American Idol‘s top 12 finalists often hope to turn their exposure on the series into success recording and selling albums. But that hasn’t exactly happened for anyone who’s placed lower than second. As MTV.com reports, “of the 12th- through third-place finishers who have gone on to release records, only one has gone gold: second-season country singer Josh Gracin (around 646,500 copies sold), who finished fourth.”
Next up is “second-season singer, third-place finisher Kimberley Locke, has sold approximately 209,000 copies of One Love, but after her, the next-best loser is — tellingly — William Hung’s Inspiration (194,00).” MTV also runs down the other losers’ album sales: “Tamyra Gray’s The Dreamer (122,000), RJ Helton’s Real Life (21,000), John Stevens’ Red (18,000), George Huff’s Miracles (17,000) and self-titled albums from Jasmine Trias (12,000) and Corey Clark (2,400).” Good to know that Corey Clark’s little press junket didn’t really work.
So why aren’t these finalists doing well? Among the theories: restricted by the show’s contract, they “are missing their window of opportunity,” and that “it’s a show that’s all about the winners,” not the losers, who we quickly dump on their asses as soon as a winner is selected.
Hits’ Roy Trakin argues that ultimately, “This isn’t a loyal, fanatical audience. They’re tuned to the moment. Even winners have to have a lot more to really plow through, and anyone below has that much more of a stretch to capture the public’s attention.”