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Album Review: Various Artists - American Idol 10th Anniversary - The Hits: Volume 1


(RCA Records)

I decided to do a little experiment with this album. I asked a few friends (some of whom actually follow American Idol and some who do not) if they could name the biggest hit from any of the Idol winners other than Kelly Clarkson. Jordin Sparks proved to get a fair amount of recognition--a few of her songs were mentioned--but no one claimed her duet with Chris Brown, "No Air," by name. "Whataya Want From Me" by Adam Lambert was also mentioned, but many failed to realize that Lambert was only a runner-up and not a winner (though his song is included on this album).

Whether or not the songs from the Idol winners are good or not seems secondary, but one would think they should at least be memorable. I mean, this show is not only one of the most popular on television, but it's also supposed to be a salvation of the music industry. Maybe a million in record sales no longer means what it once did.

Okay, so even if many of these songs aren't so memorable, are they at least good? Well, it has its moments--though that might also accurately express my feelings about the show itself. Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" is certainly a highlight, and Kris Allen's "Live Like We’re Dying" is pretty catchy, but that's about it. Acts like Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard have to dig into covers that they performed on the show to pull off a song for this compilation. Jordin Sparks, one of the strongest performers, uses her most successful, but most unfortunate songs for the album. "No Air" may be well known, but to include a song with notorious alleged abuser Chris Brown just seems like a poor choice.

Maybe if you really feel in the dark about the past decade of the pop phenomena American Idol, this album might help you catch up, but if you haven't been paying attention, why would you start now?

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