Two former American Idols release albums this week: Paris Bennett and Kimberley Locke. USA Today's Elysa Gardner and Steve Jones, respectively, take a listen and review them below:
Paris Bennett, Princess P:
The latest American Idol also-ran (last yearâ€™s fifth-place finisher) to strike out on her own is an adorable 18-year-old, who recorded this debut on an independent label owned by her uncle (later attracting distribution from a much larger indie, TVT Records). If the results are less polished and predictable than a typical Idol affair, Bennett and her collaborators, who include BeyoncÃ© colleague Jon Jon Traxx (and, briefly, fellow Idol Kevin â€œChicken Littleâ€ Covais, who â€œrapsâ€ on the brief, appropriately titled Let Me Rap), tend to cling to tried-and-true contemporary pop-R&B formulas.
Still, the album offers enough homespun charm to leave you rooting for the plucky upstart.
Kimberley Locke, Based on a True Story
The former American Idol contender (third place behind Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken in Season 2) takes the pain of a shattered relationship and turns it into an edgy, rock-fueled journey through heartbreak and redemption. Locke, who co-wrote most of the songs on her second album, uses her powerhouse vocals to unleash pent-up emotions about love gone bad and finds strength in learning to trust herself.