"Before He Cheats" was a no-brainer when it came to representing the fourth season winner, Carrie Underwood. This scorching country smash was certified triple-platinum and won two Grammys (Best Female Country Vocal, Country Song of the Year). The song was nominated a slew of other awards as well, winning several. Of course, Underwood has enough smash singles for her own "hits" compilation. Seeing as this compilation was limited to just one song per artist, this was the right choice.
Season five champion Taylor Hicks had a Billboard Hot 100 number one with his debut, "Do I Make You Proud." For whatever reason, the producers of this compilation chose not to include that gold-certified single. Instead they included the B-side, his version of the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It To the Streets." Actually the song is far more representative of Hicks' style, becoming his signature song during his time on Idol. It even slipped into Billboard's Hot 100 at number sixty-nine. Apparently the decision was made to exclude all "winner's singles" for this compilation. In that case, I might've gone with one of the Adult Contemporary hits from Hicks' 2006 debut Taylor Hicks, "Heaven Knows" or "Just To Feel That Way."
Season five is also represented by fourth-place finisher Chris Daughtry. His self-penned "Home" was a top five Billboard hit and sold more than two million copies. The song, issued under his band's name Daughtry, was nominated for a Grammy as Best Pop Performance by Duo or Group. It's an appropriate choice, with strong Idol ties due to its use as the "exit song" during season six when each contestant was voted off. Speaking of season six, the crown went to Jordin Sparks that year. Her duet with Chris Brown, "No Air," was another obvious choice for this compilation. The worldwide multi-platinum smash was bolstered by Brown's massive popularity.
Co-written by Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and songwriter Brian Howes, "Light On" was a platinum success for season seven's David Cook. The 2008 song is easily the hardest rocking track here. Besides his winner's single "The Time Of My Life," it's his biggest hit and the perfect choice for this collection. Season eight, like two and five, is represented by two contestants. The catchy "Live Like We're Dying" is winner Kris Allen's biggest hit to date by far. Despite a modest Hot 100 peak of eighteen, the single ended up being certified platinum with more than one million sold. Runner-up Adam Lambert earned a Grammy nomination (Best Male Pop Vocal) for his top ten hit "Whataya Want From Me." The song was co-written by P!nk for Funhouse, but was not included on that album.