Focus shifts to star judges, as contestants falter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Javier Colon's family and friends were so excited when he won the first season of "The Voice," they assured him that he was set for life — and famous.

The 35-year-old musician knew better.

"I never expected that I would be like the next Kelly Clarkson," Colon said, referring to the superstar who got her start on "American Idol." ''Expectations and hopes are different things. Fortunately for me, I've had a lot of experience in the music business — some good ones and some not so good ones — that led me to auditioning for 'The Voice.' I've learned to just not expect much."

More than a year after his win, Colon is without a record contract and still trying to land a breakout hit on the charts. He is just one of the increasing number of singing contest winners who are struggling to find their way after TV success. Among the more recent "Idol" winners who have faltered after capturing the crown are David Cook and Kris Allen; and while runner-up status or even being a top finalist could lead to fame in the early seasons, like with Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry, prospects for non-winners have dropped so much that this year, "Idol" stopped offering second-place finishers a guaranteed recording contract.

Last season's "X Factor" winner Melanie Amaro's debut single, released last month, hasn't made much of a dent on radio (though her official album debut is in December), and there are concerns that the most recent "Voice" winner, Jermaine Paul, may end up following the same path as Colon.

It all points to a troubling trend for those who still believe in their original mission from the early days of reality TV.

"That's what the show, at the end of the day, was designed for," said Simon Cowell, a judge and creative force on "American Idol" who has since moved to "The X Factor," which debuts Wednesday on Fox. "Ratings are important, but if you're not producing the goods year on year, then it's sort of pointless making these shows."

At the same time, there's been a noticeable shift in the competition shows' focus. Once content with finding the next Mariah Carey, these days it's more about ... well, Mariah Carey.

Far more ink has been spilled over the new "American Idol" judge's eight-figure salary and the show's revolving judging panel than on last year's winner (Quick: Name him). And the ante is upped repeatedly as new shows pop up all over the television dial — each with its own star-laden list of mentors, coaches and judges.

Over at "The Voice," which also debuted this week, they've made changes for Season 3 they hope will help aspiring artists shine through. The NBC show has been popular and viewers love the chemistry among coaches Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Yet the show hasn't produced a breakout star, something producers hope will change now that they've altered some of the rules that led to quick eliminations.

"It's not that long of a season, so by the time we get to the end it's like, 'Oh, my God, I don't know who I like. It happened so fast,'" Shelton said. "And we do realize that the attention's focused on us more than it needs to be. And the viewer ... that's the only thing they've had time to figure out because they've had 60-something contestants to wade through."

Shelton and Levine have tried to extend the buzz for their contestants by taking them out on tour. And Green says he tries to stay in contact with each team member he's had since "The Voice" shot to the top of ratings when it debuted last year.

The flamboyant entertainer thinks the lack of post-competition star power might have something to do with the deteriorating music industry itself.

"It's a genuine concern of mine, man, because I'm concerned about the industry at large, that it does not carry and develop more young talent," Green said. "We're talking about stars, sensations. I just don't see those fireworks that once were. It's not as exciting. It's not as plentiful."

Cowell argues you need more than star singers to anoint the next big talent. On "X Factor" Epic Records chairman/CEO L.A. Reid is as crucial as celebrity judges, which this year includes Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.

Over at "Idol," there's a question about the status of Randy Jackson — the last link to the show's original panel with Cowell and Paula Abdul. The rumored list of names who might replace outgoing stars Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler has included Nicki Minaj, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, not executives or producers.

"I wouldn't trust four singers on one of these shows," Cowell said. "You've got to have record executives balanced with the artists. The artists give one perspective and the record label gives a completely different perspective."

Of course, the celebrity argument cuts both ways. Some note it may be too much to ask for these shows to produce such a rare commodity.

John Rich, who's actually moving in with a contestant for 72 hours on the CW's "The Next," says those who've gone on to become stars did so because they had something special: "Sometimes great singers win the talent contest and sometimes great artists win the talent contest. More times than not, probably a great singer wins, not a great artist."

As Colon predicted, the year since he won has been challenging. He asked out of his record contract with Universal Republic when he felt he wasn't getting the necessary promotional push and support. But he recently wrapped a swing through South America with Maroon 5 at Levine's invitation. He played in front of 35,000 in Sao Paolo, Brazil, perhaps the highlight of his career. And more important, he's now able to draw several hundred out to a gig in North Dakota, drawing on his own star power.

"The Voice" didn't give him stardom, but the wave of momentum from the show has given him a career.

"My expectations going into the show were just, you know, I want this to be a good opportunity for me and good exposure and hopefully I'll be in a better place than I was before the show started," Colon said. "I'm definitely there and beyond that."

___

AP Television Writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott at https://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options