‘American Idol’ notes: New Phillip Phillips and James Durbin music

Want to have a listening party on Saturday? So long as you love music from a couple of “American Idol” stars, you’re going to have plenty of reason to smile now courtesy of our latest edition of the show notes.

Since his album cover is to the left, let’s kick off with some 90-second song previews from reigning champ Phillip Phillips’ November 19 debut “The World From the Side of the Moon.” Before listening to this album there were some concerns that the label was going to try and mainstream him up a little too much for his own good, but the best part of the disc is that the entire thing feels completely natural. All the songs are fairly catchy, derive from Phillip’s musical influence, and are most importantly just a fun listen. It’s hard to make a good album in such a short amount of time, but this is easily the strongest disc thus far that the show has put out since they started working with Interscope, right above Haley Reinhart’s underrated “Listen Up!” disc.

One thing we do know for sure is that “American Idol” is willing to do everything that it can at the moment to use Phillip, having already put “Home” in just about every promo that it can for the new season.

Now, we turn to season 10 star, James Durbin, who is joining Kris Allen and Scotty McCreery as former contestants getting into the holiday spirit at the moment. While James does not really seem to be interested in putting out a full album or an EP at the moment, this preview for his new song “Santa Claus is Back in Town” is pretty awesome. We like that it is almost heavy metal meets rockabilly, and it is a slightly different sound than we have heard from him before.

This track will be available on iTunes beginning on November 13.

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