save Your Life?) finally get released and people loving it. I saw it at TIFF last year and just fell in love with both the movie and the songs, so it was an excruciating wait to get my hands on the soundtrack. There’s actually two versions of Lost Stars, the other sung by Adam Levine, but surprisingly I love Keira’s version more. There’s a sort of pure quality to the mix and her voice, that I really love.
  2. Nikki Yanofsky, Necessary Evil – Nikki Yanofsky is a Canadian talent, whom you may remember as the voice of the official Olympic song for Vancouver 2010. Regardless of that fact, she just released a new album with the help of the legendary Quincy Jones. This song got me right away when I first heard it because I immediately started picturing an Argentine Tango being choreographed to it. [The barometer of how much I like a song now depends on whether I can picture choreography to it…despite not being a dancer.]
  3. Ed Sheeran, Don’t – You thought I was gonna pick Sing, with all its Justin Timberlake/Justified inflections, which I still love but I’m obsessed with Don’t. It samples a Lucy Pearl (remember them?!) song and just has this awesome R&B groove to it.
  4. Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, Problem – That 90s R&B throwback sound with the horns? LOVE.
  5. Tessanne Chin, Everything Reminds Me of You – Tessanne’s recently released debut album is actually the first Voice winner album I’ve bought. This song in particular seems made to fit in with Top 40 radio in the same vein as Emeli Sande’s songs, which is part of the reason why I really like it. If you listen to the other songs on her album, you can really hear her Jamaican influences mix well with the pop/R&B sound. Everything feels authentic and doesn’t feel like it was haphazardly put together.
  6. Maroon 5, Maps – I was a little bit wary about the song because I feel like Overexposed (their previous album) was playing too much as mainstream pop. There were still some songs that I really loved, but the album as a whole didn’t do it for me. Maps though, is a little bit more true to form for the band; it has a quality that plays well to Top 40 radio but still feels more decidedly Maroon 5 than most of Overexposed. Jesse Carmichael being back certainly helps, as does the fact that it doesn’t sound so Ryan Tedder-y despite him having a hand in producing/writing the song.
  7. Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake, Love Never Felt So Good – Let’s be real, this song just feels good.
  8. Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars – Let it be said that even when Coldplay is experimenting with their sound, their songs still sound distinctively theirs. You can tell it’s a Coldplay song and this one’s no exception.
  9. Hayden Panettiere, Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet – OK so this is kinda old but for some reason, I can’t stop listening to it. It’s the right amount of country with a little bit of an edge that I seem to gravitate towards.
  10. John Mayer, XO – John Mayer doing a cover of Beyonce’s XO and it is awesome. After two very folk-ish albums, him doing this cover just made me think: Where has this John Mayer been for the past 5 years?! It sounds like the JM I used to know and love! Will he keep this up for the next album? I don’t know but I hope so!