2012 was another rough year from American Idol finalists, many of whom were dropped from their major record label deals due to underperforming releases. The list includes (but isn’t limited to) blues singer Haley Reinhart, country cutie Kellie Pickler, as well as lite rockin’ Season 8 champ Kris Allen. This now means five of the eleven winners from the show have now been dumped; some have signed to independent labels, but that’s resulted in very little. Since the past few years have been especially volatile for singers being dropped, 2013 won’t likely be any different, and so, I present to you a prediction post of who might get the boot from their labels in 2013. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be; it’s more of just the reasoning behind why one would be considered for a cancellation of their contract.
Now, some Idol contestants are obviously safe: Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, both winners of their respective seasons, have plenty of more big singles to go. Jennifer Hudson is obviously still in the spotlight because of her Weight Watchers success, and I think that will translate into at least another album or two, maybe another big movie. In short, she’s not going anywhere. Phillip Phillips, the reigning winner, is all over the radio with “Home”. He’ll continue to enjoy some hits… for now. However, I’m not sure about the rest of this crew. Let’s take a look at them by season.
The only season 2 contestant of note that’s still on a major label is Clay Aiken, who has recorded a pair of albums for Decca Records after his drop from RCA. Tried And True made the top ten on the album chart, but barely passed 20,000 copies sold in its first week. Steadfast was released last year to capitalize on Aiken’s appearance on The Apprentice, but it faded away fast. He can’t get any sort of adult contemporary airplay anymore (unless it’s his 2003 hit, “Invisible”) and even though he still has a big fan base, they’re not buying his releases. He’ll likely get dropped and return to the theater. I would think that’s a more natural home for him at this point.
Fantasia Barrino recently released a new single entitled “Lose To Win”, which samples “Nightshift” by the Commodores, and it’s really underwhelming, getting mixed fan reaction online. Plus, the whole scandal’s she been going through right now concerning an Instagram photo and a statement about the gay community isn’t exactly going down well. You know what’ll be going down well? Her sales. I bet you saw that one coming. Her album will do OK in the short-term, but I think this will probably be the last one for her, at least on RCA. She may try to sign to an independent label afterwards, but I don’t see anything coming of it.
This is probably one of the more unlikely ones, but keep an eye out for a potential drop of Daughtry. Their last album, Break The Spell, was indeed certified Gold for shipments of 500,000 copies, but “Crawling Back To You” wasn’t a major hit (at least not to the effect that “It’s Not Over” and “Home” were) and the followup singles did even worse, becoming the band’s first mainstream releases to not crack the Hot 100. None of the three made the top 40 at CHR radio, which is a really bad sign as well. They may have one album left in them, or RCA could cut the cord after their tour with 3 Doors Down is over. It’s all up to them.
Let’s be honest, Sparkle wasn’t the big hit a lot of people were expecting given the unfortunate passing of Whitney Houston. As it turns out, the name Jordin Sparks wasn’t selling tickets either. Sparks still has a recording contract with RCA, but her last release, “I Am Woman”, was a big failure despite a new sound for the singer. I think she’ll release an album this year with perhaps one mid-charting single and another that doesn’t do well at all, then, get the cut. I don’t think it’s worth keeping her around; the dance genre doesn’t fit her voice, and if that’s what is going to continue to be big on the charts, she’ll get lost in the shuffle.
Alright, Glamberts, hold your horses for one second. I like both of Adam Lambert‘s albums. The singles, for the most part, did pretty well on my personal chart. However, radio doesn’t want him, and the general public, for the most part, can’t be fussed with him. Second album Trespassing debuted at #1 on the album chart. Impressive, fair enough. However, his first week sales were south of 80,000 copies and the album hasn’t been certified. Not great. “Better Than I Know Myself” was a minor Hot AC hit; “Never Close Our Eyes” did even less; the title track didn’t chart at any radio format. Boys and girls, it’s just not going to work out. Since the album’s promotion has ended, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an announcement from him early on in 2013. I can see him going to an exclusively dance label, but his success will be limited to the Dance/Club Play charts.
Casey James has seen a few minor entries on the Country chart, but nothing really notable. Second single “Crying On A Suitcase” has been in the top 50 for nearly thirty weeks, so it’s likely to get pulled soon. He’s just no match for Carrie Underwood. He has a second album in the works at this point. He may get signed again to a smaller label and try getting ranked on the Music Row charts. Something might work out for him there.
Alright, this is where it’s going to hurt. I see three additional people getting cut from last season. James Durbin is an obvious drop from Wind-up Records after his next album; “Love Me Bad” and “Stand Up” got some minor airplay, but nothing substantial. Nobody’s really interested in the Hinder/Nickelback-lite material at this point. Lauren Alaina still has a deal with 19/Mercury/Interscope and is in the process of finishing a second album, but considering how badly the three singles from her first album did on the Country survey, there’s no way she’ll make it to a third with the label. Lastly, Stefano Langone is still set to release a debut album with Hollywood Records in 2013, but does anyone even care about him anymore? “I’m On A Roll” dented the CHR top 50, but that was months ago. Next.
You may not necessarily agree with all of this, but just keep an open mind if one of these performers is a favorite of yours. Some things just weren’t meant to be, and this isn’t meant to be cruel. It’s just the music business nowadays. Too many music competition shows, not enough long-term superstars.