TV on the Radio: Listen to New Tracks from Idol's Kris Allen, Haley Reinhart, Fantasia, Pia Toscano and More!

American Idol is over — shhhh! don’t tell my heart! — and The Voice doesn’t exactly trumpet the post-show output of its alumni. So what’s a reality-singing competition junkie supposed to do to discover new tunes from the shows’ most-talented artists?

Welcome to TV on the Radio, TVLine’s brand new roundup of current and kick-awesome tracks from singers who got their careers underway beneath the unwavering scrutiny of the TV cameras.

I’m in an old-school kinda mood, so for this edition, let’s stay inside The Concert Hall That Kelly Clarkson Built and limit the list to Idol grads. Sound good? Of course it does — as soon as you start pressing PLAY!

KRIS ALLEN, “WAVES” (ABOVE)
American Idol‘s Season 8 champ looks and sounds great in any color, but the moody, blue-hued video for his new single “Waves” (from the excellent album Letting You In) is an especially nice accompaniment to a sweeping, Tedder-esque track about powerful romantic love. Make sure you’re next to the fainting couch when Kris hits those falsetto notes!

HALEY REINHART, “BETTER”
Season 10’s third-place finisher follows up the breakout success of her Extra Gum ad — yep, her rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” cracked the Yop 20 of Billboard’s AC chart — with the bangin’ title track from her sophomore set. The Slayer’s husky growl explodes on a retro, horn-infused chorus in which she gets her groove back by giving the kiss-off to a do-wrong lover. Spoiler alert: You’re unlikely to find anything better coming to radio anytime soon. Programmers, recognize!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeoQx1Ecbhs

FANTASIA, “UGLY”
Wait, did the Season 3 champ just go… country? Oh, you know she did… and she proves absolutely transcendent in the genre, you probably won’t be surprised to hear. It helps that “Ugly” gives Fantasia the ear-wormiest hook of her entire post-Idol career — and when she takes it to church and the chorus kicks in in the back half, I defy you not to throw a Gospel hand in the air.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7YTDzhrBDQ

PIA TOSCANO, “YOU’LL BE KING”
I won’t lie: I let out an excited expletive as Pia’s voice crumbled at the end of the first chorus of this sparse, piano-driven ballad. Almost crushing in its intimacy, this tale of a love gone wrong allows the ninth-place finisher from Season 10 to prove that her ouster was grossly premature, and move one step closer to fulfilling her destiny as a rightful diva in a chart filled with too many pretenders.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PmU3zorYeE

DAVID COOK, “BROKEN WINDOWS”
You’ll recognize the Season 7 champ’s gritty rock vocals from the first note — and this track from Cook’s Digital Vein CD percolates nicely with a pretty, gritty chorus and a very cool staccato bridge.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96VI2cWzhBs

KREE HARRISON, “THIS OLD THING”
We’ve waited a long time for music from the Season 12 runner-up, and this soulful, uptempo jam — complete with Memphis-y horns and a shuffling beat — puts Kree’s distinctive, supple tone at front and center (right where it should be).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCEf6abMUmo

JESSICA MEUSE, “RIO GRANDE”
OK, this ditty is a few months old, but this country travelogue about a can’t-quit-you kind of relationship has a sweeping chorus that — just like the love Jessica is singing about – is bigger than Texas.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14k5XBTdIKU

JENA IRENE ASCIUTTO, “INNOCENCE”
The Season 13 runner-up — who strangely, wasn’t part of the series finale earlier this month — comes out guns blazing with a wickedly crescendoing track (and dramatic video) about one naive girl’s broken heart.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APWpWnWpJlo

THE KNUCKLES, “LOVE POTION” (NSFW)
Longtime readers of my Idol coverage know I’m almost unhealthily obsessed with Season 4 semifinalist Aloha Mischeaux (who later changed the spelling to Mi’Sho). But this dreamy, drumline-infused jam from her new duo The Knuckles — a hybrid of jazz and hip-hop and something otherworldly — proves maybe I’ve been onto something for the last decade.
https://soundcloud.com/theknucklesband/love-potion-main-v2-1

Your turn. What do you think of the aforementioned tracks? Which Idol and Voice alum are blowing up your speakers? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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64 Comments
  1. Haylscat says:

    TV on the Radio is a GREAT idea. Thank you so much for adding this segment.

  2. Ethan says:

    Yes!!! I’m so excited particularly for Haley’s single! Great idea for this segment/

    • Emma says:

      I pre-ordered Haley’s album “Better” yesterday and I got the single “Better” as well as her absolutely gorgeous cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” right away. I’m so excited for Thursday night when the rest of the album drops!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh

  3. amy says:

    Thank you for coming up with TV on the Radio!. So many reality show contestants are releasing great music…and with a lot of it overlooked by radio, this is a great way of learning about the different directions these artists are going in — and maybe finding new music to download/stream :)

    I love Kris’ new album and I’m excitedly awaiting Haley’s when it gets released next week.

