After Wednesday night’s “American Idol” season 11 premiere , you’ve gotten a glimpse at the talent pool and spotted some potential superstars-in-the-making. But what about the last 10 seasons of singers?
We already looked back at standouts from “Idol” seasons one through five , and now we’re walking down memory lane to see what the alumni from seasons six through 10 have going on:
The One You Know: Winner Jordin Sparks is making her big-screen debut this August with TriStar’s remake of the ’76 Supremes-inspired movie “Sparkle,” co-starring the one and only Whitney Houston. Music-wise, Sparks showed off a new adult image in 2011 with “I Am Woman” and provided background vocals for Demi Lovato’s anthem “Skyspcraper.” Her third album is still TBA, but don’t be surprised if her new label, RCA Records, drops music around the release date of “Sparkle.”
The One You Shouldn’t Count Out Just Yet: Chris Richardson impressed some hip-hop bigwigs in 2011 after appearing on Tyga’s single “Far Away” — so much so that the fifth-placer was signed to Cash Money Records days ago, meaning the dude who famously told Simon Cowell “Nasally is a form of singing” is now in the same label family as Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake. Whoa!
The Goofy One: Sanjaya Malakar released a cover of Squeeze’s “Tempted” in 2011, but all promotion stopped shortly after his mother was left in a coma when a car struck her as she was crossing a Manhattan street. Updates on her condition have been few and far between, and authorities have yet to track down the driver who hit her and sped off. Malakar remains positive on his Twitter feed as he gears up for the new year. On an up note, Sanjaya superfan Ashley Ferl (a.k.a. “Crying Girl”) reportedly auditioned for “Idol” this season. Will her tryout make it on the air?
The One You Know: David Cook spent most of 2011 promoting his expansive sophomore album, This Loud Morning. That included a tour with Gavin DeGraw and hilarious press appearances, such as his “Hairmageddon” battle with VH1 host Jim Shearer (which Cook won).
The Goofy One: Adorkable runner-up David “Oh My Heck” Archlueta may not be selling albums the way he did post-”Idol,” but he’s still a big star in Asia, where he racks up huge appearance fees. Once he wraps a starring role on a miniseries in the Philippines (!), Archie’s taking two years off to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The One You Know: Adam Lambert hit the ground running as soon as “Idol” ended, and the magnetic star hasn’t slowed down since. Grammy nominations, a sold-out world tour, concert DVDs, remix EPs, a debut album that went gold, a “Behind the Music” special, a passionate fanbase, a heralded appearance with Queen and an unprecedented guest-mentor spot on “Idol.” But most importantly, Lambert is dropping a new album March 20, Trespassing, and it boasts collaborators as big as his vocal range: Bruno Mars, Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, Dr. Luke and many more.
The One We Can’t Stop Rooting For: So Kris Allen hasn’t had the massive career of most other winners, and yeah, he’s pretty low-key compared to some of his season eight pals, but hear us out! “Live Like We’re Dying” showed he has serious radio potential, his rocking live shows prove he has musical chops, and his co-writes on a handful of other stars’ albums are evidence that the industry ain’t even close to being done with him. Something tells us his time out of the spotlight writing upward of 80 songs will result in a killer sophomore-album sneak attack in 2012.
The Goofy One: Diablo Cody’s fave, semifinalist Alex Wagner-Trugman, quietly inked a deal with an indie and is headed to the studio to record an album’s worth of haunting original tunes influenced by Nick Drake and his own warped sense of humor.
Um. Let’s skip this one.
The One You Know: Baby, unless you’ve locked them doors and turned the lights down low, you couldn’t miss that teenager Scotty McCreery is finally returning some platinum to the “Idol” crown. His debut album, Clear as Day, broke a Billboard record, and now the teenager with the booming voice is on the road with Brad Paisley and the Band Perry.
The One We Can’t Stop Rooting For: Resident growler Haley Reinhart will release her debut single March 1 through Interscope Records. Details are scarce, but we’ve heard through the grapevine that the song is really good and awesomely old-school.
The Goofy One: Bearded jokester Casey Abrams recently announced that he was signed to legendary jazz label Concord Music Group in a charmingly silly way — by posting a cute lil’ original ditty called “I Got Signed.”
The One You Shouldn’t Count Out Just Yet: Stefano Langone never quite found his footing on the “Idol” stage, but a star was born on the American Idols Live! Tour, where he scored rave reviews for his pitch-perfect set. (Taking off his shirt probably gained him a few fans too.) At a Trevor Project benefit dinner in December, Langone’s “O Holy Night” received a rousing standing ovation from the crowd of (usually jaded) industry heavyweights. Now, the cutie pie is signed to Disney’s Hollywood Records alongside Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.
Who will emerge as the next “Idol” breakthrough? Share your predictions from Wednesday night’s premiere in the comments below!
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