Jorge Lopez

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Everybody Deserves a Shot at an American Idol Ford Commercial

By now most people who follow American Idol are already very well aware with the ouster of contestant Joanna Pacitti.  I figured it was going to be only a matter of time before some controversy arose since well, it just wouldn’t be American Idol if there wasn’t some kind of controversy now, would it?  As for Bikini Girl?  Her fifteen minutes came and went after she got the boot.

I had some familiarity with Joanna after I caught her video on some teen television network I used to watch and I specifically remember her failed album “This Crazy Life” because of its cover artwork which I really liked.  After I saw her dismal placement on the Billboard album charts I knew she was destined to become another failed pop star.  But enough digressing.

Each year there’s the group of people who lambast these former contestants that once had record deals, like last year’s Carly Smithson (nee Hennesy) citing an unfair advantage over others.  This is completely understandable but I see things differently.

In Joanna’s case, apparently she had some ties to American Idol’s production company and I can see how that may affect her outcome behind the scenes but do potential music stars like Joanna Pacitti and Carly Smithson really deserve not to have a chance?

The way I see it, while these kinds of contestants may be more familiar to music aficionados like myself who follow one hit wonders (or lack thereof), they’re still starting from scratch.  They had their chance and due to whatever reason (e.g.: bad reviews, poor marketing, or in Carly Smithson’s case horrible timing), they failed to make an impact and disappeared into the musical abyss that so many other potential pop stars have before.

What’s that?  They’re trained singers? Joanna Pacitti would not have fared any better or worse than Carly Smithson.  After all, Carly was trained and she still failed to win American Idol during her season.  And have you heard anything from Carly Smithson since the end of her season and the subsequent tour?  Exactly.

And lastly, who’s to say failed singers will fare any better with a 19 Recordings contract and the American Idol juggernaut behind them?  Taylor Hicks won and the “Soul Patrol” apparently didn’t do their job, earning him one of the lowest selling American Idol albums in its history and causing him to part ways and go the indie route.  On a side note, I’ve listened to “What’s Right is Right” off of Taylor’s upcoming album “The Distance” and he seems much more in his element. I hope he becomes another indie success story.

So at the end of the day, even failed pop stars with former record deals deserve their chance to pick up the pieces and try again.  The music industry is brutal and just the thought of having to prove yourself [again] amongst a sea of people looking for their big break after you already had yours and lost it well, it’s tough.

Joanna Pacitti, may you find another opportunity where you can utilize your vocal talents and not get fired or disqualified for it.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 06:  (L-R) American...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The trivial fervor that emerged earlier during the American Idol seasons when it was revealed that Carly Smithson previously had a record deal was interesting. Interesting in that so many people criticized the decision to keep her around and were saying she had an unfair advantage while seemingly overlooking the fact that despite the record label’s best efforts (or lack of), her album still failed to make her a superstar and she was now back at square one.

We already know Carly’s time on Idol did not result in her winning the grand prize claimed by the older of the two identically named final contestants but I do hope she does get to pursue new musical or related ventures from her Idol stint once the traveling karaoke bar show is over because obviously has a formidable voice.

Anyhow the point is to use Carly’s failed musical venture as an example of this pipe dream that many singers and bands envision and unfortunately fail at once they quickly notice how unforgiving major labels can be and how cutthroat the music industry is. Unless you’ve got genuine musical talent or something new to bring to the table, [long term] success is…we’ll say it’s iffy.

One thing I’ve never quite understood is why a lot of up and coming singers choose to stick with what the current trends are instead of taking some bolder risks and differentiating themselves. I witnessed the return of the late nineties teen pop boom when Britney Spears emerged to claim her throne only to see a huge influx of manufactured acts that employed the following:

These days the problem is more of a lack of variety than using silly gimmicks. I remember hearing a lot about Kat DeLuna and how she was going to be the next big thing. I heard her debut single “Whine Up” and while catchy, there was nothing particularly distinguishing about it.

I follow the music charts enough to where I can make an educated guess on how the subsequent album will fare when it’s released and after seeing that “Whine Up” had modest chart performance, I figured the album would be equally dismal or disappointing. Needless to say, Kat DeLuna’s debut “9 Lives” failed to make an impression.

Very few artists, especially those that aren’t already established can rely on just a catchy tune that sounds like everything else on popular radio if they want to establish a career out of music. From what I’ve seen as album sales have dwindled, you’ve got to bring the whole package and you have to stand out in some way. Why has Alicia Keys achieved substantial success with her third outing “As I Am”? She does her own thing, she can actually write lyrics and music and she takes unique approaches where possible with her music while still creating radio friendly tunes.

The moral of the story: unless you’ve got the resolve and the talent, expecting to become the next multiplatinum sensation and making a long term career out of music involves a lot more than just aligning yourself with professional songwriters, at least in this day and age anyway.

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