From the Vault...


Various Artists
"American Idol Season 3: Greatest Soul Classics"

© RCA/19 Records

Year of Release: 2004

track listing
  • Chain Of Fools--
  • Me And Mrs. Jones--
    George Huff
  • I Heard It Through
    The Grapevine
    Diana DeGarmo
  • If You Don't Know Me
    By Now--
    La Toya London
  • Neither One Of Us--
    Jennifer Hudson
  • You Make Me Feel
    Brand New
    Amy Adams
  • (Sittin' On)
    The Dock Of
    The Bay--
  • Matt Rogers
  • Midnight Train
    To Georgia
    Jasmine Trias
  • My Girl--
    Jon Peter Lewis
  • Until You Come Back
    To Me
    Camile Velasco
  • Betcha By Golly Wow--
    Leah LaBelle
  • You Are Everything--
    John Stevens
  • Ain't No Mountain
    High Enough

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    Various Artists
    "American Idol Season 3: Greatest Soul Classics"

    Season 3 of American Idol was pretty good, but not as great as the previous season, Season 2. I had started watching the show, beginning in it's second season. What many felt, that Jennifer Hudson should have won Season 3 (or runner up). She ended up in seventh place. In looking at the remaining 6 left standing, Jennifer by far, was surely much better. What was interesting, was when Hudson was eliminated, she pretty much told everyone (and especially to Simon Cowell), that "you haven't seen the last of me." And she was right. She appeared in the movie Dreamgirls, and took home an Oscar, for Best Supporting Actress (2007).

    The winner and runner up for Season 3, were Fantasia (Barrino) and Diana DeGarmo. I think if Jennifer Hudson had stayed, it would have been a much better showdown between Fantasia and Jennifer. Hudson was the fan favorite, and she probably would have won for the season. But watching both Fantasia and Diana, I was not a huge fan of Fantasia. She came across as the rough-and-tough gal, with the in-your-face attitude, where Diana was the sweet old-fashioned girl. They both had the "looks" for what they were described as. In the end, Fantasia was crowned the winner.

    What was great about the beginning years of Amerian Idol were compilation CDs of the finalists. Season 7 was our first compilation reviewed. After Season 12, the compilations pretty much stopped. I continually watched the show until Season 11. Season 10 was great with Scotty McCreery, and Randy Jackson returned with two new judges, Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. In Season 11, winner Phillip Phillips did not impress me, And Season 12 saw major changes in the show with new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, joining original past judge, Randy Jackson. It was more about the judges from what I learned, with Mariah and Nicki battling out against each other, and poor Keith, stuck in the middle. It was more about the judges than the actual singing. Season 13, both Mariah and Nicki left the show, Randy left (he probably had enough with Mariah and Nicki to quit). Keith Urban returned, likewise Jennifer Lopez. Harry Connick Jr. joined as the new judge. I didn't watch Season 12, but thinking that Harry Connick Jr. would be a huge improvement, I started watching Season 13. But it just disintersted me. The singers were not impressive as in the past seasons that I really enjoyed. Seasons 13, 14 and 15 came and went. American Idol was cancelled. It returned to ABC TV in 2018, and I as I tried to watch the show again, once again, the singers were just not interesting. However, the new three judges did make a great improvement: Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. Seasons 16 to 19 also came and went. Seasons 20 returns in March, 2022. Although I don't watch the show anymore, I'm always curious to learn who won each season.

    What was also great was by the end of each year (around Christmas time; the perfect gift for the music fans), the winners and runner-ups would have their official debut albums, after their their winning accomplishments from the show. Nowadays, it takes longer for the winners and runner-ups to get their debut albums released. Season 16 runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson has yet to release his first full-length album. Season 17 winner Laine Hardy won in 2019, and his debut album was released in 2021, in digital format. (Season 16 winner Maddie Poppe also had her first album released digitally, and as for the actual CD, it is available through her website.) Season 18 winner Just Sam won in 2020, and has yet to see his first album released. Season 19 (2021) was won by Chayce Beckham (no relation to Season 14 runner-up Clark Beckham [2015]; his debut album was released in 2020). Chayce Beckham's debut has yet to be released.

