I really enjoyed the ballads you sang during your AI run and feel you got the short end of things from the judges at times - you have a great voice and I love listening to you sing those powerful ballads you sang on the show.
I've noticed with singers who leave AI such as with Katherine McPhee that great singers can be asked to change their style in the recording industry to please them saying the fans will love this or that but really this is not true at all.
For example the record people had Katherine singing a lot of RAP\hip hop synchronized stuff on her CDs when in her AI appearances the number one single in the United States that year was her AI version of Over the Rainbow - a beautiful full voiced ballad. She does best when utilizing her full voice with long beautiful notes.
I feel the same is true with you - people fell in love with your voice and the song selections you decided on for AI
The POP style with its quick syncopated notes is OK but I don't feel it is really you. Your voice is at its best when it is full on and has a tremendous quality that shows power and tenderness at times that cannot be duplicated in a POP type song that only allows short bursts of vocals at a time. The great songs on your site from AI for example are all great as sung by you. I feel some are better than the original artist sang them such as Bleeding Love.
As you know you hold a note and sometimes let it slide to another note in the same breath with great power - I think you excel in this and are one of the best singers on the planet if you let your voice carry like that.
McPhee never did sing a song after AI that let her voice shine. They had her doing POP songs with quick vocal bursts but nothing really over all that showed off her pretty voice.
I think you need to find (and you would be so incredibly benefitted by) a record producer or produce your own 'album' that focuses on powerful ballads of your final choosing mixed with tender songs where the notes are held for a time showing off your beautiful and powerful voice.
A good example of content control although she has a different voice and style might be Katie Melua - she controls what she sings - I can't imagine her letting a producer tell her what to sing.
So don't be afraid to tell the record producers to take a flying jump - or maybe in a kinder tone tell them you need to sing the great songs you choose - or possibly write yourself - like the great songs that people fell in love with on AI
Don't change yourself to please them - the music fans are behind you all the way !
Having song writers write for you will be the challenge - reach out in the music community and ask a few what great ballads and tender songs they might write just for you !
I hope this helps and I look forward to your future powerful and tender CD !
Let your voice shine Hollie - I think you will be a lot happier too being yourself!