‘American Idol’ alumni notes: Lee DeWyze, Pia Toscano, Kris Allen

Pia took on the anthem.

We are kicking off this week with “American Idol,” and this time around we are focusing on a pair of past champs — along with someone who was eliminated from their show far too early.

Pia’s National Anthem – First, we turn to Pia Toscano — mostly because the season 10 star completely totally rocked out while performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” while performing at the NASCAR Kobalt 400 in Las Vegas on Sunday.

While we know sometimes people prefer to have the bigger names like Steven Tyler tackle the song, can’t you just have Pia do it every time? She is able to hit some of the high notes better than just about anyone else in the business, and we were even more impressed here with how she kept her composure in an environment that both had to be extremely noisy as well as hot.

Lee DeWyze rocks out a new tune – It’s been a while since we’ve written about Lee, but it is thankfully worth the wait.

The season 9 champ was back close by his hometown of Chicago over the weekend, and at Viper Alley he performed at one point a brand-new tune that really is quite good — better even than most of what he heard on his debut album. We’re not positive on the title yet (though “Open Your Eyes” seems like a strong candidate), but we like that Lee is going into a sound here reminiscent of Mumford & Sons along with some of the other fold-rock bands out there.

It may sound strange, but it may have helped Lee musically to get away from “Idol” after winning it. The machine for whatever reason took away some of his edge, and this song feels a bit more jaded — and we couldn’t be happier about it. You can hear the tune below via the Red Beanie Blog:

Kris Allen stars up some radio work – In case you haven’t heard, Kris Allen is getting set to launch his brand-new single “The Vision of Love” later this month — and he is already trying to start up some radio promotion for it.

In a new post on his Twitter page, Kris did his best to explain the biggest trouble in doing radio — having to be able to spout off so many words with any music:

“Did a bunch of radio liners today in the studio. My voice is more tired from talking for 2 hours than it would be from singing for 2 hours … This is why @RyanSeacrest is a star. He does way more than that in the mornings and then does Idol. How does he do it?#ryanseacrestisarobot

Of course, check back throughout the week for more of the latest “Idol” news!

Photo: Fox

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