Kelly Clarkson at the 2006 Grammys [photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic]Last week, while the contestants on "The Voice" and "The X Factor" were still vying for the chance to become the next Javier Colon or Melanie Amaro, a couple of "American Idol" alums were nominated for actual Grammy Awards, proving once again what "Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe has so often and so adamantly attested: that "Idol" is still the only one of these singing shows with a tried-and-true track record of producing long-term stars.
Last Wednesday--exactly 10 years, three months, and one day after winning the very first season of "A.I."--Kelly Clarkson (who has won two Grammys before, and has been nominated a total of nine times) swept up an impressive four 2013 nominations, for Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album. Meanwhile, the other "Idol" queen and a five-time Grammy-winner herself, Carrie Underwood, scored two more nominations, for her hit "Blown Away." But it was Kelly that truly seemed blown away, when two members of her touring entourage woke her in the wee hours of the morning to tell her the good news. Kelly may win a couple Grammys this coming February, but she's already winning at life, as far as I'm concerned.
Side note: Kelly made an appearance on last week's "Blake Shelton's Not-So-Family Christmas" special that really should score her an Emmy nomination, too. Since "it's 2012, it's television, and people are singing," the Original Idol naturally assumed that Blake's holiday show was some sort of newfangled TV talent competition--and so she came to compete, and she came to win. And she was pretty darn convincing. If those 555 phone numbers scrolling at the bottom of the screen had been real, I totally would have block-texted for her.
It wasn't a complete Grammy sweep for "Idol" last week, however. Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery was shut out of the Best New Artist category, and Season 11 champ Phillip Phillips's megahit coronation song, "Home," which seemed like it had a good shot at getting some sort of Grammy glory, was snubbed as well. Apparently, Grammy committee voters--unlike actual "Idol" voters--prefer female contestants. Even "Canadian Idol's" Carly Rae Jepsen, while surprisingly denied a Best New Artist nomination, received two nods, for Song Of The Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. Technically, the only male Idol to receive any 2013 Grammys recognition at all was Taylor Hicks, who has a cameo on Jimmy Fallon's nominated comedy album, Blow Your Pants Off. So good luck, Taylor!
Speaking of people named Taylor...while Taylor Swift was co-hosting last Wednesday's Grammy nominations concert and her rumored new love interest, Harry Styles, was getting snubbed (his "X Factor U.K." boy band One Direction, despite conquering both sides of the pond this year, didn't get a Best New Artist nod), another "Idol" alum came up with a Swift/Styles spoof worthy of its own Best Comedy Recording Grammy nomination. Realizing that it's probably only a matter of time before "Haylor" part ways and T.Swift records yet another breakup song, Season 9 "Idol" finalist Tim Urban beat her to it, penning the Haylor-inspired original ballad "He Can Keep His Accent" and dedicating it to the future ex-couple. Tim demonstrated such an uncanny knack for capturing Swift's puppy-eyed, puppy-love aesthetic, she really ought to consider collaborating with Tim in the future...or hey, maybe even dating him!
Let's move on to the two singing shows still airing at the moment. Will any of this season's "Voice"/"X Factor" hopefuls ever win a Grammy someday? Well, the talent is certainly there, particularly on the generally superior "Voice," but if I had to make any prediction of my own, I'd actually say that it's "The X Factor's" 13-year-old wunderkind Carly Rose Sonenclar who has the best chance of placing a few golden statuettes on her mantel one day. Last Wednesday, when she stunningly covered the Grammy-snubbed Justin Bieber's "As Long As You Love Me," it was my favorite Carly performance so far (yes, even more than "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"), and really one of my favorite performances of this entire "X Factor" season. This little girl with the big voice is definitely going places--probably to "The X Factor" winner's circle next week, and maybe even to the 2014 or 2015 Grammys. Now let's just hope Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid don't mess up her post-show career, like they have so far with poor Season 1 winner Melanie Amaro, whose long-delayed debut album just got pushed to next year. Watch this space.
Any of the four remaining "Voice" Season 3 finalists (Team Blake's Cassadee Pope and Terry McDermott, and Team Cee Lo's Trevin Hunte and Nicholas David) are certainly worthy of accolades as well. But I do want to take a moment to bid one last fond farewell to last week's "Voice" castoffs, fiery rock-mama powerhouse Amanda Brown and artsy indie darling Melanie Martinez--two of the most fascinating ladies of Season 3, and the two last contestants on Adam Levine's now-defunct team. The fact that these girls only made it to the top SIX really proves just how fierce the competition is on "The Voice." Amanda's earlier performances of Aerosmith's "Dream On" and Grace Potter's "Stars" were two of the top highlights of this entire "Voice" season (I'd actually go as far to say that "Dream On" was the season's overall greatest moment). And the thrillingly, whimsically unique Melanie was always my favorite female Season 3 contestant, and definitely the one that I always thought would make the most interesting albums after "The Voice" ends. I hope that both awesome ladies still get to make albums, no matter what, and when that happens, I'll be among the first to buy them.
And finally, speaking of awesome ladies--and taking things back full circle to the subject of "American Idol"--last Saturday, Season 8 "Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert appeared with undeniably awesome lady Cyndi Lauper at her "Home For The Holidays" concert, a benefit held at New York City's Beacon Theater to help homeless LGBT youth. Adam reprised one of his most iconic "Idol" performances, of Tears For Fears' "Mad World," as a duet with Cyndi, and it was practically a Christmas miracle. And it of course had me raising the question: How did Adam Lambert not get nominated for a Grammy this year, huh? Mad world, indeed.