There he was: A hip, beat-box singer warbling "This Is My Now," the winning entry of the American Idol Season 6 song competition. While the tune was ill-suited for Blake Lewis, 17-year-old phenom Jordin Sparks grabbed hold of the syrupy ballad and rode it all the way to victory.

Perhaps, some American Idol observers later suggested, "This Is My Now" wasn't really the songwriting contest's top song. Luanne Hunt, a Hesperia songwriter, speaker and author, believes the best of the bunch never made their way to Idol contestants' lips.

"They were lacking," Hunt said of the official top 20 songs.

Over the course of the contest, a number of the thousands of competitors -- Hunt says at least 40,000 entries were received -- shared their hopes on a contest forum. And when the results were posted, the message board was flooded with comments of frustration and disappointment.

"Everybody was having fits," said Hunt, who participated in the contest. "Some of those [Top 20] songs were not reflecting the journey at all. Everybody was heartbroken."

Subsequently, many of the contestants posted links to their songs, and many were outstanding compositions, some clearly superior to those selected by Idol, Hunt said.

And so an idea was born. Hunt decided to create a CD of her favorite songs that didn't make the cut. The 10-song "Hits They Missed!" is now available.

"We got dozens of song entries, but we narrowed it down to 10 that we thought were great songs."

Hunt hired Nashville producer Sean Gasaway, who she connected with on the message board, to re-record song entries that needed sprucing up.

One of those was "You Should Dream," a song by novice songwriter Dana Lamb.

"Halfway through I got the goosebumps," Hunt said when she first heard Lamb's demo. "I contacted Sean and said you've got to hear this song by Dana Lamb."

After Gasaway added orchestration and a rhythm track provided by Nashville studio musicians, the result awed Hunt.

"It just blew me away when it was done."

Other songs were written by Gasaway and Brad Bertram, Hunt and her husband Steve Hunt, Patrick Hurd, David Kraut, Jamie Southworth, Iggy Taylor, Heidi Thompson, Geoff Thurman, Nancy Vogl and Leslie Bowe.

Hunt believes she has "10 Motown-quality songs," tunes that will captivate the listener. The CD also proves that the American Idol audience may not have heard the cream of the crop.

"There's some great music out there, and I think it proves there's some great music out there. It's a real solid project."

For more information, log onto melodiesthatmatter.com.