Welcome to the first installment of my new weekly series, This Week in Reality Singing Competition News! I will be giving my thoughts on the 5 biggest stories related to Reality Singing Competition shows, alumni of those shows, breakout performances, etc. So let’s get started! In no particular order…
- The Voice finally has a success story that isn’t one of the judges! Jordan Smith, season 9 winner, just broke season 3 winner Cassadee Pope’s record for week 1 sales, and started off at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. That’s great for Jordan, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, this could still be a fluke. In 9 seasons, only three winners have had any substantial success. Second, Jordan was actually promoted really well, probably because Mark Burnett (producer of The Voice) took a special interest in Jordan. Jordan sort of embodies what the entire show is about-finding someone whose looks would usually count against them. And third, what do you know? Promoting someone actually gives them a shot at success! This should have been a no brainer, but it seems like the people running talent promotion post-The Voice have no brains sometimes.
- The X Factor UK’s reset continues. After last season’s new judge Nick Grimshaw quit, and last season’s pair of hosts Caroline Flack and Olly Murs also quit, it is seeming like we are going back to season 11’s format. Dermont O’Leary, who is my favorite competition show host ever, is officially coming back. And so are the room auditions, where people sing without any audience but the judges. All of this is good news (with the exception of Nick quitting-I actually really liked him).
- In One Direction news, Simon Cowell was quoted by Billboard stating the obvious-that the “hiatus” might very well be a breakup. Cue millions of fans weeping. Having seen them on The X Factor and having hoped they would end up in third place (as they did), I must say that their success has been a total surprise to me. Also surprising is ex bandmate Zayn Malik selling a ton of albums this week. Zayn was always my third favorite member of the band, and he has been getting into fights with the rest of the band. So I’m shocked he still has so many fans.
- The list of former American Idol contestants coming back for the finale is long. Too long to list here actually. But there is one notable absence. Philip Phillips is the only winner who will not be seen on the finale. Kelly Clarkson, being pregnant, pre-taped her final Idol performance a few weeks ago. But Phillip is in a legal battle with 19 entertainment and while 19 can be exploitative sometimes I am totally on their side here. Phillip would be nothing without the promotion and the platform they gave him, and it is weird that he doesn’t seem to recognize that. Update 4/4: Phillip might actually be there after all, according to comments from last seasons winner Nick Fradiani. We shall see on Thursday.
- This week on American Idol, David Cook returned! And I know that for most people, this isn’t one of the five biggest stories. But as a huge fan of his, I can’t help but include it. His performance of Heartbeat was amazing as usual (and the screens behind him showed all of the winning moments that I loved so much), and so I’m going to include it below.