Performances at the 2009 American Music Awards included comeback routines from Rihanna, Janet Jackson, and Whitney Houston — but that didn’t matter so much to those who watched to see Adam Lambert or Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood or Daughtry. Because for some, those enamored with tracking the success of the American Idol alumni, Sunday night’s American Music Awards was all about seeing Adam Lambert or hearing Daughtry perform from his latest album or even getting to see Season 8’s winner, Kris Allen, present an award. Among the performers at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles for the 37th Annual American Music Awards was Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, and Adam Lambert. So American Idol, which has had a major impact on the music industry since its inception in 2001, was well represented at Sunday’s AMAs.
Kelly Clarkson performed “Already Gone” from her March release “All I Ever Wanted.” The song has already peaked on the Billboard Charts (#17 on the Hot 100) and is on its way down (currently at #20). But Kelly Clarkson’s performance was nothing short of excellent as she showed everyone why she walked away the winner of American Idol Season 1. “Already Gone” co-writer Ryan Tedder, lead singer of OneRepublic and also at the AMAs to perform, has to be proud that his co-writer has now placed three songs in the Top 20 from “All I Ever Wanted,” including the #1 smash “My Life Would Suck Without You.”
Carrie Underwood never disappoints, either. She performed “Cowboy Casanova,” her first single off her latest album, “Play On,” which was released at the beginning of November. Although some of her music seems to be edging toward more of a pop country sound, she’s still the girl American Idol judge Simon Cowell assured the audiences in Season 4 would become the most successful of all the American Idol winners. Judging by all the awards she’s won since winning Season 4, not to mention her total album sales (which are just a couple hundred thousand behind Kelly Clarkson’s), Simon Cowell is being proven correct. “Cowboy Casanova” hit #1 on Billboard’s Country Songs chart and #11 on the Hot 100 singles chart.
Daughtry performed “Life After You” from his sophomore release “Leave This Town,” which came out in August. Daughtry is the biggest selling non-winning American Idol alumnus and his broad appeal may see him catch and surpass both Clarkson and Underwood in the future (but that remains to be seen). “Life After You” was Daughtry at his best and most still wonder how he was ever voted off the show at number four. Daughtry’s first single for “Leave This Town,” “No Surprise,” peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 chart. “Life After You” is the second release from the album. Another release, “Tennessee Line,” which Daughtry co-wrote with country legend Vince Gill was released to country radio and thus far has made it to #19 on the County Songs chart.
Between Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, and Kelly Clarkson, they have amassed six #1 albums and sold nearly 26 million albums to date (in the United States). There is a gap of less than 95,000 between Underwood and Clarkson. Between the three, they have won 13 American Music Awards as well.
Of all the American Idol winners and contestants that have gone on to great success (Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino, David Cook, Clay Aiken, David Archuleta, and Kellie Pickler, just to name a few), none have generated the amount of excitement that Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert seems to have engendered. The 27-year-old glam rocker performed the first single, “For Your Entertainment,” from his album of the same name at Sunday’s American Music Awards and the media couldn’t (wouldn’t?) stop talking about it. After he pranced and screamed across the stage, the media still can’t (won’t?) stop talking about the performance (all that simulated sex set the internet on fire), him, and his new album, which was released the day after the American Music Awards aired. “For Your Entertainment” was released two weeks ago and jumped into the Billboard Hot 100 at #84.
From the looks of things, American Idol has not only produced talent, they have launched the careers of several artists that have made a considerable impact on the music industry. And not just in pop or rock but in several genres, from the aforementioned pop (Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Elliott Yamin) and rock (Daughtry, David Cook, Bo Bice) to R&B (Jordin Sparks, Fantasia Barrino, Reuben Studdard) to country (Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, Josh Gracen, Bucky Covington) to contemporary Christian (Chris Sligh, Mandisa). And it looks as if most of these artists are just getting started…
Other familiar American Idol faces at the 2009 American Music Awards included host Ryan Seacrest, who presented the Artist of the Year award and introduced Adam Lambert, and ex-judge Paula Abdul, who was also on hand to present an award.
For a list of nominees and winners, see 2009 American Music Awards winners.
“2009 American Music Awards,” ABC Television