OFFSTAGE: Casey James Gives Best Effort After 'American Idol'

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Making it big in the music business after winning American Idol is tough enough. So imagine how hard it would be to sell millions, or even thousands, of records if you didn't win.

Some contestants have gone on to do pretty well in country music without having been crowned the Idol, like Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington from season five, Phil Stacey from season six and Danny Gokey from season eight.

However, right now, my favorite new music from past Idol contestants comes from two not-quite-winners, Casey James and Josh Gracin.

James has released his new music video for "Let's Don't Call It a Night," which is calling his "best effort to stay relevant post-Idol." I typically don't like songs that have a mere "You're Hot" theme, but it's hard to deny his sexy factor in this one.

Then there's also Josh Gracin from way back in season two. His song and video is for an ode to the never-forgotten heroes in the military, "Can't Say Goodbye." When I hear Gracin sing, it's so hard to believe that with a voice like his, he's only had one No. 1 hit ("Nothin' to Lose" in 2004).

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