Saturday, February 05, 2011

The winners really don't take it all

It looks likely that X Factor will kick off in the States in September this year, with Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan and Cheryl Cole rumoured as judges and Dermot O'Leary as host. It'll be interesting to see how the viewers cope with four British instead of home-grown personalities sorting the good from their bad.

Quite what the implications are for three of them, who would also be expected to be leading the next UK show at about the same time too, I can't tell. Whilst the auditions for both shows will be taking place well in advance and can be staggered so that they only appear later to be in one place at the same time, how they handle the live shows in parallel I do not know.

There is a very amateur-looking site at x-factor.org which I can only assume is some guy who managed to buy the name and is now making a few bucks from the ads. I am surprised that Syco haven't already bought him out and, at least, put something decent there even if all it says is 'watch this space' or something.

All this US-UK stuff got me thinking. There has always been talk of this or that British invasion of the US Charts and since the 1960s our top artists usually had a showing there, Cliff Richard excepted. We certainly continue to see plenty US artists in our charts. But just what impact do these shows really have on charts here and there? We all know that for a while now the X Factor winner tends to hit Number 1 at Christmas but just how successful really have the US Pop Idol and X Factor (and previously Pop Idol) finalists been?

In the first list here are the winners in each year and any finalists in the last 10 who seem to have had at least some singles in their own country's Top 100 since.

American Idol
2002 1 Kelly Clarkson
2003 1 Ruben Studdard | 2 Clay Aitken | 3 Kimberley Locke
2004 1 Fantasia | 7 Jennifer Hudson
2005 1 Carrie Underwood
2006 1 Taylor Hicks | 3 Elliot Yarmin | 4 Chris Daughtry | 6 Kellie Pickler
2007 1 Jordin Sparks
2008 1 David Cook | 2 David Archuleta | 4 Brook White
2009 1 Kris Allen | 2 Adam Lambert
2010 1 Lee Dewyze | 2 Crystal Bowersox

X Factor (Pop Idol 2002-3)
2002 1 Will Young | 2 Gareth Gates
2003 1 Michelle McManus
2004 1 Steve Brookstein | 2 G4
2005 1 Shayne Ward | 2 Andy Abraham | 5 Chico
2006 1 Leona Lewis
2007 1 Leon Jackson
2008 1 Alxeandra Burke | 2 JLS | 4 Diana Vickers
2009 1 Joe McElderry | 2 Olly Murs | 3 Stacey Solomon | 4 John & Edward
2010 1 Matt Cardle

Now look at who has actually been selling well since:

US (singles other than their AI winner release with > 1 million sales)
Kelly Clarkson (8)
Carrie Underwood (5)
Jordin Sparks (4)
Daughtry (4)
Adam Lambert
David Archuleta
Kris Allen
Elliot Yarmin
David Cook
Kellie Pickler

And in the UK, who has actually made No 1 (other than with their X Factor single):
Leona Lewis (6)
Alexandra Burke (4)
JLS (4)
Diana Vickers
Olly Murs
Chico

Lastly, who have crossed the Atlantic and succeeded?

Well, Carrie Underwood has been hugely successful internationally in the Country scene but only Kelly Clarkson and Jordin Sparks have had any consistently good sales in the UK. Adam Lambert is probably the only other familiar name here, mainly due to his excellent mentoring on AI9 and maybe the delightful Kellie Pickler mainly as a presenter.

Leona Lewis has been X Factor's only Stateside success to date. JLS and Alexandra Burke may break through this year. Too early to tell for America's Lee DeWyze and Britain's Matt Cardle but I'm not hopeful for either in that respect.

And that's it.

So I do hope that this year all three programmes find some artists to join the few that last and don't fade away after one highly publicised sale. Much depends on the US X Factor team, then!
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