    They’re my two favorites, but I liked all of the songs that were posted. Which doesn’t happen very often,. I’m definitely going to check out Jena’s EP and Kree’s album when they get released.

    Really hoping that TV on the Radio becomes a TVLine regular feature!
    .

  4. Brent says:

    You give me Kris Allen and Haley Reinhart as the first 2 entries? Thank you Michael Slezak.

    And, a confession: I’ve never been the biggest Fantasia fan. But “Ugly” has been in heavy rotation for me since she performed it on the Idol finale. Such an incredible song!

    • I’m neither a Fantasia fan nor a country fan but Ugly is one of my favorite recent singles; it really shows off her emotional gifts as well as her vocal range plus it tells a great story – with the right push it could be a true hit for her.

    • Ben says:

      Fantasia song is great!. I have it on my list with PMJ/Joey Cook’ covers “say my name” and “hey there Delilah”.

    • jalahyacinth says:

      YES. Agree with all of this. Her voice has always bugged me (sadly, because she covers some amazing songs and has done some amazing things), but I LOVE Ugly.

  5. Steven says:

    I was so in love with Kris Allen. I just love his voice. I’ll have to check out his new stuff. This song is really beautiful.

  6. Jeff says:

    What about Lee Dewyze who released an album back in February called Oil & Water?

    • Yes, his new music video for ‘Stone’ just came out, and it is breathtaking!

    • Luann Chmelovski says:

      I agree. Lee Dewyze deserves to be heard, and the Stone video is surreal. So poetic. The music on his new album is fantastic. Most under appreciated Idol winner. Season 9 was all about Simon leaving the show, and the winner was an after-thought that year.

    • Temperance says:

      I need to go listen to that. I have Lee’s two albums he released previous to Idol, and they are excellent. I’m not sure why he did what he did on Idol, because it didn’t play to any of his strengths. He’s actually really good!

  7. Simon says:

    TV On The Radio is a great band! That is all.

  8. Idol fan says:

    Kris Allen is awesome. Probably the most under rated Idol winner ever. All the success in the world Kris!

  9. Reality TV Tom says:

    I have been liking Brooke White and her Jack and White stuff especially.

  10. ‘TV on the Radio’ is the perfect name. Really super idea to do this new feature! I often forget about most of these people not long after the show is over, and radio seems to want us to only hear a small handful of select artists no matter where they come from. Love it!

    I’m really loving Kris Allen’s ‘Waves’ (and the whole album) and Haley’s ‘Better’. I’m going to have to give the others a second listen.

  11. Beth says:

    Nothing better than coming to my favorite TV website & seeing Kris Allen’s face! A happy & unexpected surprise!

  12. Tusk says:

    You can hear Haley’s Full album A WEEK EARLY. Find a touchtunes Jukebox near you, my predicted favorites are “Listen” and “I Belong To You” .

    “Listen” was placed by Haley’s publishing company, Ole, on an advertisement for James Cameron’s Star filled ecological documentary, “Years of Living Dangerously”.

    It’s a fantastic song, easily my favorite from Better :)

  13. Jabb says:

    Y’all – listen to Jena Irene’s “Wait” – such a good hook. Thank me later ;)

  14. Jenny says:

    This was awesome! Much needed post Idol. Thank you!

  15. Dinna says:

    Lee DeWyze put out a great album called Oil and Water and recently released a music video for the track “Stone” which is visual feast. Follow @LeeDeWyze to get the link and give him a listen. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  16. Ginny says:

    TV on The Radio is a great idea. Thanks for showcasing great talent and new music from the Idol alum. I love Kris Allen and his music. Did not know he could get better, but he certainly did. He is a fantastic singer and songwriter. I love new single Waves, but his entire album “Letting You In” is fantastic.

  17. Thank you, Michael Slezak! TV on the Radio is ‘awesome’!

  18. Debbie Y. says:

    I heard one of Haley’s songs, “Show Me Your Moves”, in a commercial the other day. I think it was for Chase Bank.

  19. moonrain says:

    What about Angie Miller’s very good new project, as Zealyn? The rebranding and genre shifting was as refreshing as surprising.
    Check out ‘Talk:Listen”, and “Sleep on it”. Outstanding material by Zealyn.

  20. Rhonda K says:

    I adore Kris Allen and David Cook!! They both have EXCELLENT new CDs out. Thank you for this article!!

