Thanks, Desertrat, for the heads up on the news that Idol’s most recent runner-up, Jessica Sanchez, won’t be guaranteed an album contract, unlike previous runner-ups like our David Archuleta. Instead, she may get what’s called a “Development Stage,” which may include releasing singles versus an album, an EP, doing “artist development,” perhaps opening up for big acts, doing featured vocals on other artist tracks, that sort of thing.
Here’s the thing: while some folks think that contestants are getting the shaft in comparison to how much the useless judges get paid to not judge, I actually prefer this sort of “Development” deal for a runner-up. It has so much more long-term potential.
Can you imagine if David had only released one single (“Crush”) while working on his “development”? I can guarantee you the fanbase would have been much more content in the way his career unfolded. There wouldn’t have been crushing (no pun intended) disappointment when his debut album only spurned one hit. We would have only expected one single and would have rejoiced that his one single did well.
Then, in understanding that David was being “developed,” we would have been eager to see him featured with other acts, maybe even if he did a vocal hook here on someone’s dance or hip-hop track, an opening act there while touring with Britney or whoever.
In short, David like Jessica Sanchez just off Idol, really needed the time and maturity to “grow.” So, I personally think this direction makes the most sense. After all, just on the basis of not “taking it all” by winning the show, producers have to weigh in that, despite the runner-up’s popularity, there were some obvious flaws that made voters choose someone else over him (or her). Why not take the time to really “develop” the artist for long-term success since the runner-up – by virtue of coming in second – has some wrinkles that need ironing out?
Nowadays, since neither Idol winner nor runner-up are selling as big as they used (by big, I mean selling in pop music, not country like last year’s winner and runner-up), this sort of thinking is the most logical and not what I would expect from a franchise that puts out music and entertainment like “fast food.” I just wish this had been the consolation prize for runners-up all along.