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Pitch Please: Reality check

20 February 2013 By Kristopher Jones, Columnist No Comments

When I watched the Grammys two Sundays ago and watched Carrie Underwood perform her latest single, “Two Black Cadillacs,” I was mesmerized. Not by her Cinderella gown. Nope, I was mesmerized by the fact that she was still relevant enough to play the Grammys. Then I remembered that Kelly Clarkson, an “American Idol” alumna along with Carrie, was supposed to perform that night as well. I thought to myself: “They don’t seem to make them like they used to anymore,” referring to music competition shows creating credible hit-makers like Underwood and Clarkson.

I feel as if the winners of these shows who have survived the longest have their own niche market, which they can attribute to their success. Kelly Clarkson has her pop/rock genre, which still seems to be carrying her after being crowned the original “Idol” winner in 2002. Carrie Underwood has the country genre covered and even though people like Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina have tried to encroach on her territory, neither one of them are established well enough to pose a threat. But if having a niche was all it took, why haven’t artists like Fantasia Barrino and Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks maintained star power since their “Idol” wins? Barrino and Studdard came at a time when R&B music was in, where you had the likes of Keyshia Cole and Ciara releasing popular songs. After a while, the genre became oversaturated, leaving practically no room for them to have a stable market

With this said, I feel that the music competition template has been stale for a while and it would be best for it to bow out gracefully before it gets embarrassing. Nowadays, most of the winners of these shows do not have any longstanding success. I honestly don’t remember any of the winners and runner ups from seasons five through eight of “Idol” nor any of the winners from “The Voice” sans Cassadee Pope, only because she was a part of alternative rock band Hey Monday. I was highly impressed that Phillip Phillips was able to get a hit with his coronation song, “Home,” which entered the top 10 of the charts on three separate occasions. Then again, he had the most organic sounding song to date and Olympic coverage is partially thank for that. And adding more of these shows with famous celebrity judges will not help, as we saw with “The X Factor” and Britney Spears. All hope might not be lost though. I heard they were working on an EDM music competition show. Maybe I’ll watch that.

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