    As for the Season 3 compilation CD, the theme was "Greatest Soul Classics." And for the finalists, there are some good ones... Of course, the leadoff song is by the winner, Fantasia. Her version of Aretha Franklin's "Chain Of Fools" shows her grit as a Soul singer. Her song is good, but she's no Aretha. (The song that really caught everyone's attention by her, was the Irving Berlin classic, "Summertime." The second track was fifth-place finalist, George Huff. From what I remember, George was a pretty good singer. His version of Billy Paul's "Me And Mrs. Jones" is quite good. (I would find his album Miracles [2005] at the local Goodwill. He previously released a Christmas EP, and 2009, a self-titled release. His albums were of Christian music.)

    Diana DeGarmo's version of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" is covers extremely well. She was the runner-up, and next to Fantasia, she was a much better singer than the other finalists who remained, after Jennifer Hudson left. Fourth-place went to La Toya London, another good singer, from what I remembered, as her version of Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes' "If You Don't Know Me By Now" gets a good cover, from another good singer. Then there's the seventh-place finalist (she was robbed, of course) ... Jennifer Hudson. She covers Gladys Knight & The Pips' "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)." She nails it well, and in later years (most recently, in 2021), she would star as Aretha Franklin in the biopic of the Queen of Soul -- Respect.

    Amy Adams finished 10th, as I don't really remember her, most likely she was eliminated early in the season. She covers the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New." Her version is another good song, despite not remembering her, as well as the others. Matt Rogers I do remember, as he was the guy you'd want to hang out and have a beer with. He finished 11th. His version of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" proves that the other finalists were better than him.

    Such as... Jasmine Trias. She was another promising good singer, as she was getting better and better every week in the competition. She ended up in third place. She covers Gladys Knight & The Pips' "Midnight Train To Georgia." Another great cover, from an up and coming good singer. She released one album in 2005, and has worked in music and television, after American Idol. Here is her Wikipedia page, for more info on her.

    Jon Peter Lewis was one of the contestants that grew on you. He wasn't exactly great, and wasn't exactly bad either. He covers the Temptation's My Girl" quite good here. He finished in 8th place. After Idol, he focused on writing his own music, and has released three albums, and two EPs (2006 - 2015).

    Another finalist that left early in the show was 9th-place finalist, Camile Velasco. She was another good singer, and she also had the good looks of that. She covers Aretha's "Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)."

    Leah LaBelle was the first finalist to head home (12th place). She covers another Stylistics song (which I didn't remember), "Betcha By Golly, Wow." Sadly, she passed away in 2018, from a car accident, that also took the life of her husband (her website said boyfriend), Rasual Butler. It was reported that Butler had alcohol, methamphetamine, oxycodone, and marijuana in his system, and a blood alcohol level of 0.118. LaBelle had a blood alcohol level of 0.144 and methamphetamine and amphetamine in her system at the time of the incident. Sad.

    How John Stevens surpassed Jennifer Hudson in sixth place... Oh I remember... he was getting help from the infamous website, Vote For The Worst. They were famous for voting for the least favorite and/or worst singer to stay in the competition. He covers another Stylistics (and another one I didn't know), "You Are Everything." Yep, listening to his song, it's easy to hear that the other contestants on this compilation were by far, much better than him. (Even Matt Rogers). Surprsingly, he released two albums, one was a Christmas release. I was fortunate (if I may use that word), to locate his first album, Red (2005), at a local Dollar Tree store. But the funniest moment I remember about him on the Idol show, was how Simon referred to him, looking like Stan Laurel, of Laurel & Hardy fame. John Stevens had no clue who Stan Laurel was. Way, way, before his time, obviously.

    Oh, and speaking of the "worst" singer... In Season 3, we were introduced to the one, the only, THE LEGEND... William Hung. SHE BANGS!! Ha Ha Ha...

    To observe any or all of the Season 3 contestants, here's the link: American Idol, Season 3.

    Season 3 of Amerian Idol was a good year, despite Jennifer Hudson voted out way too soon. And, there were some decent singers throughout the compeition. It's amazing to see that the other contestants who did not win first or second place, achieved better success than those who did win first and second. Jennifer Hudson was one of those. Another one was Season 5 fourth-place, Chris Daughtry. Also, to mention, Season 6 third-place, Melinda Doolittle. Hard to believe, that where both Daughty and Doolittle ended, they did better than Hudson did. Fantasia has released 7 albums (2004 - 2019), including a Christmas album. She had her good and bad moments. From her Wikipedia page:

    In September 2005, Barrino published a memoir, dictated to a freelance writer, titled Life Is Not a Fairy Tale. In it, she revealed she was functionally illiterate. In 2006, following the release of her autobiography, Barrino's father sued her for $10 million after she said unflattering things about him in the book that he claimed were false.

