Opinion: Can Lee DeWyze Become A Star?


Lee DeWyze had the distinction of being the worst selling American Idol victor – that is not an escapable fact, period.  To sour things even more, season nine was arguably the worst season of the show.  Sure Season 12 was pretty bad, but they at least managed to triumph with a solid victor in Candice Glover.  As for Mr. DeWyze, he was/is talented, but personally, nothing screamed ‘star’ to me.  Yes, I was a Crystal Bowersox fan, but most people could see either artist faced an uphill battle. I took issue with both. I’ll refrain from my sermon though…


How bad were DeWyze’s numbers? Pretty effin’ bad – the ‘he breaks records’ sorta bad. 2010’s Live It Up debuted at no. 19 (a first strike) with a tepid 39,000 copies sold.  The no. 19 bow is the lowest for a winner on American Idol.  Yes, Kris Allen missed the top ten as well with Kris Allen in 2009 (he bowed at no. 11), but  he sold double the amount of albums that DeWyze moved (80,000 copies).  To make things even worse, runner-up Crystal Bowersox’s Farmer’s Daughter debuted at a worse peak position (no. 28), but sold more albums than DeWyze @ 58,000 copies (“Crystal Bowersox’s ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ tops Lee DeWyze’s first-week album sales – From Inside the Box – Zap2it”). Basically, DeWyze’s career seemed screwed before it could even truly begin.  That’s tough, regardless how you feel about an artist.


107674-lee_dewyze_8_617_409Things are better for Idol’s forgotten ‘stepchild’ – at least for now.  He is now signed to Vanguard records, and he has a shot to achieve the glory he expected to the first time.  The question now is, can he? Talented he was, but DeWyze wasn’t particularly ‘fresh’ or new, nor did he appear to be his own, distinct artist.  Bowersox may have lost the battle and struggled with her own career issues, but viewers knew where she stood.  For DeWyze, he had the ‘look’ and even a voice, and he sung U2 (“Beautiful Day“), but otherwise, there were missing pieces and plenty of question marks.  On new single “Silver Lining“, while there is an ‘identity’, I couldn’t help but thinking this is a variation on say Phillip Phillips‘ “Home“.  Sure it’s interesting enough and suits likely where DeWyze sees himself as an artist, but how does/can DeWyze successfully get people to buy into himself?


Can Lee DeWyze become a star? Anything is possible, but the likely answer is NO.  Some of the tried-and-true ‘stars’ of today are struggling to sell albums.  What is going to make folks support DeWyze at this point, particular since any sheen from his Idol victory has worn completely off.  No matter whether “Silver Lining” is good enough or not, the promotion of DeWyze’s new album is going to have to be near-perfect to propel the singer/songwriter to new unseen heights. No disrespect intended, but that seems unlikely.

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  1. Not sure he wants to be a “star”.. Just wants to play his music..I think he is one of the most talented artist out there period.. Sales are not a indication of talent.. Lots of untalented auto tuned artist selling a lot ..just check out iTunes any given day!.. I’ll support Lee and his music as long as he makes it. Candice is talented as You say..but her single sold way less than Lee’s coronation ..doesn’t bode well for album sales does it? That is not a escapable fact either …I pray that’s not how she’s judged in her future..she doesn’t deserve it..neither does Lee!

    • I agree with you he likely doesn’t want to be a star. But even on indie label Vanguard, I just hope for his sake he has enough of a base to allow him to ‘make music’ and make enough of a living. I am worried about Candice. She won a season that lost considerable ratings and of course the single sales don’t compare to previous winners and some runner ups. I do think ‘Music Speaks’ (her album) will be an uphill climb, regardless of talent. I hope I’m wrong.

  2. I hope your wrong too.. The music industry is a uphill climb for anyone these days. Tough to make a living regardless .. Talented people are left by the way side for less talented gimmicks IMO .. As for idol alum it’s even worse, bad press only makes it worse.. Lee got far more than he deserved now Candice .. Just kids trying to catch a break while dodging all the bricks thrown at them!
    “Don’t be afraid ” a new song Lee is playing at shows has a line ” everyone is waiting for the fall”.. Ain’t that the truth!

  3. Lee just debuted much of the new album at a recent Stageit show. I think this album is going to do extremely well and the music is exceptional… song after song. I especially love Frames,The Ride,Don’t Be Afraid but they are all good. He also has been getting great support from Yahoo Music who has headlined him twice recently. It seems like the pieces are in place for him to finally receive the recognition he deserves.

    Now if critics will start writing about the new music and in the current time frame rather than writing about the past he may be able to overcome the hurdle.


    Yahoo Music:
    The Rise of Lee DeWyze


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