As this season's "American Idol" finalists prepare for the launch of their summer tour, last year's singers are doing some preparing of their own: By early 2006, nine of the 2004 season's top 10 singers are scheduled to have at least one album on shelves.
While winner Fantasia, runner-up Diana DeGarmo and fifth-place finisher George Huff have already released records (see "Fantasia Salutes Single Moms, Gets Beaten By Lisa Simpson" and "Diana DeGarmo Shuns Heels, Hopes To Popularize 'Rop' Music"), sixth-place finalist John Stevens is lined up to be next. The crooner's debut, Red, is due Tuesday.
The album, which features production work from veterans David Foster and Steve Tyrell, includes standards like "All of Me" and "It Had to Be You," as well as a cover of Maroon 5's "This Love."
"It's more jazzy," Stevens, who just graduated from high school, said of his version of "This Love." "It was [Maverick Records chief] Guy Oseary's idea. I didn't really know how it would work, but it turned out well."
Following shortly after Stevens will be third-place singer Jasmine Trias, whose self-titled debut, which she describes as "very R&B, very soulful, with a little bit of edge," is due July 12 on Aloha Music International. The first single, "Excuses," has been shipped to radio stations.
"It's about a girl who really loves this guy, but she's not sure if he's really feeling her, so he's making excuses why he can't be with her," Trias explained. "I feel so grateful to be releasing an album. 'American Idol' was one thing, but this is a dream come true."
Fourth-place finisher La Toya London, a favorite of "Idol" critics, also has a release date set. Her debut, Love & Life, is due September 20 on Concord Records.
London is shooting a video for the first single, "Appreciate," this week in Los Angeles. Black Thought from the Roots guests on the track. "I have some other tricks up my sleeve, but I want to keep it a secret," she said.
Huff, who's already released a Christmas EP (My Christmas EP!), is working on a full-length for Word Records. Camile Velasco, meanwhile, is signed with Motown Records.
"Hopefully I'll be coming out with a single by the end of the summer and album in the fall," said Velasco, who is working with Pras from the Fugees.
Finally, Jon Peter Lewis has released a single through his Web site and is shopping an album to labels (see "Jon Peter Lewis' Only Use For Pens Is Writing Songs"). "Most of the production is done, so it should be out later this year," Lewis said. "I really like this song 'Plastic on the Inside.' It's about plastic surgery, so it's pretty topical."