    On December 9, 2008, Barrino's 6,600-square-foot (610 m2), lakefront home in Charlotte's Glynmoor Lakes at Piper Glen community was in foreclosure and would be up for auction. Her 4,500-square-foot (420 m2) home, also in Piper Glen, is unaffected. The home was due to be auctioned in January 2009 by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office after the company Broward Energy Partners, which had paid over $68,000 of her taxes in 2006, said it had not been fully repaid. The auction earnings were to be used to finish reimbursing the company for the loan, on which Barrino had paid back $10,000. The auction was canceled after Barrino's attorneys and the lender reached an "eleventh-hour deal", the details of which were not disclosed.

    She dated former NFL player Michael Clayton, who was at the time playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    An August 2010 divorce filing in Mecklenburg County District Court alleges that Barrino had a year-long relationship with Antwaun Cook, who was married, bringing up the subject of alienation of affection laws in North Carolina. Barrino claimed the two began dating after Cook and his wife separated. In December 2010, a North Carolina judge ruled in Barrino's favor, stating the Cooks' separation date was September 14, 2009, and not June 2010 as Paula previously claimed.

    On August 9, 2010, Barrino was hospitalized in Pineville, North Carolina, due to overdosing on aspirin and an unknown sleep aid.

    In December 2011 she gave birth to a son.

    On July 18, 2015, she married Kendall Taylor, a businessman.

    In 2019, Barrino came under fire when, in an interview on The Breakfast Club radio show, she claimed that women were not to lead their household and that the reason so many women were single is because they're trying to be the leader of a relationship, a position that should fall to the man, calling it a "generational curse" and saying women should submit to their male partners.

    In November 2020, Barrino revealed that she was expecting her first child with husband Kendall Taylor. In May 2021, she gave birth to a daughter.

    Diana DeGarmo has released two albums, and has worked in musical theatre, television and film, USO tours, and charities. She is married to another American Idol contestant, Ace Young. They were married in 2013. Here is her Wikipedia page.

    As a fan of American Idol, listening to the past contestants on these compilation CDs are a treat. It was great watching these contestants, as some were getting better. The downfall (like any season), is watching your favorites get voted off, leaving the show. Some left way too early. Some would leave where you would say, "Yeah, their time has come." It was because the other contestants were better. The shockers of leaving way too early was clear for Jennifer Hudson. It is also to learn by reading the Season's Wikipedia pages, of what has become of the contestants. Season 3 was in the year 2004. It's been 18 years since. Although American Idol returned in 2016, the competition just isn't like it was, like in the early years. Seasons 2 to 10 were the ones to watch. With Season 20 about to start, maybe I'll watch it. Maybe not. When I did watch (off-and-on), I enjoyed the newest judges, of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. Katy was always on the up-and-up. Lionel is the "veteran." Luke, (which I was never a huge fan of), was mostly the sidekick for both Katy and Lionel. I'm just concerned of the contestants, in whether or not that they are talented in... Singing.

    In the meantime, I am curious in hearing the winners and runner-ups from each season. I am still waiting for... Caleb Hutchinson (Season 16 Runner-Up), Laine Hardy (Season 17 Winner), Alejando Aranda (Season 17 Runner-Up), Just Sam (Season 18 Winner), Arthur Gunn (Season 18 Runner-Up), Chayce Beckham (Season 19 Winner), Willie Spence (Season 19 Runner-Up). However, most of the names listed have released music in Digital form. Aranda has recorded under a different name: Scarypoolparty. The music source called "the CD" seems to be disappearing these days. Remember when vinyl disappeared and was replaced by CD?

    Have we seen the "best singers" in American Idol .... recently? Music has changed drastically since the first 10 seasons. Maybe it's for the youngsters, with the Rap music and all. What about the other show, The Voice ? I really never watched an entire season. And Nashville Star sure was a good show for up-and-coming Country singers. (Oh wait, Country music has changed too.) Remember The Great American Band ? That lasted only one season. That was a good show also.

    I guess we're still waiting in music... for the.. Next Big Thing...

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