'American Idol's' Summer of Covers: Adam Lambert Does Bob Marley, Kelly Clarkson Takes on 'Call Me Maybe' (Video)
From Kris Allen's twist on Ellie Goulding's "Lights" to Casey Abrams' take on the classic "Don't Stop Believing" to Scotty McCreery's ode to "O Brother Where Are Thou," "Idol" grads from all seasons are putting their cover skills to use.
Graduating from a show like American Idol, it's a given that alumni will know how to deliver a stellar performance, whether of a song of their own a classic or a recent hit. But during summer 2012, the cover count has been especially high.
Winners Kelly Clarkson and Kris Allen both delivered reinterpretations of current hits, while Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert went 70s and 80s retro. Group numbers emerged from the likes of Blake Lewis and Elliott Yamin along with duets by the brothers Castro (Jason and Michael).
Indeed, Idol grads from all seasons are putting their cover skills to good use on the road, at promotional appearances and at home. See some of our favorites (not including the current summer tour) below:
Kelly Clarkson - "Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen)
Clarkson is the queen of covers. On her "Stronger" tour, she's included unlikely choices by Eminem ("Lose Yourself"), Florence and the Machine and fun., as well as the late Whitney Houston and fellow Idol alum Carrie Underwood. In fact, to be covered by Clarkson these days is becoming the greatest form of flattery. Look no further than Carly Rae Jepson who tweeted to the season one champion, "this made my night" after hearing the Clarkson's take on "Call Me Maybe." It made us smile, too.
Kris Allen - "Lights" (Ellie Goulding)
Season eight winner Kris Allen had a reputation for interesting interpretations of popular radio hits and, true to his acoustic guitar strumming nature, he kicked off his summer busking on the Santa Monica pier and taking fan requests. Allen maintains that he likes to "sing girl songs" and we're not complaining -- especially when that girl is Ellie Goulding and the song is "Lights." Listen to Kris Allen's sublime version below.
Adam Lambert - "Is This Love?" (Bob Marley)
As tempting as it is to stream his entire concert with Queen on a daily basis, the season eight runner-up gave fans a new performance to gawk over this week. Paying homage to the late, great Bob Marley, Lambert delivered a jammin' cover of "Is This Love?" from Sydney, Australia's Take 40 Lounge on Aug. 22. Grab a cold beverage, some tanning lotion, sit back and enjoy.
Jason and Michael Castro - "Give You Heart a Break" (Demi Lovato)
Speaking of the islands, is there anyone that wears dreadlocks better than the lovely Jason Castro? Randy Jackson once said seeing the season seven finalist sing was like watching a "luau." Castro and his brother, Michael (who made it to Hollywood Week on season eight), recently covered a song by The X Factor's new judge, Demi Lovato. Both Castro brothers are fans of the teen star, as one can tell instantly with this gorgeous cover of "Give Your Heart A Break."
Carrie Underwood - "Alone" (Heart)
You could call this performance from late spring an encore. Idol winner Carrie Underwood graced the iHeartRadio stage in New York City for an intimate performance of Heart's "Alone," a song that represented one of her many shining moments from season four.
Siobhan Magnus - "Head Over Feet" (Alanis Morissette)
Season nine belter Siobhan Magnus sold out the Cape Cod Melody Tent this summer -- no small feat for someone without a deal. We already blogged about her cover of the KISS rocker "Love Gun." Now, we take a moment to showcase the softer side of Siobhan with a tender cover of Alanis Morrisette's "Head Over Feet" (featuring an audience member on harmonica).
James Durbin - "Rainbow in the Dark" (Ronnie James Dio)
Bless James Durbin for remembering the late Ronnie James Dio with this amazing cover of "Rainbow in the Dark." Everything we loved about the season 10 metalhead can be heard in this clip from his set at Columbus, Ohio's "Rock on the Range" event.
Haley Reinhart - "Oh, Darling" (The Beatles)
We adored this performance by season 10 finalist Haley Reinhart from the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood. Promoting the release of Listen Up!, Reinhart was in full command as she delivered a soulful and sexy version of "Oh, Darling" by The Beatles. Up next: Carnegie Hall in October.
Casey Abrams - "Don't Stop Believing" (Journey)
Constantine Maroulis - "Barton Hollow" (The Civil Wars)
Speaking of Rock of Ages, season four's Constantine Maroulis, a star of the Broadway production who's about to grace another stage in Jekyll and Hyde, performed this ultra-cool duet of The Civil Wars' "Barton Hollow" with Rachel Potter.
Scotty McCreery - "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" (Dick Burnett)
Season 10 champ Scotty McCreery's authentic recreation of Dick Burnett's "I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow" (popularized by the 2000 film Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? when it was sung by the fictitious Soggy Bottom Boys) is clearly a blast for the 18-year-old and his band to perform. See proof below.
Lee DeWyze - "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen)
Plenty of Idol action was found in Branson, Mo. this summer as The Finalists! Live! settled into the Andy Williams Moon River Theater. This gem of a performance comes courtesy of season nine winner Lee DeWyze and his cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" -- just beautiful.
Blake Lewis, Elliott Yamin, Lee DeWyze, Thia Megia - "Somebody That I Used To Know" (Gotye)
Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone weren't the only Idols covering Gotye this summer. In this performance promoting the Branson, Mo. shows, season six runner-up Blake Lewis, season five's Elliott Yamin and season 10's Thia Megia join DeWyze on "Somebody That I Used To Know." Check out Lewis' beat-boxing below.
Ruben Studdard, Bo Bice, Vonzell Solomon, RJ Helton, Katie Stevens - "Life in a Northern Town" (Dream Academy), "R.O.C.K. in the USA" (John Mellencamp)
Another group number from The Finalists Live!, this time with season two champ Ruben Studdard, season four runner-up Bo Bice (with shorter locks), season four's Vonzell Solomon, season one's RJ Helton and season nine's Katie Stevens, finds some gorgeous harmonies on Dream Academy's "Life in a Northern Town" followed by an enthusiastic nod to midwest hero John Mellencamp's hit "R.O.C.K. in the USA."
Chris Daughtry - "Rebel Yell" (Billy Idol)
Chris Daughtry let loose in San Francisco, covering Billy Idol's breakout hit "Rebel Yell" with his own Idol-like screams.
So many songs -- and summer isn't over yet! Which covers do you like, worshippers? Is there a song you wish your favorite Idol would try?