Five Pieces of Post-Finale Advice For ‘Idol’ Winner Candice Glover
This past Thursday, the night that Candice Glover was crowned the new "American Idol" winner, another, almost equally headline-worthy announcement was made: Her debut album already has a title, cover art, and a firm release date. A release date about four months earlier than the ones previous "Idol" winners got.
In the past, the reigning "Idol" champion released his/her album in November or December, roughly six months after that year's "Idol" finale. But Candice's album on 19 Recordings/Interscope, Music Speaks, will be out July 16, only two months after her win. In another unprecedented move, the album became available for iTunes pre-order within minutes of Ryan Seacrest announcing the Season 12 finale result, with Candice's coronation single "I Am Beautiful" being given away for free with pre-orders.
This is, for the most part, a good thing. In a fickle age of general singing-show fatigue and pop-culture oversaturation, it may be too much to expect the average viewer to still be excited about any talent show winner's album more than half a year after the finale confetti has been swept away. Would relatively low-selling past reality champs like "Idol's" Lee DeWyze or "The Voice's" Javier Colon — or "The Voice's" Jermaine Paul and "The X Factor's" Melanie Amaro, whose albums never even came out — have had more of a shot if there'd been only a 60-day gap between their respective finale dates and album street dates? Probably. These days, it's best to strike while the iTunes iron is hot.
But Candice still has hurdles ahead. Even a rushed release date is no guarantee of anything, and the rush could in fact create new problems for the South Carolina soul singer. Here are five things that I think Candice — and Interscope's Jimmy Iovine, of course — need to do to ensure her success:
1. Choose Material Very Wisely
Good songs are everything. It could be easily argued that last year's successful "Idol" winner, Phillip Phillips, could have become just another "Idol" footnote if he hadn't recorded the excellent coronation song "Home" (which went on to sell 4 million copies and become the most successful "Idol" single ever) and its fantastic follow-up, "Gone, Gone, Gone." Unfortunately, Candice's coronation song, "I Am Beautiful," isn't nearly as catchy as "Home," which makes the selection of tracks for Music Speaks (i.e., potential future singles) even more crucial.
This could get tricky. The six months that past "Idol" winners had to put together a full album — while simultaneously hitting the promotional treadmill and rehearsing for the Idols Live summer tour, yet — was hardly a luxurious amount of time. The result was sometimes an assembled-by-committee album, full of leftover tracks by songwriters-for-hire, that felt generic, sterile, and, frankly, rushed. How on earth is Candice going to crank out an organic-sounding, personality-filled album in a third less time than those other Idols had — especially when she apparently hasn't even recorded anything yet, other than "I Am Beautiful"?
Hopefully Iovine has some really strong tunes in the hopper for Candice. But just as importantly, let's hope Candice has plenty of input regarding the tunes she records, so she has an emotional connection to her material. With a voice like hers, she can obviously sing anything, but that doesn't mean the powers-that-be should just stick her in a studio with a stack of random lyric sheets and order her to sing a bunch of songs that she had no hand in choosing.