State of Play #011 "American Idol: Their CCM Legacy"
by Andrew Funderburk on 2015-06-05 09:57:58


In the recent announcement of American Idol stating that their last season will be next year, the wheels started turning through the artists that AI brought to the music scene. There were some winners who went on to be successful, while others seem to have disappeared. There are also those who went on to be successful despite not placing even in the top 5. While American Idol’s last season probably should have been a few years ago, it is fun to look back on the memories and reminisce of them. I’d like to take the time to do that with those artists that AI propelled into CCM and beyond.

The first AI alumni that would come to the mind of many would be Mandisa. Performing for season 5 of the show, her story of forgiveness towards remarks made by Simon Cowell were an inspiration to many. Her debut album was released in 2007 and from there Mandisa took off. To date, she has four albums under her belt, as well as, a Christmas album. More than that, she has been featured on shows like Good Morning America and The Doctors, while being a Grammy award winner.

A more recent notable CCM alumni would be Colton Dixon. Dixon was on season 11 ultimately achieving 7th place. He had a bold stance for his beliefs, and while warned multiple times by American Idol that it could cost him the ultimate AI crown, he continued standing in his faith. He has two releases to date, which are The Messenger and Anchor. He has also appeared on The Ellen Show and won a Dove award.

The third place finalist of season 8 remained somewhat dormant from the music scene after releasing a country album in 2010 titled My Best Days, which received wide commercial success. Between the time of 2010 and 2014, Danny Gokey released an EP and a new single, while being one of the opening acts for Taylor Swift’s Speak Now World Tour. After four years since his debut record, Gokey released his second full-length project Hope in Front of Me, which was successful on CCM radio.

Chris Sligh from season 6 made a splash when he came onto the CCM scene with debut album Running Back to You, with his first official single being Empty Me. In 2010, he released his second album The Anatomy of Broken. Sligh also made an acting debut on the movie October Baby and in 2012 released a worship album titled For Our God and King.

While contributing more to mainstream country, season 4’s winner, Carrie Underwood, has produced a few singles that have impacted CCM radio and the country music scene. These singles include, her platinum single Jesus, Take the Wheel. Other singles include songs like Temporary Home, the powerful hymn How Great Thou Art that Carrie sung at the Grand Ole Opry, and her most recent single, Something in the Water.

There are a few artists who contributed to the world of Christian music, but may not consistently be on mainstream Christian radio like others were. Jason Castro is one of these artists. His second release Who I Am was released to the Christian market. Another artist would be Melinda Doolittle, who was a back-up singer for multiple artists. She was on season 6, ultimately landing in third place on AI. She debuted with Coming Back to you in 2009, and since then has written a book and an EP in 2013. Michael Sarver from season 8 signed to Dream Records, which is connected to the Dream Center in Los Angeles. While off the radar, and dropped from Dream Records due to low record sales, Sarver is making a comeback this year with a new country album.


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