Tag Archives: American Idol

TOP TEN: Vital Idols

Saving the best for last.

Saving the best for last.

It’s end of the Idol as we know it, and we feel fine about reminiscing and playing our favorite songs from the artists that were a part of one of the most successful television shows of all-time. For 15 seasons now on FOX, beginning in June 2002, we’ve watched new talent emerge on stage and dialed our little hearts out (and texted and clicked a few buttons on the web) to see if our pick was going to move onto the next round of competition and, eventually, win the prize of being crowned the nation’s idol. Like any program, an eventual decrease in ratings and, in this case, slumping record sales from winners, began to defeat the purpose of it. It shouldn’t be a surprise that its latest season will be its last (at least, for now.) Still, you can’t devalue the program for what it did in its heyday. It was a giant and one that will be remembered forever.

While the show’s last premiere begins tonight at 8PM Eastern on FOX, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and find out which American Idol finalists ranked as the top ten from the archives of Adam’s Top 40. (These results may change, obviously, as a few contestants remain on my listing as of last week.) Since September 2002, when the first song from a finalist made my chart, 27 performers from the show have landed at least one top 40 single on my chart, and they’re responsible for 88 top 40 singles in total (with more to come, I’d hope.) That’s a whole lot of top 40 property over hundreds of weeks in the last 13+ years. So, who’s my top Idol finalist when it comes all those weekly points? Check it out below.

Biggest hits are determined by year-end point totals. Singles marked with a ** represent those entries that garnered an act’s top point total, but not the highest peak in the top 40.

Lee DeWyze
10. LEE DEWYZE
Season: Nine, winner
Top 40 hits: 1
Top 10 hits: 1
Biggest hit: “Sweet Serendipity” (#5, 2011)

David Archuleta
09. DAVID ARCHULETA
Season: Seven, second place
Top 40 hits: 2
Top 10 hits: 1
Biggest hit: “Crush” (#5, 2008)

Bo Bice
08. BO BICE
Season: Four, second place
Top 40 hits: 1
Top 10 hits: 1
Biggest hit: “The Real Thing” (#1 for three weeks, 2006)

Elliott Yamin
07. ELLIOTT YAMIN
Season: Five, third place
Top 40 hits: 4
Top 10 hits: 1
Biggest hit: “Wait For You” (#5, 2007)

Clay Aiken
06. CLAY AIKEN
Season: Two, second place
Top 40 hits: 5
Top 10 hits: 2
Biggest hit: “Invisible” (#5 for two weeks, 2003)

Phillip Phillips
05. PHILLIP PHILLIPS
Season: Twelve, winner
Top 40 hits: 4
Top 10 hits: 3
Top 5 hits: 3
Number ones: 0
Biggest hit: “Gone, Gone, Gone” (#2 for two weeks, 2013)

Adam Lambert
04. ADAM LAMBERT
Season: Eight, second place
Top 40 hits: 6
Top 10 hits: 4
Top 5 hits: 1
Number ones: 1
Biggest hit: “Whataya Want From Me” (#1 for two weeks, 2010)

David Cook
03. DAVID COOK
Season: Seven, winner
Top 40 hits: 5
Top 10 hits: 3
Top 5 hits: 3
Number ones: 2
Biggest hit: “Light On” (#1 for five weeks, 2008/2009)

Chris Daughtry
02. CHRIS DAUGHTRY/DAUGHTRY
Season: Five, fourth place
Top 40 hits: 13
Top 10 hits: 8
Top 5 hits: 5
Number ones: 2
Biggest hit: “It’s Not Over” (#5 for five weeks**, 2007)

Singles charted:
“It’s Not Over” (#5)
“Over You” (#9)
“Feels Like Tonight” (#11)
“What About Now” (#3)
“No Surprise” (#1 for two weeks)
“Life After You” (#5)
“September” (#7)
“Photograph” (Santana featuring Chris Daughtry) (#17)
“Crawling Back To You” (#1 for two weeks)
“Outta My Head” (#26)
“Start Of Something Good” (#29)
“Waiting For Superman” (#6)
“Battleships” (#29)

Kelly Clarkson
01. KELLY CLARKSON
Season: One, winner
Top 40 hits: 25
Top 10 hits: 18
Top 5 hits: 11
Number ones: 3
Biggest overall hit: “Don’t You Wanna Stay” (Jason Aldean featuring Kelly Clarkson) (#1 for four weeks)
Biggest main-credited hit: “Because Of You” (#1 for three weeks, 2005)

