CD Review – American Idol Top 13 Season 10

American Idol{extravote 1}Releasing a studio album early on in the annual American Idol contest is something new this season. The lucky Season 10 contestants were able to go into a studio and record songs from their March 9 Idol show for release at iTunes and the results are… interesting.

At times a little like tacky karaoke and other times absolutely brilliant, the Idol Top 13 album is a great showcase to show off the voices of the contestants without seeing a performance. It gives us an idea of what their voice would sound like on a full release. Contestants James Durbin, Scotty McCreery and Pia Toscano rise to the occasion. Even though their song choices are a little bit dated, their stellar performances allowed them to own their song and call it their own.

Durbin is outstanding with his rendition of Maybe I’m Amazed, which showcases his powerful pipes, while McCreery shows that he can pretty much nail any traditional country song thrown at him. Toscano could have made the mistake of thousands of contestants before her by selecting All By Myself, but she pulled it off as the album’s closing track.

The most outstanding recording on the album goes to Naima Adedapo, who pulled off a near perfect replica of Rihanna’s Umbrella. With an original arrangement she could easily take the competition, but instead, this perfect replica leaves her looking like a tribute artist.

Like it or not, some of these voices aren’t meant for albums. While some of the vocal performances suffer from sounding like bar room karaoke, such as the ill-fated Any Man of Mine from Lauren Alaina or Jacob Lusk’s I Believe I Can Fly, others are just plain out-dated song choices, like Haley Reinhart’s Blue or Casey Abrams’ With a Little Help From My Friends. Abrams would have benefited greatly from a modern selection that could have easily put him over the top.

It’s interesting that American Idol has released a collection of studio recordings so early in the competition.  These recordings could play an important part of each contestant moving forward or even getting recording contracts.

I have my favourites, now who are yours?