Will The Voice Winner Be a Winner?

Congratulations to Alisan Porter for winning The Voice aka The Game Show With Singing – a show I find utterly detestable for reasons I have articulated at length over the years[1] – and to her coach Adam Lambert. Oh, you thought her coach was Xtina? Well, of course she was on the actual show. But Alisan got more than a little help from Adam, too.

They have a professional relationship that goes back to Alisan co-writing the anthemic, self-empowerment song Aftermath for Adam’s debut album For Your Entertainment­ – an interesting connection of reality singing show artists. As to The Voice, Alisan gave a shout-out to Adam in a post-show interview (while sitting next to Xtina) who she said called every day with advice on song selection and wardrobe, and post-performance critiques that also included comments about her make-up! And just as important as the coaching was the constant urging on Twitter to his sizable Glambert fanbase to support Alisan, which is how I followed (but not watched) her progress on the show.

Hopefully, The Voice­ will do for her what it did for its previous champion Jordan Smith, which is to FINALLY support their winners after seasons of absolute neglect. The history of the show has been so bad that before Jordan was crowned, well-known music writer Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo Music and even Voice­ coach Pharell said that Jordan – his season’s presumptive nominee favorite  – might be better off not winning because of the show’s failure to promote its stars[2].

Ultimately, the hue and cry reached a tipping point when Adam Levine reversed his prior stance of, “It’s not our fault if they’re not successful” by publicly calling out Universal Records to get behind Jordan and keep their stated promise to the artist and the public by making and supporting an album.

Given that initial support, Jordan’s album Something Beautiful opened strongly at #2 on Billboard when it was released two months ago. However, the album has since dropped out of the charts although his single Stand In the Light stands at #26 on the Adult Contemporary chart[3].

Perhaps Jordan will get a boost when NBC runs his cover of OneRepublic’s I Lived during the Summer Olympics. I’m sure they learned from having Idol’s Phillip Phillip’s Home on auto-repeat during the 2012 Summer Olympics – it only went on to sell 5 million copies in the U.S. – and would very much like to see their own show reap the benefits.

[As an aside, I had to laugh at the over-the-top P.R. for the album which said that Something Beautiful “earned the highest ranking on the chart by any winner of a television singing competition in almost 5 years” – “almost” apparently means picking an arbitrary time period that missed including by a few months a #1 album by Scotty McCreery who won on that other show.]

So what Alisan has to look forward to is an uncertain future in terms of support from the show for her post-Voice career. Lyndsey Parker is rightly cautious when she says, “It remains to be seen if Alisan’s Voice victory will change the course of her career, considering that most of the show’s winners have not become household names.”

It’s really difficult to succeed in today’s music business and by the business, I mean the industry. It’s almost impossible if the people contracted to help you succeed don’t care to do their job. Given her connection to Adam Lambert, I’m hoping The Voice and Universal Records do what’s right for her career.

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[1] All too briefly: winners not actually winning what was promised; misrepresented backstories of contestants; byzantine voting calculations and a contestant contract that allows The Voice to manipulate voting results; blind auditions that aren’t always blind; insufficient criticism of contestants that over-represents their abilities and career prospects. And I could go on.

[2] https://idolmusings.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/will-yet-another-voice-winner-bite-the-dust/

[3] Although only 124 radio stations are playing it. It says something about the state of contemporary radio that you can have a hit song with so few stations playing it. No wonder becoming a successful recording artist is so hard these days.

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