Singles charted:
“A Moment Like This” (#2)
“Miss Independent” (#3)
“Low” (#22)
“The Trouble With Love Is” (#4)
“Breakaway” (#3)
“Since U Been Gone” (#7)
“Behind These Hazel Eyes” (#1 for four weeks)
“Because Of You” (#1 for three weeks)
“Gone” (#11)
“Walk Away” (#7)
“Never Again” (#15)
“My Life Would Suck Without You” (#2)
“I Do Not Hook Up” (#11)
“Already Gone” (#2)
“All I Ever Wanted” (#28)
“Don’t You Wanna Stay” (Jason Aldean featuring Kelly Clarkson) (#1 for four weeks)
“Mr. Know It All” (#3)
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (#2)
“Dark Side” (#16)
“Catch My Breath” (#9)
“People Like Us” (#6)
“Underneath The Tree” (#12)
“Heartbeat Song” (#9)
“Invincible” (#7)
“Piece By Piece” (#12+)

Remember to watch tonight’s premiere of American Idol as a part of its two-night premiere at 8PM Eastern on FOX. Follow PGTC by clicking the tab below, or click the “Get Social!” page to find us on social media.

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Phillip Phillips – “Raging Fire”

He didn't start the "Fire".

He didn’t start the “Fire”.

Burning onto the scene this week is the latest from singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips. “Raging Fire” is the first single from Phillips’s forthcoming second studio album, title TBA, which is due later this spring. It was written by Phillips himself and produced by Gregg Wattenberg, who also produced the major of the singer’s debut effort, The World From The Side Of The Moon. It goes to both digital services and radio today, and officially goes for AAA radio adds on the 17th. Look for the former American Idol winner to return to the show that crowned him back in 2012 with a live performance of the song on Thursday night.

(Listen to “Raging Fire”) — (Download “Raging Fire” on iTunes)

“RAGING FIRE” (3:45)

[Verse 1]
We are dead to rights, morning rays
We are thick and thin ’til our last days
So hold me close and I’ll surrender to your heart
You know how to give and how to take
You see every hope I locked away
So pull me close and surrender to my heart

[Bridge]
If the flame goes out tonight
Yeah, we’ll live until we die

[Chorus]
So c’mon c’mon c’mon
Won’t you turn my soul into a raging fire?
C’mon c’mon c’mon
‘Til we lose control into a raging fire
Into a raging fire
C’mon c’mon c’mon
Won’t you turn my soul into a raging fire?

[Verse 2]
You know time will give and time will take
All the memories made will wash away
Even though we’ve changed, I’m still here with you
If you listen close, you’ll hear the sound
Of all the ghosts that bring us down
Hold on to what makes you feel
Don’t let go, it’s what makes you real

[Bridge]
If the flame goes out tonight
Yeah, we’ll live until we die

[Chorus]
So c’mon c’mon c’mon
Won’t you turn my soul into a raging fire?
C’mon c’mon c’mon
‘Til we lose control into a raging fire
Into a raging fire
C’mon c’mon c’mon
Won’t you turn my soul into a raging fire?

[Middle 8]
Let the world leave us behind, let your heart be next to mine
‘fore the flame goes out tonight, we can live until we die

C’mon c’mon c’mon
Won’t you turn my soul into a raging fire?

[Chorus]
So c’mon c’mon c’mon
Won’t you turn my soul into a raging fire?
C’mon c’mon c’mon
‘Til we lose control into a raging fire
Into a raging fire
C’mon c’mon c’mon
Won’t you turn my soul into a raging fire?

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Jessica Sanchez featuring Ne-Yo – “Tonight” (+ Lyrics)

Get down "Tonight".

“Tonight” is the night.

LISTEN/WATCH “Tonight”.

BUY “Tonight” on iTunes / BUY “Tonight” on AmazonMP3

Well, what do you know? A few days ago, I posted a preview of Jessica Sanchez‘s new single in a topic about forthcoming songs going to radio in the next month. I just mentioned some general details about the releases and that there was a video in production, which has now been filmed. I was thinking it would be out during the last week of the month. After all, her album is out April 30; I was figuring the label would at least give her song six weeks at radio before putting out a full-length release. Around 5:30 Eastern time, a promotional account for Interscope Records posted the song on their SoundCloud account, which was then sent to me by a friend. Several hundred views later, I guess the label made a little error. The song is no longer available to listen to. However, keep this link here handy just in case they decide to put it back up. So, now, let’s see what I can remember from hearing the song about five times.