  21. Currently blowing up my speakers (literally) with James Durbin’s latest single he released just a few weeks ago. It’s called Smackdown and it rocks harder than anything I’ve ever heard from anyone to come out of Idol:

  22. More rock as this list is rather devoid of it:

    Torches by Daughtry. I’ve included it as many here will probably consider this “real rock” even though I personally don’t (too poppy, not heavy enough):

    Hanging with the Band by Caleb Johnson. For those who like the classic style rock which I do. It’s good but not commercial stuff, he’s not gonna break out into modern rock by doing stuff like this:

    Here I Come by Constantine Maroulis. Another classic style rock tune, it’s not bad but I think Caleb does this stuff better:

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/here-i-come-single/id1076002285

  23. Oh and I almost forgot the latest from Allison Iraheta with her band Halo Circus. It’s called Desire. I like their sound and Allison sounds like Gwen Stefani in her prime, but I find their songwriting, to date, quite poor. Desire is the best original song I’ve heard from them so far so they are improving. But the best thing they’ve ever put out is still their cover of Duran Duran’s Do You Believe In Shame. This band has promise but is still along way away from breaking out into modern alt. rock:

  24. More from the “rock idols”:

    Hanging with the Band by Caleb Johnson. No YouTube video. It’s a classic rock song, you’ll find it at the usual digital outlets (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify). Good by not commercial, Caleb will never break into modern hard rock by doing stuff like this.

    Here I Come by Constantine Maroulis. Again no YouTube video but you can get it from the usual digital outlets. Another classic rock tune but I think Caleb does classic rock better.

    Torches by Daughtry. Not bad but not heavy enough for me:

  25. Marla says:

    Great idea Michael. And you picked the best first. Kris Allen’s fabulous CD, “Letting You In”. Waves is a great song and the video is cool blue.

  26. lori says:

    Thanks for doing this. Lots of good music out there from Idol and Voice alums.

  27. Becky says:

    Thank you. Joshua Ledet’s Love Can Do is awesome too

  28. jabs says:

    A Michael Slezak article about former Idols and not a single mention of Allison Iraheta?

    Alright, fess up, who replaced him with Folgers Crystals?

  29. YES!!! TV on the Radio is exactly the sort of thing I hoped you’d do Michael (and I think it’s long overdue.) Using your powers for good! This was my first year watching AI and I’m astonished by how many times I see on the internet “I wonder what happened to so-and-so?” Well duh people, use the internet. (In this case, someone was wondering about Melinda Doolittle.)
    Some others to add to the list (I see Alexia has already added Allison and Halo Circus):

    Joey Cook is working on a new album, the first single Bones features Quentin Alexander on guest vocals, it’s a very different mood and tone to anything she did on Idol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJNvVoCx1LI
    She’s also raising funds for the new album http://www.joeycookmusic.com/

    Quentin Alexander’s new single, “Didn’t Cha Know” is one of the most gorgeous things I’ve heard in a while: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15q-KcTv5fU

  30. Terry says:

    HALEY!!!

  31. HAP says:

    Still wonder how Hayley did not win that year. Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, seriously?

  32. abz says:

    Judith Hill released her album Back in Time (or I think Prince released it?) last year, but sadly no mention of it on The Voice. I love the song “Cure”.
    Taylor Phelan from The Voice just released a new album this month with some pretty good songs.
    Tessanne Chin released a great single recently called “Love Suicide”
    Man, The Voice really needs to start supporting their artists and give them a platform to debut their new music. Everyone talks about how great of an opportunity it is, but it could be even better if the show supported their alumni, while also cultivating new talent
    Love that new Haley Reinhart song. Can’t wait for the album.
    I love this TV on the Radio idea, Michael. It’ll be nice to get updates on The Voice and American Idol alumni.

  33. yoe says:

    On pre order my itunes “Better” copy… Haley’s music is always a pleasure to hear..

  34. tealeaves says:

    This is a great idea! I watched all the videos. I look forward to seeing this thread again. There are so many talented artists that have been on these shows.I enjoy hearing what they are doing now.
    David Cook, Haley Reinhart, and Kris Allen are 3 of my favorites from Idol. This was a good start for TV on the Radio.

  35. Rutabaga says:

    Look up Jessica Cabral “They Told Me”. You will not regret it!

  36. David Miller says:

    I know not everyone liked Rayvon, but I thought he was an amazing singer who never really caught on with the crowd. Anyway, I very much appreciate the message of this one:

  37. 2young2bwise says:

    Great idea, Michael! Love the Kris Allen single.

  38. Larry Ziegler says:

    Dear Michael,

    My daughter and I are loyal American Idol fans as well as loyal fans of TVLine. Please be aware that your voice and Melinda’s extends overseas. We live in Israel and totally enjoy reading your articles and watching the videos. Your recent idea of presenting recent videos of past Idol contenders is great. Unfortunately, on some of the videos I received the notice that it wasn’t set up to be viewed out of the US. Can this be remedied? Keep up the good work. Larry

  39. Leticia Maltese says:

    Thank you for doing this. It is one of those things you didn’t know you need until you come across it.
    <3