Candice Glover wowed Americans everywhere, becoming the most recent victor on American Idol (Season 12). However, after Glover was crowned the winner, the skepticism of how successful her July 16th release, Music Speaks, was growing, likely rightfully so. That same skepticism came from me, a fan of Glover, who has been waiting for an ‘R&B’ idol since Jordin Sparks. As happy as I was/am to see Glover deservingly win and have that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make her dreams come true, I am very concerned about those aspirations being deferred. While I’m not trying to be a ‘negative Nancy’ or kill my girl’s vibe, there are five reasons I believe Candice just might have an uphill battle towards superstardom. Some of them are already playing a role in trying to break her career.
1) Low American Idol Ratings
It is no secret that American Idol season 12 was ‘whack’. America rightfully crowned a female winner after a lengthy drought, but other than that, there were numerous flaws about the show. The judge chemistry was off, and from the onset, it seemed too much of the show was going to rely on friction from divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Add to that that most thought Nicki Minaj was a terrible choice and few kept their opinions of her to themselves during the course of the season. The talent itself was also an issue, as the guys were significantly weaker than the girls, exiting one right after another.
Furthermore, the format has just grown overly predictable and the lack of a truly captivating new talent or even ridiculously bad talent seems lacking. Everything was working against the show and this time, it was folks watching something else besides the aging juggernaut. This can’t bode well for Glover because the sales of the American Idol franchise have been lower than they once were with a relatively successful season. This fact alone places a dint into Glover’s chance at success.
2) Unremarkable Single Sales
“Home” by Phillip Phillips ended up being a smash single, easily the definitive single from World From The Side of the Moon (“Gone Gone Gone” hasn’t had the same ‘traction’, but is picking up some steam).
“I Am Beautiful” by Glover is lovely, but it doesn’t have the benefit of being as unique as “Home” was. Glover sold a tepid 54,000 copies of “I Am Beautiful” it’s first week out… ugh (New ‘Idol’ downloads lag behind previous winners – USA Today). Sure maybe the single isn’t the second coming, BUT it’s not completely because of Candice herself but rather the circumstances (marketability plays a role).
Going back to point number one, Season 12 is quickly gaining traction as one Idol’s worst seasons and least watched. Why would you purchase a single if you don’t care, even if you are still watching just because of ‘loyalty’ to the show? That’s a strike right there. The next strike goes into the next point with is ‘R&B’. How many R&B singles are garnering a ton of success these days? Producers may try to make Glover straddle pop and urban music as much as they/she can, but ultimately, the big-voiced diva is an R&B singer aka S-O-U-L. That’s not the trend now, as many folk are either into the folk-resurgence/indie thing or EDM and EDM-infused pop.
3. R&B Continues to Trend Down
Let’s be honest. R&B has cooled off, period. Its artists are experiencing slimmer and slimmer weeks and receiving fewer/if any certification from the RIAA. That’s right. The elites of the new soul game are struggling – Alicia Keys and Usher chief amongst them with recent efforts. How can a less established R&B singer buck the trend? There are two answers. Number one is the television promotion/exposure of American Idol – go on and strike that off as ‘we already know’ where that went. Number two is to create a truly unique R&B album (like Miguel, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd) or carefully straddle pop (like Jordin Sparks did in 2007). Both of these options seem more difficult for the artist that Glover is, or the perception of the artist that she is. With the album coming out July 16th, how will there be time to craft a truly special album in which music truly does speak?
4. Lax Promotion
American Idol’s best promotional tool of the past was the show itself. As far as promotion outside of the show itself, things seem less notable. Now that the show is suffering in the ratings, promotion looks to only get worse. We already know that “I Am Beautiful” didn’t do well commercially. Furthermore, we know that we’ve heard of no push to propel the single further into the spotlight since those disappointing sales. Even with the album due so soon, there is no single aside from “I Am Beautiful” in rotation for Glover… July will be here before you know it. It’s this lack of a great, well developed promotional campaign that just might stick the fork in another talented singer who has a questionable marketing team.
5. Major Record Labels Tend to Have a ‘Short Leash’
This reason incorporates a lot of considerations. First of all, as alluded earlier, Music Speaks’ release date is ‘early’. With such a short time period, one has to question the quality of the ‘material’, not so much the vocalist (unless she suddenly sounds like a train wreck, which is doubtful). If an album sounds rushed, it is likely to get bad press, hence becoming highly criticized which can further affect sales.
The next thing goes along with number four. Major labels these days seem less ‘concerned’ with the R&B promotional campaigns. Maybe that sounds biased/prejudiced but everyone knows that R&B is drawing much smaller sales. Part of this ‘short leash’ I mention is that less money and time will be placed on an ‘x-factor’, unknown artist like Glover because it’s quite possible she doesn’t fit the mode of commercial success anyways. Cruel? Yes, but the music industry and major labels can be cutthroat a*holes.
Finally, the second part the ‘short leash’ argument is that should Candice’s first album be a flop (which looks possible because of the combination of everything I’ve said), she could find herself dropped in a heartbeat. Major labels are about making ‘major’ money. If your album doesn’t sell, they are not going to invest money into someone who they don’t believe anyone will buy. I pray this is not the lot for Candice Glover, but the major route is an arduous one where sales are everything, regardless of artistry or raw, potential talent.
Candice’s first album may compromise her talent/potential talent level by being rushed by a quick ‘turn-around’ date. The album will likely have insufficient promotion, hurt by ailing Idol ratings, poor single reception/sales, and a lack of deeper monetary investment. Because of this, the album will likely fall short in the sales department. However, if July 16 proves to be a slim release week, Glover, who is currently trending upward on the pre-order (on amazon.com’s list), may be able to benefit. Hopefully my pessimism is a WORST case scenario. I wish Candice the upmost success and career.
- Opinion: A Mediocre American Idol Season ‘Got It Right’ – Unbelievable! (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Single Review: Candice Glover, “I Am Beautiful” (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Candice Glover Is Your Newest “American Idol”! (mix965houston.cbslocal.com)
- Candice Glover wins AI season 12 (rappler.com)
- Candice Glover Wins American Idol, Album Now Available for Pre-Order (livelyindepthmusicent.com)
- Newly Minted “American Idol” Candice Glover Talks Album and Second Chances (blackamericaweb.com)
- Candice Glover FINALLY wins “American Idol” (livenycmagazine.wordpress.com)