Is 'American Idol' Exposure Overvalued?
The numbers speak for themselves, American Idol exposure is not worth its weight in gold. Gold records that is. The mantra amongst everyone from the contestants to the judges to the producers is that one does not need to win American Idol to achieve enormous success. Is the value of American Idol's exposure over-rated? With Chris Daughtry the only authentic mega star to be produced outside of the shows final three, and sagging sales for those who make it all the way to the top, one has to wonder.

Daughtry himself seems to be the contradiction to American Idol's almost mythological view of its exposure. The singer was voted off in fourth place but went on to outsell the season winner, Taylor Hicks, and runner up Katherine McPhee. His staying power on the charts further galvanizes his status as an honest-to-goodness self made star.

To the contrary, American Idol's post show business plan for its competitors seems to focus on casting the fledgling stars against type. Nikki McKibbin, who finished third in American Idol's inaugural season, had to resort to legal action to get released from her RCA record contract when the label tried to push the singer, already labeled as a rocker, into country rock crossover tunes. The singer recently released an independent album.

Runner up Justin Guarini's debut album was a bomb, only selling 143,000 copies and resulting in RCA dropping his high profile runner's up deal. The singer rebounded in 2005 with an independent release, but no sales figures are available.

Kelly Clarkson, the season one winner, took an unusual route when her Idol produced first album sold 2.7 million copies by wriggling free of her contract and going for an arrangement that would allow her more control. The result was 2004's follow up album “Breakaway” that more than doubled the sales of the product produced by the American Idol mill.

- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
Souce: Seattle TImes
(Image Courtesy of FOX)