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“American Idol” Winners Low Record Sales

Posted by on December 27, 2010 at 7:01 PM EST

american idol 2011American Idol fails to deliver record sales for 2010 winner.

The new season of “American Idol” is just around the corner and while there are a lot of questions surrounding how the show will do with the new judges (Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler), I find myself wondering if they will actually find someone that will be an idol.

American Idol’s ratings have waned a little, but not very much. As of last season it was still a juggernaut and crushed the competition, but the record sales of recent winners and contestants have been turning ice cold. Here is a basic comparison. Season one winner Kelly Clarkson’s debut album “Thankful” sold 297,000 copies its debut week and went on to sell over 2.7 million copies in the U.S. Most recent winner Lee DeWyze released his album “Live it Up” and sold 58,000 copies in the first week. He has only sold around 84,000 copies since the release of the album in mid-November. Last season’s runner up Crystal Bowersox just released her debut album last week and found herself selling 77,000 copies. While it may have been good enough to best this year’s winner, it is the third lowest total number sold by an American Idol runner-up since the show started. She only beat out Diana Degarmo and Justin Guarini. She fell a mile short of Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken who sold 613,000 copies of his debut “Measure of a Man.”

Are we do deduce that this means American Idol is losing its relevance or was last season just a bad batch of contestants? If you look at the numbers it seems like the sales of the American Idol winner have been on a slow and steady downward slide. There are occasional blips in the radar, but it seems like the show may have peaked in Season 4 with winner Carrie Underwood. Since then it has been pretty rough going for the winners. What it says to me is that the audience still likes the show. They enjoy the drama of these people competing to win, but they aren’t connecting as well with the winners and the winners are not compelling enough to move the audience into getting out their wallet.

That could spell trouble for the show going into this season. Now that Simon Cowell is gone and the only remaining original judge Randy Jackson has been paired with Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, it will be interesting to see what happens. If people don’t find a contestant or two that they connect with and with Simon gone and nobody left on the show likely to fill that role of being brutally honest and snarky, but still like a loveable villain it could cause viewers to look away.

American Idol is at a crossroads. The ads for Simon Cowell’s X-Factor have already started air. If viewers don’t connect with this version of the show, they may well leave and never come back. Sometimes when popular shows fall, they fall hard. American Idol is walking that tightrope. In the end, in my opinion, it is all about the singers. If they can find someone (or a few people) that we the audience can connect with, they will be okay. If not, they might be in big trouble.



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