I have a history for liking male pop artists that got their start on American Idol. Elliot Yamin, Blake Lewis and (most importantly) Chris Richardson have all made their mark on the pop charts post-Idol to some degree, but none of them have had what you’d call a superstar career. Chris Rich may be on his way to the next level via Young Money, but that remains to be seen (check back in about a week or so for more on that). In the meantime, it’s time to welcome Stefano Langone to the club. His initial hook on the show was his soulful vocals (especially his cover of Smokie Norful’s “I Need You Now“), but he made his mark on the semi-finals with a remixed version of Stevie Wonder’s classic “Lately.”
While making it to seventh on American Idol is nothing to sneeze at, it sure isn’t a guarantee of a recording contract. In fact, of the ten previous 7th place finishers, only Academy Award-winning Jennifer Hudson has had any enduring success in the music business. However, season 11 was different. When Pia Toscano was unexpectedly eliminated after Top Nine Week, Interscope Records quickly put out a press release saying that her signing was inevitable, showing the equation for signing Idol artists would be a little different now that Jimmy Iovine was directly involved in the show. So when an announcement was made in January 2012 that Stefano was signed to Hollywood Records, no one was really surprised. Fast forward three months later, and here is the initial offering from Stefano Langone:
Full disclosure: The first time I heard “I’m On a Roll,” I didn’t know what to make of it. I expected something slightly more R&B than pop, but after a few listens, the song is now stuck in my head. The lyrics aren’t going to set the world on fire, but the song is fun and it fits right in with what is getting airplay in the US right now. If this is the direction he planned on going, he’s made a pretty brilliant play for pop success, even bringing along in-demand rappers the New Boyz for the ride. However, I believe Stefano may be setting himself up for getting a foot in the door so his more soulful vocals and writing can get to a wider audience. That in itself makes rooting for “I’m On a Roll” to be a success even easier to do.
Stefano Langone’s “I’m On a Roll” comes out on April 24th in the US, and he will perform the song for the first time on American Idol on the 26th.