American Idle: Who’s Next On The Chopping Block?

Whataya want from them?

Whataya want from them?

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.


Filed under Music News, Playlists

6 responses to “American Idle: Who’s Next On The Chopping Block?

  1. GS

    You do realize that James Durbin is currently recording album #2 with Wind-Up? It’s due for a mid 2013 year release. This album is also on track to be heavier than MOABD, not “Hinder/Nickelback-lite, lol.

    After album #2, through 2014 and beyond, who knows.

    • Didn’t actually know that; thanks for the update. I know his first album had a strong debut; I’m just sort of surprised they kept him on for another one.

      • GS

        Being on an Indie,,sales expectations are a lot different than major labels.
        He sold over 150k of MOABD, and a 2nd album was already green lighted at 100k sold.
        This one is being produced by James Michael of Sixx A.M, a much better heavy rock producer than Howard Benson who produced the first one. James Durbin and his band have already written and recorded over 25 songs for the album and are still writing and recording. James has just recently said that this album will have more “metal elements” than MOABD so I’m looking forward to a heavier sound.

  2. Gail

    I have to disagree with you about Casey James album being nothing notable. Please give folks the respect that they deserve. This is Casey’s first album and it debut at #2 on the Hot Country Charts. It has produced 2 Top 20 hit singles. His current single “Crying On A Suitcase” is at #19 after 28 wks on the charts. His album remains at #65 in the Top Country Albums after almost a year. I expect a 3rd single to be released from this album and he is currently working on his second album for Columbia Records, Sony Music Nashville. The one thing I do agree with you on is that he isn’t Carrie Underwood. But I think this is pretty impressive for a new artist. He chose not to strike while the iron was hot… he went to Nashville and worked a couple of years before he recorded his first album. He could have gone straight from American Idol but chose to do it old school.. that’s Casey for you. He has taken a grass roots approach and is building a fan base with a firm foundation. I think he is climbing the ladder at an even pace and will be around for a long, long time.

    • Hey Gail, thanks for commenting. I understand that it’s taken him a long time to work his way up to even get an album out; I’m just not sure if it’s going to seem to be satisfactory with the record label, you know? Pretty much any sort of Idol country singer is going to get compared to Underwood or even Scotty McCreery (and Josh Gracin, if people remember that back) regardless of how long it takes them to finally break through. The material he’s putting out is decent enough (I like “Suitcase”); it’s just a matter of whether it does well or not. So far, it’s only been mid-charting stuff. I don’t know. It’s a tough call. I mean, the only thing I really remember with him concerning Idol was the “OK, It’s Alright With Me” incident, which wasn’t fair at all, but he seems to have pushed forward from that.

      • Gail

        I think Casey’s label is pretty satisfied with him. Like I said he is already working on a second album for them. I have been a fan of his since he was on A Idol. Not necessarily because of what he did on the show. I thought there was more to him than what we were seeing, so I found some old you-tubes. If you ever get the chance to catch a live show of his, do it, I think you’ll be surprised. 🙂

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