2017 in Review, American Idol, Featured posts

Top 5 post-American Idol albums of 2017


The year just completed served as yet another reminder of the talented singers who appeared on American Idol over the show’s 15 seasons on FOX.

Those singers released at least 35 albums and EPs, dozens of stand-alone songs and about 40 music videos in 2017.

On Monday, I presented my picks for the Top 5 music videos; on Tuesday, the Top 10 songs.

Today, I’m completing the look back at 2017 with my picks for Top 5 albums. Again, these selections weren’t easy. If you disagree, feel free to comment below.

For each of the albums below, I’ve included a link to the full album or EP on iTunes so you can listen to snippets of all the songs.


5. Casey James
“Strip It Down”

Released: June 9, 2017
Finish: 3rd, Season 9

Way back in his 2009 Idol audition, Casey told the judges he wasn’t really a country artist, in spite of his Texas roots. Nevertheless, that’s what he wound up singing after the show. But for this 2017 independent album, he went back to his musical roots — the blues — with impressive results. The second half of the 14-track album is especially impressive with blues rockers like the title track, “Supernatural,” “Killin’ Myself” and “Fight You for the Blues” sure to entice you to groove.


Jax of American Idol Season 144. Jax
“Funny” EP

Released: Jan. 27, 2017
Finish: 3rd, Season 14

Post-Idol, Jax released the delightfully sarcastic single “La La Land” about the Idol experience. Her biting humor, and potential as a pop-rocker is even more evident on this six-song collection. Wow, don’t mess with Jax, guys. “I am going to completely destroy you,” she wails on “Wrong Girl.” That’s one of the best tracks, along with “Kickin’ & Screamin'” and “Sleep Like a Baby,” which made my list of Top 10 songs of 2017. In my mind, this EP confirmed my long-held belief that Jax should have won Season 14.


David Archuleta of American Idol Season 73. David Archuleta
“Postcards in the Sky”

Released: Oct. 20, 2017
Finish: 2nd, Season 7

Fans clamoring for new music from long-silent David Archuleta had to be beside themselves in 2017 — a pair of four-track EPs preceded this 16-track album, which features eight new songs, all co-written by David. Combined, they were billed as David’s first “truly adult” releases. They’re also easily his best. Standout songs included the title track, “Numb,” “I’m Ready” and “Seasons,” a lovely duet with former Voice contestant Madilyn Paige. Said David: “I felt all these songs were my Postcards in the Sky.” Lovely ones at that.


2. Crystal Bowersox

Released: June 16, 2017
Finish: 2nd, Season 9

Crystal is the most underrated of all American Idol finalists in my mind, and there’s no better way to appreciate her talent than listening to this live album. No studio magic here folks, just that incredible voice of hers. The two-song interlude of “Marlboro Man” and “Let Me Walk Away” is absolutely magical. And how can you not be touched by her autobiographical “No Mistake?” Unlike most live albums, most of the songs here are previously unreleased, though Crystal fittingly ends the set with her marvelous cover of “Me and Bobby McGee.”


1. Kelly Clarkson
“The Meaning of Life”

Released: Oct. 27, 2017
Finish: 1st, Season 1

Kelly called her first album with Atlantic “the record I’ve been wanting to make since I was a little kid.” Translation: More soul and sass, a bit less pop. The result: Another great album from the original, loaded with songs that will make you want to move or sing along. Lead single “Love So Soft” hit number one on the club dance songs chart; the album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. Wrote Kelly on Twitter: “Every artist wants to feel proud of the footprint they leave behind. This is my best footprint yet!”

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  1. Karen Young January 17, 2018 at 5:01 pm -  Reply

    Strip it down @Casey James Best Album!

  2. Mari January 18, 2018 at 2:35 am -  Reply

    Thank you for including David Archuleta “Postcards in the Sky” is amazing-you can feel David’s vulnerability as well as his inspiration through each song

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