After crying, clawing, crooning and sometimes caterwauling their way into the top 12, American Idol contestants face their toughest challenge – severing ties with the reality-show behemoth and becoming successful musicians in the real world. Few have succeeded, many have failed, all have at least tried (for better or, mostly, for worse). But there have been some musical diamonds in the rough. With the 13th season of American Idol kicking off this week, here are 15 songs by Idol alums that remind us the music launched by the show doesn't always suck. Sometimes these songs are quite good.
By Katy Kroll