It’s an electropop and dance song that’s very different for Sanchez, with her impressive range that usually shines on ballads and slower songs, yet it still showcases her vocals pretty well and stays familiar with Ne-Yo‘s sound shift as of recent. I wouldn’t be surprised if StarGate had some sort of credit for production on the track. It vaguely reminds me vocal-wise of several of his past singles: 2008’s “Closer” and his feature on Conor Maynard‘s “Turn Around” from last year. It’s a very sassy song in terms of lyrics, as evidenced by the chorus that Sanchez pounds out, totally shedding that clean-cut image of her. I’m not sure I necessarily believe her when she sings about a place “where the dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it”, but I guess it could be worse. Otherwise, it’s a pretty harmless song with a length of just under four minutes (if I remember correctly.) It has an intro of about twenty seconds. Just to let you know, I am expecting a video in outer space with dancers in spacesuits and aliens ready to pounce, so these two better not let me down. (OK, they probably will.)

“TONIGHT”
(The two trade off vocals in the song, so Jessica‘s part is italicized and Ne-Yo‘s part is bolded.)

[VERSE]
It seems like every day is something else
Another reason to be stressing

And you wanna run away, said you just wanna run away
You try to get out and enjoy yourself
But everybody’s acting so depressing

And you wanna run away, yeah, said you just wanna run away

[BRIDGE]
Though we ’bout to hop up on this rocket
Get up outta here

Go somewhere where nothing ever goes wrong
‘Bout to hop up on this rocket
Take to the sky
Everything is fine

[CHORUS]
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where the dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where there ain’t no drama and the party’s never ending
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh

[VERSE]
It seems like every day is something else
Another reason to be stressing

And you wanna run away, said you just wanna run away, woah-oh
You try to get out and enjoy yourself
But everybody’s acting so depressing

And you wanna run away, (oh oh), said you just wanna run away

[BRIDGE]
Though we ’bout to hop up on this rocket
Get up outta here
Go somewhere where nothing ever goes wrong
‘Bout to hop up on this rocket
Take to the sky
Everything is fine

[CHORUS]
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where the dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where there ain’t no drama and the party’s never ending
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh

[POST-CHORUS]
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
Pretty baby, babe
No oh-oh-oh
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
Oh oh-oh

[MIDDLE 8]
And we’ll be dancing through the moments
Got my girls ’round me, just grab your boys from Mars
And we’ll get away, go somewhere and just get right

[CHORUS]
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where the dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where there ain’t no drama and the party’s never ending
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh

Sanchez’s album will be released on April 30 through Interscope Records entitled Me, You and The Music. Enjoy!

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American Idle: Who’s Next On The Chopping Block?

Whataya want from them?

Whataya want from them?

2012 was another rough year from American Idol finalists, many of whom were dropped from their major record label deals due to underperforming releases. The list includes (but isn’t limited to) blues singer Haley Reinhart, country cutie Kellie Pickler, as well as lite rockin’ Season 8 champ Kris Allen. This now means five of the eleven winners from the show have now been dumped; some have signed to independent labels, but that’s resulted in very little. Since the past few years have been especially volatile for singers being dropped, 2013 won’t likely be any different, and so, I present to you a prediction post of who might get the boot from their labels in 2013. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be; it’s more of just the reasoning behind why one would be considered for a cancellation of their contract.

Now, some Idol contestants are obviously safe: Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, both winners of their respective seasons, have plenty of more big singles to go. Jennifer Hudson is obviously still in the spotlight because of her Weight Watchers success, and I think that will translate into at least another album or two, maybe another big movie. In short, she’s not going anywhere. Phillip Phillips, the reigning winner, is all over the radio with “Home”. He’ll continue to enjoy some hits… for now. However, I’m not sure about the rest of this crew. Let’s take a look at them by season.

