Monday, March 19, 2007

Idol's Impact

PRNewswire reports that, according to Mediabase -- which monitors more than 1,800 radio stations 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, in more than 180 U.S. and Canadian markets -- "American Idol" has had a massive impact on radio airplay since its debut six years ago. The hit television show is now responsible for generating more than 6 million radio spins.

This week alone, 12 former "American Idol" contestants are on the charts or close to making it on. The airplay derby has been led by Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, who have dominated the radio airplay charts in recent years, among American Idol alumni. The winners of Season 1 and 4 respectively, have racked up an impressive 4 million plus radio spins between them. Others who have become household names include Fantasia, Josh Gracin, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson.

Some of the results are surprising, especially Mario Vazquez, an "American Idol" Season 4 dropout whose album released only last year, outpacing Season 4 runner-up Bo Bice in radio airplay, and Josh Gracin placing in the Top 10 Song Spins with "Nothin' to Lose," even though he was neither an "Idol" winner, nor runner-up.

According to Mediabase, Clarkson has received a staggering 3.3 million spins since winning the American Idol title in its inaugural season, translating to an average of more than 730,000 spins annually for Clarkson. Underwood has amassed 725,000 spins, and is firmly entrenched in the No. 2 position, averaging more than 450,000 spins per year.

"American Idol has become a dominant force in radio, particularly in the current driven formats," commented Mediabase President Rich Meyer. "The vast majority of radio programmers obviously feel that Clarkson and Underwood possess major star power and feel the same about a number of emerging Idol talent following in their footsteps. Finalists like Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Josh Gracin and Kimberley Locke are bursting on to the scene in a big way with their new releases, and other contestants like Mario Vazquez and Clay Aiken have certainly been formidable forces in radio as well."

Here are the airplay leaders, September 1, 2002, through March 11, 2007:
  1. Kelly Clarkson (Season 1 winner) 3,301,282 spins
  2. Carrie Underwood (Season 4 winner) 725,441 spins
  3. Josh Gracin (Season 2 finalist) 582,285 spins
  4. Fantasia Barrino (Season 3 winner) 374,081 spins
  5. Ruben Studdard (Season 2 winner) 293,588 spins
  6. Clay Aiken (Season 2 runner-uo) 224,960 spins
  7. Kimberley Locke (Season 2 finalist) 210,428 spins
  8. Chris Daughtry (Season 5 finalist) 146,714 spins
  9. Mario Vazquez (Season 4 contestant) 123,432 spins
  10. Bo Bice (Season 4 runner-up) 115,702 spins

Here are the song leaders, September 1, 2002, through March 11, 2007:

  1. Kelly Clarkson "Breakaway" 628,094 spins
  2. Kelly Clarkson "Because of You" 545,971 spins
  3. Kelly Clarkson "Since U Been Gone" 543,913 spins
  4. Kelly Clarkson "Behind These Hazel Eyes" 496,951 spins
  5. Kelly Clarkson "Walk Away" 361,161 spins
  6. Kelly Clarkson "Miss Independent" 356,682 spins
  7. Josh Gracin "Nothin' to Lose" 270,478 spins
  8. Carrie Underwood "Jesus, Take the Wheel" 252,276 spins
  9. Kelly Clarkson "A Moment Like This" 250,716 spins
  10. Carrie Underwood "Before He Cheats" 198,446 spins


No, he didn't say he was bigger than Jesus, or even The Beatles, but during his "60 Minutes" interview with Anderson Cooper, Simon Cowell, who controls the recording rights to every Idol contestant in the world, did say that he's responsible for a lot more record sales than Bruce Springsteen, and that if Sony/BMG gave The Boss a $100 million contract, he is worth at least five times that. The Billion Boys Club wannabe, who also has a $100 million contract with Sony/BMG, earns $30 million a year for judging "American Idol," as well as another $38 million a year for judging "Pop Idol," the original British version of the show. If you missed his "60 Minutes" profile, take a peek and watch Cowell squirm when he gets judged for a change.


If you're a devoted Idol watcher, you've heard the word "pitchy" used a thousand times. Randy Jackson even explained the dreaded word no contestant wants to hear during a recent appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman." But to make things more crystal-clear, People magazine asked New York City-based singer and vocal teacher Carolyn Leonhart( why even a good singer on "Idol" can be a victim of pitchiness.

"When you add a sound system and a live band to the mix, very often singers aren't hearing enough of their voice," says Leonhart. "For a less experienced singer, they try to sing louder and that throws off the balance of the voice, which changes the pitch."

It also doesn't help that the pressure on the Idols is fierce – and nerves can take a toll on the way they breathe. "Nervousness or excitement affects breathing. If you don't have sufficient breath support, the lack of air flow forces other muscles to work harder than they should – which can alter the pitch," she adds.

People also provided Leonhart's audio demonstration of how an "In Tune" and "Pitchy" verse from Carole King's "Natural Woman" would sound. Click here to listen.


According to a report in The Yuma Sun, Corey Clark, the former "American Idol" contestant arrested in Yuma, Ariz., last year, and his wife, say the charges brought against him are false and stem from her stepfather trying to break up their marriage.

Clark's wife, Monica, who is from Yuma, filed an order of protection in the summer of 2006 against Clark for alleged physical abuse. It was that order of protection, which is still in effect although the two are living together in Tennessee, that led to several misdemeanor and felony charges filed in Yuma's court system, as well as the warrants out for Clark's arrest.

But the couple contend that the order of protection should have been reversed and the charges are the results of Monica's parents being "overprotective." Clark was arrested in Yuma in July on suspicion of violating the court order after an incident at his father-in-law's residence. As a result of that incident, Clark was charged with misdemeanor counts of interfering with judicial proceedings per domestic violence and harassment per domestic violence, as well as one count of contempt of court.

"All these charges stem from me being in Yuma one time at my wife's request, and I haven't been back since," said Clark, who spent 55 hours in custody at the Yuma County jail after his arrest. "I don't know what the outcome is going to be, but I don't think I'm going to get a fair shot."

The Yuma County Attorney's Office filed additional charges against Clark in December and January, including several felonies, which were two counts of aggravated harassment and four counts of failure to comply with court orders based on telephone calls he allegedly made to his wife's family residence in Yuma. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of failure to comply with a court order.

Clark, who received a summons on those charges, did not appear for his Feb. 27 arraignment in Yuma Justice Court and now has an active warrant for his arrest and one that is pending. Prosecutor Mary White, of the Yuma County Attorney's Office, declined to comment on the case, saying it is ongoing. The stepfather, a Yuma Police Department officer, has also declined to comment. To read the entire story, click here.

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