15 Minutes Only Took Them So Far: Reality TV Singing Contestants Who Flopped
Reality TV singing competitions like “American Idol,” “X Factor,” and “The Voice” have done wonders for the careers of Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson and even Fantasia Barrino – but not every singing contestant has been so blessed. These hopefuls prospered while on TV, but flopped when the seasons ended and they had to maintain their fame all on their own.
Remember Justin Guarini? He gained super popularity following his success on “American Idol’s” inaugural season, so much so that even Oprah co-signed his talent. But after taking some time to enjoy his 15 minutes, he released a self-titled debut album that failed miserably, before going on to film the box office bomb “From Justin to Kelly.” Following the successive failures, his record label dropped him like a hot potato.
“X Factor” winner Melanie Amaro had no problem wowing the crowd each week with her powerhouse vocals. But when the competition ended and the time came to deliver on her own, she bombed in a big way. Her debut album Truly was set to drop in December 2011, but a string of failed singles pushed the disc back to late 2012… then March 2013… and now Epic Records – the label that offered her a $5 million record deal – has said of the album that “no release date is scheduled as of yet.”
At 29 years old, Taylor Hicks made history as the oldest contestant to ever win “American Idol.” His popularity post-show then earned him a lucrative Ford sponsorship deal, a key to the city of Birmingham Alabama, and a “Hottest Bachelor” title bestowed by People Magazine.
One year later – and still riding a huge wave of success – he released his highly anticipated debut album Taylor Hicks, which pulled in OK sales early on but quickly fell off in subsequent weeks. By the time all was said and done, Hicks had again made history – this time for having the lowest-selling record of any “American Idol” contestant (until 2010).
So who holds the title for the lowest-selling record of any “American Idol” contestant to date? At just 141,000 copies sold, that would be Lee DeWyze, the season nine winner. He released his debut album Live It Up just six months after taking home the show’s highest honor, but shocked everyone – especially his record label – when his album not only failed to meet expected sales numbers, but flopped in a way never seen before. Shortly after the release, his label gave him the boot.
“American Idol” season eight winner Kris Allen had no problem standing out as one of the best vocalists on the show, but when it came down to maintaining his fame post-Idol, the guitar-playing crooner fumbled. Despite his platinum selling hit “Live Like We’re Dying,” his debut album was a complete flop. In fact, with just 80,000 units sold the first week, it’s widely considered one of the biggest flops of 2009.
Javier Colon was the clear fan favorite on season one of “The Voice,” so it came as no big surprise that he took home the win. Hoping to parlay that victory into a lucrative music career, he released Come Through For You. An eleven track record blessed with songs written by artists like Pharrell, Leona Lewis and Jason Derulo. But despite the big name backing, the album sold less than 10,000 copies its first week.
Months later, Colon left his record label citing his displeasure with album promotion.
In 2004, Diana DeGarmo finished second to “American Idol” winner (and our girl) Fantasia. But though the young starlet had fared very well on Idol (she was never voted in the bottom two), her debut album Blue Skies sold a disappointing number of copies and was quickly declared a flop.
Music industry veteran Jermaine Paul won the second season of “The Voice” in 2012 and immediately began releasing singles – singles that flopped. His first track, a cover of “I Believe I Can Fly,” barely inched its way into the Billboard Hot 100, and his second track, which featured coach Blake Shelton, failed to chart at all.
Jermaine has yet to release an album since winning the competition.
Unlike the majority of artists on this list, “American Idol” season seven winner David Cook rode his TV victory right on into a super successful first album. He flopped, however, when he released his second album nearly three years later. Though many blamed record performance on time, the twelve track disc ultimately failed to connect with audiences and critics, selling a depressing 46,000 copies its first week.