One of the best voices to ever grace the stages of any of the singing competition reality shows, that of Josh Krajcik, again resounded within the confines of the "X Factor" auditorium in Television City in Hollywood Thursday evening. He was at the Top 8 results show to sing his new song, "One Thing She'll Never Know," and drum up some support for his first album.
First? you ask. Yes. First.
Although there were rumors of album deals at the end of Season 1, for some strange reason, they never materialized for the 31-year-old Ohioan. Why? Who really knows when it comes to the music business? But somebody passed on a good voice and a possibly lucrative deal.
The song "One Thing She'll Never Know" was well received on the "X Factor" results show. The judges gave Josh a standing ovation and host Mario Lopez informed viewers that the new Josh Krajcik EP could be downloaded from iTunes.
That EP, which only has four songs on it, was released on iTunes the same day.
Almost a year after placing second, he finally has an EP out on iTunes. As good as it is to hear such news, there is something sad about it as well. Why so long? And why not a full-length album? And why just iTunes and not on some major -- or even a major independent -- record label? Something appears amiss. (And yet, one thing should be pointed out: If Krajcik has full control of his music -- and releasing under Krajcik Records suggests he might -- he could stand to profit far more with even a single hit.)
One of the reasons why "American Idol" is so successful is that they have continuing brand exposure. You can't turn on the radio, the television, or the computer without seeing or hearing a representative of "American Idol." Kelly Clarkson and Daughtry are on constant rotation on the pop charts. Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery, and Casey James are all over country radio. Mandisa and Colton Dixon keep heating up the Christian music charts. On the album charts, Kelly Clarkson has two albums selling well. Carrie Underwood's latest just passed 1 million in sales. Scotty and Mandisa both have strong selling Christmas albums out as well.
And they're popping up on television shows as well. Scotty, Carrie, Kelly and Phillip Phillips, the Season 11 winner, seem to be on every holiday special on television. Katharine McPhee starred in NBC's hit "Smash" last TV season and will return, Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson at her side. Carrie Underwood just signed up to play the lead role as Maria von Trapp in NBC's live production of "The Sound Of Music," set to broadcast next year.
Now, some might argue that "American Idol" has been on for a decade, 11 seasons, and has a head start on the others. But that's no excuse for shows like "X Factor" and NBC's "The Voice," or even "America's Got Talent," all of which do not seem to be able to produce hit-makers -- something their shows claim they're discovering. (The one exception to this would be Jackie Evancho from "America's Got Talent," the Season 6 runner-up that has had several hit albums, selling well over 2 million albums in the last two years.) But there is something to be said about supporting the talent one claims to be molding.
Since the first season of "X Factor," only Chris Rene, who placed third in the competition, has released a full-length studio album (and that didn't get released until October). Rachel Crow (fifth place) released a self-title EP in June. Marcus Canty (fourth place) is set to release an EP in January. Melanie Amaro, the ultimate winner of Season 1, is also set to release her debut album, Truly, in early 2013. She is also scheduled to perform on the Top 6 results show.
But what kind of delayed action nonsense is that? "American Idol" finalists drop their first albums within six months. And they are albums with at least 8-10 songs (usually more) -- full-length collections, not EPs. Suggestion to "X Factor" producers: Take a look at the "American Idol" road to success. They, too, weren't the ratings leader when they started out. But promoting their strongest contestants and getting their music out in a timely fashion helped promote the show. Waiting a year sees the excitement wane, fans move on to other artists, other music to purchase. And then to only invest enough for EPs? Talk about half measures and seemingly reluctant support.
Success breeds success. The "X Factor" might want to start thinking about spending money promoting their television-created celebrities instead of millions on celebrity judges. As "Idol" has proven (as has "X Factor" UK and others), successful finalists are a neverending source of free advertising. It also indicates the show itself is a success.
Still, at least Josh Krajcik finally has some music out there for his fans. And it looks as if he just might have gotten some attention with his performance on the Top 8 results show. His self-titled EP has been comfortably positioned in the Top 20 on the iTunes album chart since he appeared on the show.
Now, will somebody please get him a major label deal? Simon?
The "X Factor" airs on Fox Television on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. (EST).
Watch Josh Krajcik perform "One Thing She'll Never Know":
(photo credit: Josh Krajcik Records, iTunes, Fair Use)