SEASON 2
The only season 2 contestant of note that’s still on a major label is Clay Aiken, who has recorded a pair of albums for Decca Records after his drop from RCA. Tried And True made the top ten on the album chart, but barely passed 20,000 copies sold in its first week. Steadfast was released last year to capitalize on Aiken’s appearance on The Apprentice, but it faded away fast. He can’t get any sort of adult contemporary airplay anymore (unless it’s his 2003 hit, “Invisible”) and even though he still has a big fan base, they’re not buying his releases. He’ll likely get dropped and return to the theater. I would think that’s a more natural home for him at this point.

SEASON 3
Fantasia Barrino recently released a new single entitled “Lose To Win”, which samples “Nightshift” by the Commodores, and it’s really underwhelming, getting mixed fan reaction online. Plus, the whole scandal’s she been going through right now concerning an Instagram photo and a statement about the gay community isn’t exactly going down well. You know what’ll be going down well? Her sales. I bet you saw that one coming. Her album will do OK in the short-term, but I think this will probably be the last one for her, at least on RCA. She may try to sign to an independent label afterwards, but I don’t see anything coming of it.

SEASON 5
This is probably one of the more unlikely ones, but keep an eye out for a potential drop of Daughtry. Their last album, Break The Spell, was indeed certified Gold for shipments of 500,000 copies, but “Crawling Back To You” wasn’t a major hit (at least not to the effect that “It’s Not Over” and “Home” were) and the followup singles did even worse, becoming the band’s first mainstream releases to not crack the Hot 100. None of the three made the top 40 at CHR radio, which is a really bad sign as well. They may have one album left in them, or RCA could cut the cord after their tour with 3 Doors Down is over. It’s all up to them.

SEASON 6
Let’s be honest, Sparkle wasn’t the big hit a lot of people were expecting given the unfortunate passing of Whitney Houston. As it turns out, the name Jordin Sparks wasn’t selling tickets either. Sparks still has a recording contract with RCA, but her last release, “I Am Woman”, was a big failure despite a new sound for the singer. I think she’ll release an album this year with perhaps one mid-charting single and another that doesn’t do well at all, then, get the cut. I don’t think it’s worth keeping her around; the dance genre doesn’t fit her voice, and if that’s what is going to continue to be big on the charts, she’ll get lost in the shuffle.

SEASON 8
Alright, Glamberts, hold your horses for one second. I like both of Adam Lambert‘s albums. The singles, for the most part, did pretty well on my personal chart. However, radio doesn’t want him, and the general public, for the most part, can’t be fussed with him. Second album Trespassing debuted at #1 on the album chart. Impressive, fair enough. However, his first week sales were south of 80,000 copies and the album hasn’t been certified. Not great. “Better Than I Know Myself” was a minor Hot AC hit; “Never Close Our Eyes” did even less; the title track didn’t chart at any radio format. Boys and girls, it’s just not going to work out. Since the album’s promotion has ended, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an announcement from him early on in 2013. I can see him going to an exclusively dance label, but his success will be limited to the Dance/Club Play charts.

SEASON 9
Casey James has seen a few minor entries on the Country chart, but nothing really notable. Second single “Crying On A Suitcase” has been in the top 50 for nearly thirty weeks, so it’s likely to get pulled soon. He’s just no match for Carrie Underwood. He has a second album in the works at this point. He may get signed again to a smaller label and try getting ranked on the Music Row charts. Something might work out for him there.

SEASON 11
Alright, this is where it’s going to hurt. I see three additional people getting cut from last season. James Durbin is an obvious drop from Wind-up Records after his next album; “Love Me Bad” and “Stand Up” got some minor airplay, but nothing substantial. Nobody’s really interested in the Hinder/Nickelback-lite material at this point. Lauren Alaina still has a deal with 19/Mercury/Interscope and is in the process of finishing a second album, but considering how badly the three singles from her first album did on the Country survey, there’s no way she’ll make it to a third with the label. Lastly, Stefano Langone is still set to release a debut album with Hollywood Records in 2013, but does anyone even care about him anymore? “I’m On A Roll” dented the CHR top 50, but that was months ago. Next.

You may not necessarily agree with all of this, but just keep an open mind if one of these performers is a favorite of yours. Some things just weren’t meant to be, and this isn’t meant to be cruel. It’s just the music business nowadays. Too many music competition shows, not enough long-term superstars.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Phillip Phillips – “Gone, Gone, Gone”

Phillip Phillips: Over the Moon.

