Every year more and more artists seem to graduate from the ranks of the finalists on the hit singing competition show "American Idol." Their names join those already charting and there is almost never a week goes by that finds no "Idol" alum on some chart somewhere. And as several of the alumni dropped albums late in 2012, several kick off 2013 with early releases.
But there has to be a first. This year, that honor belongs to Season 7's Jason Castro, who dropped his latest album on Tuesday, Jan. 15, according to Brian Mansfield at "Idol Chatter."
Only a Mountain is Castro's third full studio set. His first two appeared in 2010, along with three EPs (one a live set). Both full albums produced modest sales, and "You Are" even peaked at No. 11 on the Christian Songs chart from his sophomore set, Who I Am. He dropped another EP, Starting Line, in 2012.
Much of Castro's music has become Contemporary Christian since he finished in fourth place on "Idol." In fact, the dreadlocked heartthrob's latest song, the title track to the album, has climbed the Christian Songs chart to No. 19. Only a Mountain, which also shows off Castro's guitar chops on an electric (and not his mainstay acoustic), just might become Castro's breakout album.
Another much anticipated album from an "American Idol" alum will hit stores on Jan. 29. Colton Dixon, the seventh place finisher during Season 11, has wasted no time getting his music out. Called The Messenger, Dixon also is making waves on the Contemporary Christian music scene. His first two songs topped the Christian digital sales charts. Both, "You Are" and "Never Gone," the latter of which also topped the Christian Songs chart, will appear on the album.
More "Idol" albums are set to follow throughout the year but many have no release dates. However, Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino is nearly ready to release her fourth album, The Side Effects of You, and will do so on March 12. The first single from the album has already cracked the Top 25 on the Urban Adult Contemporary chart.
Season 9 runner-up Crystal Bowersox is also ready to release her sophomore studio album, according to USA Today's "Idol Chatter." The new album, which is as yet untitled, will be produced by Los Lobos bandmember Steve Berlin.
With several alums not releasing an album in a year or more and seven of the eight "Idol" graduates from Season 11 to have signed album contracts still in line to do so, 2013 could be a big year for "Idol" music. Even Kelly Clarkson, whose last album, Stronger, has sold a million copies and who has a greatist hits compilation on the charts at present, revealed in December that her sixth studio album was already ready for release. And that's not including rumors of a Christmas album set for a late (of course) 2013 release, according to "Gossiping Pens."
The question now is: How many of them will be invited to perform on Season 12 of "American Idol," which kicks off on Jan. 16. What better way to show that "Idol delivers" (the new promotional slogan) than to deliver the proof?