Ah, American Idol with its millions of votes cast every week! How can anyone translate this into record sales? With the ever growing wireless communication industry and anyone from six to one hundred years old having a cell phone is it any wonder there are millions of votes? Was there ever a question that many of these votes were repeats?
American Idol is a very popular TV program that in all honesty gives some aspiring young artists a chance at their dreams that otherwise might not been realized. I have never personally known anyone who was a contestant on American Idol but I’m an avid fan of the show. I know that it is essentially a popularity contest but for the most part America gets it right. That said, being the best singer/performer on American Idol is far from having a successful recording and entertaining career.
For example, let’s look at four contestants from American Idols’ 5th season; the winner, Taylor Hicks, the runner-up Katherine McPhee, and fellow finalists Chris Daughtry and Bucky Covington.
The winner of AI season 5 was Taylor Hicks and second went to Katherine McPhee. Both of these people are fantastic singers and entertainers. I will never ever forget Katherine’s arrangement and performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”! Breathtaking! Taylor’s soulful style made him fan favorite from the very beginning. So why are these two very talented singers without a contract after dismal sales from their first albums? It is the pop genre in which they or their managers chose to perform. I believe the pop genre is the single most competitive music market in the US.
Look at the two also-rans Chris and Bucky. Bucky finished eighth and Chris finished third or fourth yet Chris is going great guns and Bucky, although it took some time, is starting to show real promise. Chris in the rock arena and Bucky of course in the country arena show how the different genres and competition or lack thereof affect sales.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe for a moment that Kat and Taylor are finished but if they stay in the pop genre it will be a very tough uphill climb. Kat has one of the most clear and strong voices I have heard in quite some time. She is so at home on a stage it is scary and music flows from her almost effortlessly. I believe her forte will be on Broadway or stage plays of some sort. Taylor is a little harder to figure but if he finds his niche I think he will excel.
American Idol will not produce award winning, platinum selling artists like Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson every year. They do, however, bring to us some very refreshing and memorable new talent and give at least 12 people a shot at their dream!