Phillip Phillips would probably tell you that he’s had an excellent 2012. After winning the latest season of American Idol back in May, his winning single, “Home”, became a huge and enduring hit in the States, still in the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. That position, no doubt, was bolstered by the song’s placement during The Olympics coverage about the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team. It’s only the second debut top ten single at Top 40 radio for an Idol winner, the first one being “A Moment Like This” way back in 2002 for first season winner and now superstar Kelly Clarkson. With its folky sound and simple lyric, it’s been one of the leaders during a shift at radio where more left-of-center songs are becoming crossover successes, Phillips being one of them, even if he’s coming from such a mainstream show. So many people can just relate to the song and wanting to be in a place that’s their own. In short, he’s more than just a white guy with a guitar. He can do that and make hit singles that stand out in the market.

The second single off of his recent top 5 album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, will go to radio in early 2013 and the selection is “Gone, Gone, Gone”. The song was co-written by three people: Derek Furhmann, former lead singer of the band Omnisoul (you may remember their minor single from 2005, “Waiting (Save Your Life)”), Todd Clark, and Gregg Wattenberg, who has also worked with Daughtry, Five For Fighting, O.A.R. and Train. It was also produced by Wattenberg.

Now, titles with the same word repeated three times can be tricky. Some have become big hits in the U.S. with a good amount of longevity: “Baby-Baby-Baby”, “Bye, Bye, Bye”, “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “Say, Say, Say”, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, etc. Some don’t and drop like a rock after they peak: “Blah, Blah, Blah”, “Money, Money, Money”, “Shame, Shame, Shame”, and the list goes on, but that’s a risk that Phillips is going to have to take with this release, which I’m sure he’s hoping ends up in the former category.

(By the way, trivia buffs, Phillips isn’t the first act to include the word “gone” three times in a song title that hit the top 40. Can you name the other? Find out the answer below. Hint: it has to do with the subtitle.)

Some critics have compared this second Phillips single to the band Mumford & Sons and their sound, which it certainly does vocally for the singer, but in terms of the arrangement, it sounds to me like more of something that the John Butler Trio would do. Whatever you compare it to, it’s a solid recording, combining some guitar, building drums, and a few faint strings in the background. Phillips sings about how he’ll be around even in times of danger, like “when enemies are at your door / I’ll carry you away from war.” Now, honestly, I’m not sure how much Phillips bench presses, but I wouldn’t advise picking up someone if they’re much heavier than he is. Nothing worse than throwing out your back, right? Phillips does make the ultimatum, however, that the girl has to do the same for him, and if he trusts in that, than he shall go through with it and protect her. The chorus provides a needed burst of energy, where the singer promises his girl that he’ll love her “long after you’re gone gone gone,” even when she’s been dismissed by other men. He also mentions something about a well being empty, but does anybody really use well water anymore? I mean, does the girl live like way out in the boondocks, because that probably isn’t going to fly for someone with national television exposure. Just sayin’.

Jokes aside, this is already a much stronger release than “Home”, just because it packs more of a punch than that safer lead single. It also cleverly incorporates the line, “Like a drum baby / Don’t stop beating”, amidst the noise of some banging drums. I don’t know if I would use it as a pick-up line, but I’ve heard worse. If you’re already a fan of Phillips, than you’ve heard this song at least a few times already. If you’re not a big fan of “Home”, than perhaps you should give the singer another shot with this release. The hook has a great sing along quality and I can already tell that it’s going to be a superb driving song. Get ready to crank it up on your stereo.

As for whether or not the song will actually be a hit or not, it’ll probably be a mid-charter, and prove those wrong that thought “Home” was a fluke. Once again, it’ll do best at Hot Adult Contemporary radio, where “Home” is still #2. His body of work is already stronger than some of the other works of other similar-type Idol winners (I’m looking at you, David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze) but how high it climbs will probably be a matter of how long the folk sound is a relevant trend at mainstream radio. It’ll last through the GRAMMY Awards (where The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons are nominated), but after that, anything can and will change. We’ll just have to see if Phillips finds that “home” is where the chart is. –AFS

(Trivia: Did you guess what other song is long “gone” off the charts, but managed to used the word three times in its title? It’s “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)”, which became the first top-40 hit for Canadian band Chilliwack in 1981. It just missed the top 20 on the Hot 100.)

Think another song should have been the next single? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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