Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Top 20 American Idol Contestants

American Idol comes to an end in 2016.  Like an athlete that has hung on to long, it should have ended years earlier.  So, expect the nostalgia machine to kick in to high gear as the show nears its end date.  Below I've listed my Top 20 AI contestants.  I'm able to do this because I've watched every season.  Through good and bad, somehow I've managed to hang in there.  American Idol is certainly a divicive topic among music fans, artists, critics, etc.  Bur I always approached it as purely entertainment,  not as a platform for finding the next Rock Hall of Famer.

1.  Kelly Clarkson - The first Idol winner.  She's managed to put together a solid recording career peppered with at least one classic single "Since U Been Gone", some other great songs and a few solid albums.

2.  Carrie Underwood - Winner of Season 4.  Similar career to Clarkson's.  A Country superstar, she's also crosses over to the Pop charts. Dabbled in acting in 2013, playing lead role in a live TV adaptation of Sound of Music.  May end up having a longer stay on the charts because Country fans are more loyal than Pop ones.

3.  Jennifer Hudson - Everyone knows the story.  Finished in 7th place during season three. But her career didn't suffer from an early exit.  Has become more known for her acting roles than her recording career. Won an Academy Award for her role in Dreamgirls.  Even though her albums haven't been as successful as they could be, her powerful voice has made her a presence at many functions and music shows.

4.  Adam Lambert - Season eight runner-up.  Like Hudson, a big vocalist.  Lambert's records haven't been big hits, but it's his tours with the remaining members of Queen that have kept his profile high over the years.

5.  Chris Daughtry - Fourth place in season five.  Daughtry has managed to be the only breakout Rock singer to have many hits on the Pop charts.

6.  Fantasia Barrino - The Season 3 winner has had mixed recording success, but I see her name on the Urban AC charts quite often.  And she's appeared on Broadway.

7,  Jordin Sparks - Season 6 winner had early success on the charts, but her career has been quiet recently.  One of the best Idol vocalists.

8.  Ruben Studdard - The Sesaon 2 winner has also had a choppy musical life.  And like Fantasia, I see his name on the Urban AC charts.  His big-hearted presence means he'll always have a loyal following.

9.  Clay Aiken -   And the Season 2 runner-up.  Aiken is actually more famous than Studdard, and had the bigger record sales,  Gets extra points for running as a Democrat for the House in North Carolina in 2014  (he lost).

10.  Katharine McPhee - Season 5 runner-up.  Not much recording success, but has a nice acting career going.

11,  Kellie Pickler - Finished 6th in season 5.  Has had some Country hits, and won Dancing With The Stars in 2013.

12.  Ellliott Yamin - Here's a name you don't hear anymore.  One of my Idol faves.  Third in season 5.  Actually had some success after Idol, but hasn't been heard from in recent years.

13.  Phillip Phillips - The season 11 winner is remembered for sticking to his image throughout that year.  Had a couple of hits after Idol.

14.  Melinda Doolittle - Finished third in Season 6.  Well-liked singer who should have had a bigger post-Idol career.

15.  Bo Bice - Season 4 runner-up.  Bice brought a Southern Rock vibe to Idol that was unique at the time.  Records for his own label, and tours with Blood, Sweat & Tears.

16.  Constantine Maroulis - Fourth place in Season 6.  Remembered for his big productions during that season.  No hits, but has had Broadway success.

17.  Crystal Bowersox - Season 9 runner-up.  Has made some good albums and is working on Broadway related projects.

18.  Michael Johns - Finished eight in Season 7.  This Australian was one of Idol's well-liked singers, which is why his early elimination was one of the show's big shockers.  Johns died in 2014 at age 35.

19.  David Cook -  Winner of Season 7,  Cook had early post-Idol hits.    Not much success recently, even though he released an album in 2015.

20. Kris Allen - The ultimate Idol nice guy winner (season 8).  Who didn't like Kris Allen?  Mixed post-Idol success, but still puts out records.

Suggestions, comments, etc.

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