Season seven Idols rushing to our musical rescue

Jason Castro's debut album hits stores Tuesday. Does it seem like we’ve been in a bit of an Idol musical drought?

Well, it’s not your imagination.

So far in 2010, we’ve had one high-profile release, that being Danny Gokey’s debut album.

Add a sophomore effort from season five runner-up Katharine McPhee and an independent release from season eight contestant Scott MacIntyre, and that’s been it in terms of full CD-length releases from American Idol contestants so far this year.

But a musical rescue is on the horizon. And it couldn’t come from a better source — the season seven Idols.

That year of Idol will always rank as one of my favorites because of the talent level, the musical diversity and the personalities involved.

And, as Randy Jackson would say, “Check it out, Dawg.”

We’ve already had solid first albums from season seven champ David Cook and runner-up David Archuleta, plus label-worthy independent releases from Michael Johns, Brooke White and, yes, Amanda Overmyer.

What do we have to look forward to in 2010?

Carly Smithson from her time on American Idol. (AP Photo)* Jason Castro: His self-titled debut album hits stores today. After a lead single that seemed a wee bit whimsical and not my musical taste at all, I was prepared to pretty much hate Jason’s CD.

I don’t. The base album of eight tracks features at least three gems, including a wonderful version of “Hallelujah,” and serves as a wonderful reminder of why Jason attracted so many fans on Idol two years ago.

If you haven’t heard the album yet, go here. If, like me, you were indifferent to Jason’s charm on the show, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

* Carly Smithson as lead singer of We Are the Fallen: The band’s debut album, “Tear Down the World,” hits stores May 11. My biggest complaint with Carly during season seven was that several of her performances seemed a bit over the top.

Well, the Irish gal found the perfect setting for vocals gone wild, a fledgling rock band.

Ah, but not just any fledgling rock band. Nope, this one features three former members of Evanescence. And has a major label record deal. You can watch Carly belt it out in the band’s new video to the lead single, “Bury Me Alive,” here.

David Cook at last season's American Idol finale. (AP Photo)* David Cook: When I interviewed David prior to his York Fair show in September, he seemed to be enjoying the fact that album number two wouldn’t have to be as rushed as album number one. Not that album number one did badly. Released in November 2008, it was certified platinum by February 2009.

He said then and told Idol Tracker again last month that he hopes to release his second post-Idol album this summer. As for a new single? Last week, David told Entertainment Weekly that he “would love to be able to debut a single on Idol this year.” He estimated the chances at 50-50.

Of course, we’ll see David on Idol Gives Back next week. Or at least footage of his recent visit to Ethiopia. For photos and more on that experience, go here.

David Archuleta during last week's appearance on American Idol. (* David Archuleta: When young David appeared on Idol last week, he again confirmed plans for a new album and a new single. A timetable: “Soon” was what he told Ryan Seacrest. I haven’t seen anything more definitive in any of his subsequent comments about his Idol appearance.

David has been traveling to Nashville quite frequently for writing sessions and told me in December that he wants to put more of his own stamp on the next album. He had just two co-writing credits on his first album. (You can read the interview here if you missed it the first time.)

Of course, that debut album went gold in a heartbeat, and David followed it up with a Christmas album that did pretty well, too.

So, like I said, the season seven Idols are coming to our rescue. Beginning with Jason on Tuesday.


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