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Music Review: Various Artists – American Idol: Season 9

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The American Idol season nine compilation album was recently released with songs that the Idol contestants performed while they were on the show. The Idol's studio versions of their songs are the bright star of a somewhat dim season.

Standout tracks include season nine winner Lee DeWyze's "Treat Her Like A Lady," Crystal Bowersox's "Me & Bobby McGee," and Siobhan Magnus's "Paint It Black."

DeWyze's "Treat Her Like A Lady" was one of his stronger performances on the Idol stage and one that had people take notice. So, it makes sense that it is highlighted on the album. The collection is ballad-heavy, so I am happy that this song was picked over the obvious choice and DeWyze fan favorite, "The Boxer."

I like that Bowersox's song on the album is "Me & Bobby McGee." It is definitely a fan favorite, and it's one of the only semi-uptempo numbers she performed during her time on the show.

Magnus's rendition of "Paint It Black," is easily my favorite track on the compilation album. I love how the music has a dark feel to it. Plus, her vocal is fantastic. The last big note she hits, is straight out of the Adam Lambert vocal range playbook. "Paint It Black" definitely showcases the best of Magnus's talent.

Didi Benami's track "Play With Fire," is another one of my favorites. I still have a hard time believing that she came in 10th place on the show. Benami is such an immense talent, and her vocal on the track is flawless.

A huge letdown on the album is Andrew Garcia's rendition of "Forever." When he performed the song on the show, he stripped this dance-pop-r&b song down and went with a total acoustic vibe. On the album, Garcia is singing it in the style he did on the show, however the backing music is the original track, which is an upbeat, dance vibe. It's kind of weird to listen to. I think it's unfortunate that it was recorded this way, because that was probably the best performance Garcia had on the Idol stage, outside of Hollywood Week.

I do wish that a different track was chosen for Tim Urban, other than "Under My Thumb." Urban struggled during his time on Idol, however he had a couple of weeks where he did really well with "All My Loving" and "Can't Help Falling in Love." Either of these songs would have been better selections for the compilation album.

The American Idol: Season 9 compilation album is out now.

For more information on the contestants and this summer's "American Idol Live" tour, check out American Idol's website.

A Definite Download: "Paint It Black" by Siobhan Magnus

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is a writer and editor from the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her long-running music blog, Wait...WHAT, at waitwhatmusic.net. Follow Kirsten Coachman on Twitter: @KirsCoachman
  • Yup, Lee, Crystal, and Didi’s tracks are amazing. I actually enjoy Andrew’s studio, but I would’ve much preferred the acoustic version he did on the show. Then again, wasn’t expecting it when we got the “Casio keyboard” version (Jorge said that, LOL) of Kris Allen’s “Heartless” last year instead of his stripped down version for the studio recording.

    Also, I still don’t understand Siobhan’s appeal. :/ I think she’s a good performer but I felt underwhelmed by her “Paint it Black” studio.

  • larry

    Check out the song “Broken” featuring Shiobhan on I-Tunes. This was a pre-idol song where she is doing a duet………great song and her vocals are outstanding. I would like to see her do this with perhaps Lee, Aaron or Tim on the tour (got my tickets).

  • Tim Urban probably would have done better with Hallelujah. He knocked that out of the park when he performed on on American Idol.

  • Tatar69x

    Casey James could do very well. As a performer, he is in a very market sales heavy niche that rewards charismatic good looking guys who can sing a little and play some mean guitar. He could just well have the biggest hit of any S9 contestant in the next two years.
    Siobhan Magnus is the most talented and interesting of the S9 contestants and for all the Casey-Tim talk, maybe the best looking. The one that most interests me, anyways. She could have a great future and like Crystal, would be a nice person to see success coming to after growing up fairly impoverished. Magnus has real flaws though – an amazing voice but with flaws she needs to work on, and a creative artistic teen contestant that has talents in many different directions she needs a pro team to work with her to help figure out her best shots, in which direction. Hope she is picked up by a solid team of pros that see “Star!” in Siobhan’s future and give her great management and preparation..

    Lee is another that sounds 100% better after getting off the Idol reality TV show. I’ll definitely buy his CD, look to see what Casey does, look to see if Siobhan goes with music, film, or a Broadway path. (I hope she does music 1st)

  • Jennifer C

    Agree with Kirsten about the songs she discussed, I downloaded 4 of Siobhans, including PIB, 2 of Lees inc. “Treat Her Like a Lady”, and Crystals “Long as I can See the Light”. May not get the CD because I have the cuts I was most interested in already and will buy Lees coming CD.

    And Siobhan? Her talent and potential really have me excited and optimistic for her future. Besides PIB, she did brilliantly in the studio with “Across the Universe” , “Wicked Games”, and “When You Believe” may be the most amazing of all.

    Siobhan Magnus is the one from S9 I am most interested in for the 1st CD she does – which I hope she will not rush and work on some of her weaknesses and get a coherent vision of an album concept 1st. (If she does all that, it could be a big splash in the real music world.) I also think outside the singing, with her other talents, personality, and “intangibles” – she has nascent star power.

  • Ellen & RIO

    I purchased the CD and love it! The sound quality is terrific and I agree with your assessments. I also love Didi’s ‘Play with Fire’ and I have been a big supporter of Siobahn during the season. I also think Casey James & Michael Lynche sound very good.
    ALL in ALL…a very good CD @ a reasonable price(@ WAL-MART)