The new year is upon us and what a year it’s been. Normally, around this time, we’d be gearing up for a new season of Idol, but not this year. Hollywood Life reports that J. Lo is holding out hope that the hit show will return in a few years, but until then, I bring good tidings and cheer to tell you what your favorite alum did this month to hold you over.
Idol‘s final champ, Trent Harmon, released a five-song self-titled EP (available on Spotify and iTunes) this month which features covers from his stint on the show (“Sharp-Dressed Man” and “Drink You Away”), his debut single (“There’s A Girl”) and two new recordings of previous tracks (A remix of his Idol single “Fallin'” and his goosebump-inducing cover of Sia’s hit “Chandelier”). Congrats to Trent! We’re already looking forward to your first full-length album!
Season 14 alumni were busy this month as Billboard reported winner Nick Fradiani released a video for his new single “All On You,” while runner-up Clark Beckham channeled his Christmas spirit by releasing two covers of classics: “Silent Night” (available on iTunes) and “Christmas Time is Here” (on YouTube) — a track that shows off his soaring falsetto and brooding acoustic guitar skills. Additionally, Billboard mentions third placer, JAX, who also released her single “Kickin’ and Screamin'” from her forthcoming EP, Funny. JAX also put her own spin on the Wheatus hit “Teenage Dirtbag” when she teamed up with Postmodern Jukebox to give infuse it with a little Janis Joplin flair.
Season 10 alum Pia Toscano is also staging a comeback with an EP, entitled Belong that she told Billboard was “personal and honest; and is now available on iTunes. Joining her season-mate is runner-up Lauren Alaina, who is targeting January 27 to release her new album Road Less Travelled which features her single “Next Boyfriend” and speaks to Alaina’s acceptance of herself as cited by Billboard.
Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze has also been busy, releasing a new song “Weight” (available on iTunes), which was recently featured on an episode of NBC’s hit show Elementary. Hopefully new music from Lee means a new album is in the works.
This month also saw Idol superstar Jennifer Hudson flex her acting muscles in NBC’s TV musical Hairspray. Hudson stole the show as record producer turned community leader Motormouth Maybelle. After Hudson’s Oscar winning performance in Dreamgirls, we had no doubt she could handle such a key role with ease.
Kelly Clarkson also brought Broadway to the TODAY Show when she belted out an emotional rendition of her Hamilton Mixtape track “It’s Quiet Uptown.” Kelly always knows just how to tug at our heartstrings. According to Playbill, season 1 runner-up Justin Guarini is also walking the Great White Way when he takes to the stage in a new Broadway musical called “In Transit,” which opened in New York on Dec. 11.
And for those craving some festive Idol nostalgia, Billboard reported that season 2 winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken reunited on Dec. 15 on The View to give fans their first duet in 13 years to the Donny Hathaway classic “This Christmas.”
Award season is also upon us, which means Grammy nods for a few of our favorite alum including Best Pop Solo Performance for Kelly Clarkson‘s “Piece by Piece (Idol Version)” and Best Traditional R&B Performance for Fantasia‘s “Sleeping With The One I Love.” Congratulations to both of those talented ladies who continue to bring it even years after graduating from the school of Idol. And congratulations to Fantasia who also renewed her wedding vows on Christmas Day with her husband Kendall Taylor as reported by Billboard.
Any new Idol music or shows you’re excited for? Leave me a comment below to let me know what is making you nostalgic for the hit show…