Season 11 of "American Idol" was considered one of its most talented line-ups for the show to date, with at least three-quarters of the Top 12 expected to land album deals. One of those was fourth-place finalist Hollie Cavanagh, a two-time "Idol" contestant that made the most of her second go-round on the show. Comes the news out of Liverpool (UK), Cavanagh's home town, that she's headed to Los Angeles to write, record, and sign a label deal for an album.
Cavanagh told the Liverpool Echo while she was there for the holidays that she was moving to L. A. from McKinney, Texas, because of proximity to opportunities. “There’s not a lot to do where I am," she said about the city she and her parents moved to a decade ago. "But in LA there are labels and writers I can work with so I’m excited about moving."
The 19-year-old has already reached out to Nathan Porter. He worked on "Idol" while Cavanagh was part of the season that produced Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon and Joshua Ledet, all of whom scored album deals. She asked Porter about people who she could work with.
“It’s all about finding the right song. I’m working on writing my own songs and I’m trying to put my own stamp on it."
So what kind of album will she be working on? What can her fans expect?
“It’s going to be a pop album but I’ve always loved Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston and those big diva ballad songs. Those ballads don’t sell as much as they did when they made them so I want to do pop songs."
But she knows that she's known for being a big ballad singer from her days on "Idol," so added, “But there will still be ballads on there as well.”
She finished touring with the "Idol" Top 10 on the "American Idol LIVE! Tour" in early September, noting that the real work began when to tour began in June. Prior to that, she felt that much had simply been handed to them. The show was her "15 minutes," she said, but the tour gave her the confidence she needed to establish a stage presence.
"It’s weird not being with the other Idols," she noted. "We spent a year together. But it’s nice to branch off from Idol because we can do start our own careers.”
And if Hollie Cavanagh and the rest of the gang do as well as Phillip Phillips and Colton Dixon seem to be doing, they'll all fare very well indeed. Phillips, who went on to win Season 11, dropped his debut album in November and saw it debut at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and become the No. 1 Rock Album in America. To date, The World from the Side of the Moon has sold nearly half a million copies. The first single, "Home," which was also Phillips' coronation song, is closing in on triple-platinum status and already holds the title of top-selling "Idol" coronation song in the show's history.
Dixon announced last month that his debut album will drop on Jan. 29. He already has two songs that have topped a couple of Christian music charts, "Never Gone" and "You Are."
"American Idol" will return to air on Jan. 16 for Season 12.
Take Home Message: Hollie Cavanagh never made it past the "Green Mile" episode during Season 10 of "American Idol," but she was encouraged by then Judge Jennifer Lopez, who told her that more practice and she might be able to win the competition, to return. Cavanagh's story is one of living out the maxim. "If at first you don't succeed, try again." At the same time, she may never have auditioned for "American Idol" in Season 11 without some encouragement, giving her confidence. In fact, both she and Colton Dixon, who would finish seventh, were returnees from previous seasons. Encouragement -- as both Dixon and Cavanagh can attest -- can go a long way as a motivational force.
(photo credit: American Idol, Fremantle North America, Fox Television)