The Farr Side: ‘Idol’ alumni kept going strong in 2012
If you’re thinking “American Idol” has seen its day, think again.
“Idol” alums were everywhere in 2012, proving the show can produce quality entertainers beyond the hype.
2012 belonged to Kelly Clarkson (Season 1 winner) as her album “Stronger” continued to dominate the charts with four songs in the Top 40, including the mega-anthem “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).”
Clarkson managed to have a hit tour, judge on “Duets,” release a first-ever “Greatest Hits” package, and become engaged in 2012, while also earning a slew of award nominations and honors. She is also up for four Grammy Awards in February, including the coveted Record and Song of the Year honors for “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).”
Carrie Underwood (Season 4 winner) also saw her star shine brighter with the release of fourth studio album “Blown Away,” which quickly made its way to the top of the country charts.
Underwood has become a mainstay on the charts ever since winning “AI,” becoming one of the most popular country artists of the last decade.
She also made her movie debut in “Soul Surfer” and will take center stage as Maria von Trapp in a live NBC broadcast of “The Sound Of Music” to air during the 2013 holiday season.
Like Clarkson, Underwood is up for three Grammy Awards including Best Country Album for “Blown Away.”
Jordin Sparks (Season 6 winner) began 2012 wrapping up her first movie “Sparkle” to which she co-starred with the legendary Whitney Houston. Houston’s death last year was a tough blow to Sparks, who was hand-picked by Houston to play the role of Sparkle in the movie musical version of the Broadway hit.
Sparks’ performance turned the heads and her vocals on the soundtrack earned her even more praise. She also began a high-profile relationship with singer Jason DeRulo.
Katharine McPhee (Season 5 runner-up) lit up the small screen as Karen Cartwright in the hit NBC musical drama “Smash.” McPhee dazzled as she slowly transformed her character into Marilyn Monroe.
McPhee co-stars alongside Oscar-winning actress Angelica Huston, Emmy-winner Debra Messing and Broadway star Megan Hilty. Season 12 is set begin next week and will also feature Idol alum Jennifer Hudson (Season 3 finalist). NBC is going all out for this show.
Hudson made plenty of headlines herself as she continued to be the latest spokesperson for Weight Watchers. She also released her second album and at last minute notice performed in tribute to Whitney Houston at the Grammys.
Hudson, an Oscar winner already, finished shooting “Winnie” in South Africa, playing Winner, former wife to Nelson Mandela.
Other Idol alums including Taylor Hicks (Season 5 winner), Constantine Maroulis (Season 4 finalist), Diana DeGarmo (Season 3 runner-up), Ace Young (Season 5 finalist), and others called Broadway home in 2012. Scotty McCreery (Season 10 winner), Lauren Alaina (Season 10 runner-up), Danny Gokey (Season 8 finalist), Kellie Pickler (Season 5 finalist), Bucky Covington (Season 5 finalist), and Josh Gracin (Season 2 finalist) found themselves on the country music charts. Chris Daughtry (Season 5 finalist) released his third straight hit album, too, as “Break The Spell” debuted at No. 1.
Clay Aiken (Season 2 runner-up) raised a ton of money on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” ultimately finding himself runner-up to Arsenio Hall. He released his 6th studio album, “Steadfast.”
Adam Lambert (Season 8 finalist) debuted on Billboard’s Hot 200 with his second album “Trespassing,” keeping Underwood’s album that week from debuting on top. Lambert also starred on VH1’s Divas Live with such stars Clarkson, Kelly Rowland, Miley Cyrus, Keri Hilson and others.
But it was Phillip Phillips who perhaps did the most to silence “American Idol” critics who think the show has seen its day.
Phillips, despite several kidney operations, managed to pull off the inevitable to win Season 11 and become the show’s newest Idol.
Phillips’ debut single “Home” defined the year for many, including the women’s Olympic gymnastics team as it became their official theme song.
“Home” became one the year’s biggest hits giving mad props to “AI.” The song also appears on Phillips’ hit album “The World From The Side Of The Moon,” which is a stellar piece of work.
“Home” was the perfect song for the perfect winner on Idol, proving that no matter who the judges are it truly comes down to the talent at hand and he definitely has it.
Season 12 begins Jan. 16 with three new judges joining the original dawg himself, Randy Jackson: Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj.
David T. Farr is a Sturgis, Mich., Journal correspondent. Email him at email@example.com. You can also find The Farr Side on Facebook.