2010 in Review: The Best of Idol

Over the next five days, I’ll take a look back at 2010, American Idol style.

Today, my picks for five Idol highlights of the year that’s about to conclude.

Coming up later this week, the worst of Idol (Tuesday), the top albums of 2010 (Wednesday), the top Idol songs of 2010 (Thursday) and the best Idol videos of 2010.

Now, for the highlights.

Carrie Underwood won a Grammy in 2010, one of many highlights for the season four winner of American Idol. (AP Photo) 1. Carrie Underwood

Let’s see. She started off the year with her new album in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 and at number two on the country charts, having previously topped both. Before January ended, she collected her fifth Grammy.  She was named the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year.  She was named one of CMT’s five Artists of the Year. “Play On ” yielded three number one country singles; single number four is at number four and still climbing. The album went platinum. She appeared on a hit TV show and in a movie. She got married. Billboard ranked her tour among the 25 most successful of the year. And she just received another Grammy nomination. Wow. Quite a year for Idol’s season four winner.

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Adam Lambert, presenting with Sarah Silverman at the Critics Choice Awards. (AP Photo)2. Adam Lambert

Proof that talent does win out in the end. A year after his unfathomable loss to Kris Allen, a whole lot more people were talking about Idol’s season eight runner-up than its season eight winner. OK, so Adam didn’t run off a string of smash hits from “For Your Entertainment.” He still had four songs hit Billboard’s Hot 100; “Whataya Want from Me” reached number 10. The album stayed on the Billboard 200 for 50 weeks, long after Kris’ had departed. And his Glam Nation Tour was a success here and abroad. Let’s face it, the guy’s entertaining.

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American Idol finally said goodbye to judge Kara DioGuardi in 2010. (AP Photo)3. Kara DioGuardi

Idol finally booted its long-winded fourth judge, and not a moment too soon. Known mostly as a songwriter pre-Idol, she helped ruin the season eight finale by helping write a crappy coronation song; then unwisely decided to flash her bikini bod alongside Bikini Girl. She spent much of the early part of season eight making goo-goo eyes at Casey James. She was, flat out, annoying. If ever there was a case of addition by subtraction, this was it. Great move, Idol.

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Crystal Bowersox, overcome by emotion, during the American Idol finale. (FOX Photo)4. Crystal Bowersox

I happen to agree with the critics who have proclaimed season nine one of Idol’s worst. Crystal was the proverbial jewel in the rough. Not to mention probably the best singer-songwriter the show has discovered or uncovered. From the moment she belted out “Natural Woman” during Hollywood weeks, fans knew Idol had a genuine talent on its hands. Of course, anyone who had listened to her original material already knew that. And her debut album, “Farmer’s Daughter,” is true to her artistry, something that doesn’t always happen when Idol finalists release their first album.

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Nigel Lythgoe might just bring much-needed changes to American Idol in 2011. (AP Photo)5. Nigel Lythgoe

I’m putting Nigel here for now because changes were needed after a season nine marked by Simon Cowell’s farewell, declining viewership and shoddy production values (embarrassingly pathetic, really, for TV’s most-watched show; the ill-conceived Shakira–Rascal Flatts duet in which the latter’s mike didn’t work was a real classic.) And Idol’s new executive producer seems intent on shaking things up with younger contestants, fewer instruments and a couple of changes that are even more welcome — fresher themes offering contestants a chance to sing more relevant music in the genres they excel at. Here’s hoping Frank Sinatra tunes are gone for good. But what Nigel needs most of all: A dynamite cast, something Idol hasn’t found since season seven.

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Coming tomorrow: Idol’s worst of 2010

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7 Responses to “2010 in Review: The Best of Idol”

  1. houstonandy says:

    And how about Adam Lambert’s Grammy nomination….that’s certainly a highlight for your #2

  2. Jo says:

    Yeah, that grammy nom is certainly a highlight. All his accomplishments this year just goes to show the right one doesn’t always win because people vote for reasons other than talent.

  3. Alyssa says:

    I thought the cast in Season 8 was dynamite. I mean David and David were awesome, but I thought all 10 of the finalists in Season 8 were interesting.

  4. michele says:

    Is it really necessary for you to bring Kris down to bring Adam up? Kris is doing just fine thank you. And unless your all up in Adams business most people dont even know who him or Kris is

  5. Leelee says:

    I agree most people don’t know who Kris is but Adam is successful in the US and internationally. Judging by his nominations internatinally and his wins and his grammy nom here, I would say a lot of people know who he is. But I agree, don’t want Adam’s name linked to Kris anymore. They are on seperate levels and courses.

  6. alison says:

    “Is it really necessary for you to bring Kris down to bring Adam up?”

    lol krisberts. Nobody is dragging Kris down, they are simply stating the truth. Kris Allen winning AI was the biggest joke in the shows history, but Mark Franklin is right, talent does win out in the end – it happened with Daughtry, it happened with Adam and it is happening now with Crystal. I also agree with Mark that she is the best singer/songwriter that the show has ever discovered.

    “And unless your all up in Adam’s business most people dont even know who him or Kris is”

    Is it really necessary for you to drag Adam down to make you feel better about where Kris is at today? I thought you said Kris is doing just fine?

    You are right, nobody knows who Kris is outside of Arkansas, but that simply isn’t true about Adam.

  7. [...] Posted Monday: For the best of American Idol, 2010, go here. [...]

  8. LISA says:

    YEAR IN CONCERT REVIEW FROM MALAYSIAN . Adam Lambert Flamboyant spark seemed considerably dimmed a fact obvious to everybody watching meaning he sucks oh and they reviewed KRIS ALLEN concert to and its obvious they love Kris Allen AND I SEEN KRIS ALLEN ON TV THREE TIMES LAST WEEK STILL SEEMS TO BE AROUND TO ME.

  9. [...] blogs include the best of Idol in 2010, the worst of Idol in 2010 and the top 5 Idol albums of [...]

  10. [...] make sure to check out the other 2010 in Review blogs, including the Best of Idol, the Worst of Idol, the top albums of the year and the top songs of the [...]

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