He was a compelling performer and a great contestant, improving in line with the judges' suggestions without bending completely to their will.He eased Idol into an era where pop stars who played instruments onstage were expected, not simply accepted. Because the show kept Sound Scan tallies under wraps until the confetti fell, he debuted 11 songs in the Hot 100 at once.Digital Vein is Cook's fourth album but his first without the support of RCA Records, the storied label on which he found himself after rising to the national stage through American Idol.
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Katharine Mc Phee and Katie Stevens landed on scripted TV, while Kellie Pickler's reality show about married life debuted in early November.
Others found less conventional avenues to careers: Danny Noriega—whose sassy quip "Some people weren't likin' it" during Idol's seventh season made him a low-level meme—reinvented himself as a You Tube personality (and, later, Ru Paul's Drag Race contestant) named Adore Delano.
Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar, and Constantine Maroulis nabbed a Tony Award.
Clay Aiken ran for office and emerged as a gay rights spokesperson.
But what of those Idol survivors, like Cook, still trying to make their own way after their time on the show is over?
The biggest winners and finalists have transcended Idol and become pop stars: the girl-next-door Kelly Clarkson, the glamorous yet spiky Carrie Underwood, the chameleonic Adam Lambert, the stoic Daughtry, the feisty Fantasia.
Digital Vein came out on his Analog Heart Music imprint.
On these songs, his voice is a bit raspier than it was back then.
Co-written by Cornell and produced by alt-rock guru Rob Cavallo, Cook's second single, "Light On," showed off his range and sustained his post-coronation attention.
His second post-Idol album, This Loud Morning, did fine, too, climbing into Billboard's Top 10 but never approaching the platinum status his self-titled LP had achieved.
Daughtry was the inaugural WGWG—a term Idol watchers semi-affectionately give to "white guys with guitars." Cook's smoky voice and smoldering sex appeal turned Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" into a murmured late-night devotional.