I didn’t watch a lick of it, but it’s pretty common knowledge that the most recent season of “American Idol” wasn’t exactly it’s best. Everything from shoehorning Ellen DeGeneres in as a fourth judge to extreme apathy on the part of Simon Cowell has been blamed. Personally, I think it’s a mix of general wear and tear, some viewer burnout, and most importantly, a lack of compelling contestants.
While “Idol” has made it’s fair share of changes for the show’s upcoming 10th season, the problem of what to do with the show’s 9th season winner still exists-and boy, is it a problem. Show of hands-how many of you know that this year’s champ Lee DeWyze, released an album this past week? Do any of you care? Judging from early estimations, it sure doesn’t seem that way. DeWyze’s self titled debut is scheduled to finish with about 40-50,000 units sold in it’s first week, barely scratching the Top Ten. Are DeWyze’s weak sales a function of a dying industry? To a certain extent, yeah. But consider this-last year’s winner, Kris Allen, scored a debut with double that amount, and last year’s runner-up, Adam Lambert, debuted with quadruple that amount. I think DeWyze’s problem runs a little deeper than just music industry issues. First off, his album is the last on 19 Management (the company run by “Idol” founder Simon Fuller)’s deal with Sony Music. Future “Idol”-related released will be released on Interscope, which is owned by Universal Music (Interscope president Jimmy Iovine will also have a “mentorship” role on the show). So who knows how much incentive there is to make the album a success.
A bigger-perhaps the biggest-problem is that DeWyze is completely fucking anonymous (in talent and in image), and his first single, “Sweet Serendipity” doesn’t do him any favors. Initially, it sounds like Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” and then morphs into a song reminiscent of The Script’s “Breakeven” or Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying” (which was originally performed by…The Script). Yeah, when you’re trying to make a radio hit, one way to go is to try to sound like everything else on the radio. But this is a bit much.
I’m not sure how many “Idol” performers are still under major label contract, but I wouldn’t be surprised if DeWyze, Kris Allen (whose album didn’t even go Gold) and Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta (whose recent album nosedived off the Billboard chart in a month) find themselves scurrying for a new deal soon.
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