One of the more fascinating elements of the American Idol phenomenon for me is watching the chart success (or failure, in most cases) once they leave the show. This becomes even more interesting for me because I have rarely picked the winner early on, because I’m going off of who fits my taste, rather than America’s as a whole. While there have been some no-brainers (Carrie Underwood, anyone?), who would have picked Jordin or Kris to win it all back in the audition process?
It’s a given at this point that the winner and runner-up will get a record deal, and then a few more trickle down through the Top 10. It may surprise some of you to know that the Country artists actually have some of the best track records on the show, with artists like Phil Stacey, Kristy Lee Cook, Josh Gracin, Bucky Covington, and Kellie Pickler all getting signed to deals. Success hasn’t always followed them, though. There’s a promo CD of Kristy’s holding up a table in the stock room of a record shop somewhere in America at this very moment.
As you can see above, Jordin is ready for war on her 2nd release Battlefield, which will hit stores July 21st. [Side note: is that really a flattering album cover for a 19-year-old?] Besides working with Stargate again, Jordin also brings on hitmakers Ryan Tedder and T-Pain to deliver the hits. The single of the same name (produced by Tedder) debuted strong a few weeks ago, but has dropped back a bit due to the first-week sales burst from appearing on American Idol. I have no doubt it’s going to rebound, and you’ll hear it all over the place this summer, as it is rapidly gaining at Top 40 radio. But is that enough to propel the full-length to a strong debut next month? The timing seems good, but we’ll have to see what type of promotional push she gets. “Tattoo” was a slow-builder (eventually going Platinum), but it did a great job of setting the stage for “No Air” to blow sky high. Personally, I’m reserving judgment until I hear samples of the other tracks.
Next stop on the Sophomore Express is Leave This Town, the second release for fourth-place Chris Daughtry and his eponymous band. Billboard declared his debut CD the fastest-selling debut rock record of the Soundscan era, and the numbers bear that out. #1 for two weeks, over 4 million sold and counting, and five Top 25 hits, including two Top fives (“It’s Not Over” and “Home”). It would be an understatement to say that RCA is banking on a huge opening week for this when it hits shelves on July 14th, but I honestly can’t think of a clearer sure-shot hit for the month of July than this one. First single “No Surprise” doesn’t stray far from the first record’s formula, and has already conquered multiple formats. Chris would have to go on a killing spree in a Baptist church in order to kill the momentum he’s currently got.
For every sure-fire Idol hit, there are going to be multiple non-starters, and Elliott Yamin’s 2nd CD falls into that category. Coming off of a surprise hit debut, which sold close to 100,000 units in its first week, Fight for Love hasn’t even come close. The record debuted mid-May at 26, but the sales were only a fraction of the first record, and the first single (also called “Fight for Love”) didn’t even dent the Hot 100. I’ve got the CD, and it’s one of my favorites for the year so far, but I thought “Fight” was the record’s best shot at a Top 40 hit, so this disc might already be over and done. That’s a shame, because Elliott is really finding his own identity and sound, and it would be a big loss if he doesn’t get to keep evolving that.