Oh, Chris Sligh. I remember when you first graced my TV screen way back in 2007, a breath of fresh air amongst a crop of season six Idol lookers like Haley Scarnato. Oh, how silly you were, bouncing into that Idol audition room in Birmingham like an ever-huggable Teletubby, spouting off funny-isms like, “[I want] to make David Hasselhoff cry.”
But now, Chris Sligh, you’re making me cry. And not in a good way. This past Saturday, you took to your blog to give season 8’s top ten Idols some advice following their final tour date. And though you make some valid points throughout your rant (and yes, I will qualify it as a rant), most of your blog post just reeks of arrogance and negativity. So let’s take a look, and refute — and support when necessary — some of your points, shall we?
NOTE: This blog post was written prior to Chris’ add-on to his own post, but scheduled to run after Chris’ qualifier showed up. I completely forgive him — and commend him for trying to help out other struggling Idols — after seeing his follow-up, in which he wrote: “The reason I wrote it is because I genuinely want for the Idols to read it, heed it and do well. Not everyone is trying for a career in the fashion I’m pointing out here…if the Idols want to do Broadway or acting or anything other than being a pop (inclusive of rock, r&b, etc) performer, this article/blog entry isn’t for them…each situation is going to be different. But the basic premise involved with this article is true: if you work hard, you can and should be successful. Secondly, this post aims at the top 10 members who have not been signed to 19E. We all know that those who have won or come in 2nd have failed, but they did have all the opportunities in the world coming off of Idol. My post is to the unsigned, lower ranking Idols.” Chris, let’s hug it out.
Here’s my rant:
1. “I believe that this season of Idol was one of the most talented, but if history repeats itself the majority of these Idols will do nothing in music and will be washes within three or four years.” This sentence includes one true statement, and one false statement. TRUE: This season’s Idol cast was one of the most talented (Kradison!). FALSE: “The majority of these Idols will do nothing in music.” Now, there might have been plenty of top ten contestants that have yet to grace the Billboard charts — say, Christina Christian or Matthew Rogers — but lots, if not most, Idol alums do indeed continue careers in music, however dim their star might be. Hell, even season four’s forgettable Lindsey Cardinale recorded a track for a 2008 Christmas album (albeit an Idol-themed one). And last I checked, that’s music.
2. “From my season of Idol, Jordin Sparks has an actual career. Blake probably should’ve but doesn’t – though he does have a chance to connect in the dance world with his new music. Melinda is not doing much (though here [sic] album was very well received from the critics).” TRUE: Jordin Sparks does have a career. FALSE: Blake should have had a career, and he does. He’s releasing a new album this fall on Tommy Boy records. And if one has an album, I believe that counts as a career. As for Melinda, oh, Chris, honey, no you didn’t. Dissing Melinda Doolittle, the most likable contestant of your season? That’s a no-no, even if she hasn’t (yet) hit the top of the charts. Especially when the girl released one amazing album. Moving on.
3. “How is it that the fat, not-so-great-looking guy who came in 10th place is the 2nd or 3rd most successful from his season and top 5 most successful over Season 6 & 7?” TRUE: Depending on how you measure “success,” Chris, your first statement might be valid. After all, you do have a respectable career in Christian music, and you boast one heckuva writing credit: the Rascal Flatts hit, “Here Comes Goodbye.” But Jordin has a respectable career in R&B, Blake in dance-pop, and Sanjaya in general fame-whoring. And don’t forget Jared Cotter (which you didn’t). So isn’t it hard to rank “success” here, considering you all are pursuing unique careers? FALSE: You claim you’re in the top five successful artists throughout season 6 and 7. Well, now we’re just getting greedy, aren’t we? If we count David Cook, David Archuleta, Jason Castro, and Carly Smithson — who had a mild hit even before she appeared on Idol — and I’d say you’re lucky to crack the top eight (But again, how do we measure “success”?). And don’t forget that you have an entire year’s advantage over the season 7 Idols — It took Jennifer Hudson nearly three years to rise to stardom after her Idol run. And one more thing: Obviously, there’s a reason you referenced those two seasons. Admittedly, season six was probably one of Idol‘s weakest, making it easier for you to prove your point with so few Billboard-charting alums. But the season before yours, season five — which you neglected to reference — boasted several bona fide stars that continue to make headlines today. A sampling: Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, Elliott Yamin, Katharine McPhee, and Kevin Covais. That’s not half bad, is it?
4. “…most successful over Season 6 & 7? The difference is pure drive and ambition and work ethic…I have simply worked my tail off, been pro-active and worked on becoming better at my craft. Not that other people haven’t worked…sure they’ve worked…but not on the right things.” FALSE: Obviously, Chris, you must have access to the planners belonging to every single Idol contestant that ever found their way onto the show. Saying you’ve worked harder than most of them is like me saying I sing better in the shower than most of my fellow EW staffers. There is simply no way of proving that without seriously violating one’s privacy.
5. “[19E doesn’t] care about the ones who get away unless they make really really good (i.e. Jennifer Hudson and…well, that’s it).” TRUE: When Idol alums don’t perform up to expectations, 19E tends to drop them like they’re extremely hot (ahem, Taylor Hicks). Chris, I agree with you here (though it’s a bit harsh to claim they “don’t care.”). But there are plenty of lesser-known record companies that DO care about Idol‘s cast-offs. So let’s not forget about those.
6. “My message to Season 8. You’re not going to be successful. You’re not going to be millionaires (with the exception of MAYBE Kris and Adam). You are going to struggle. No one will care about you. Those fans who’ve been asking for your autograph all tour long — 98% of them don’t give a flying poo about you once the next season of Idol starts.” Quick — someone call 9-1-1 and tell the ambulance to race to Michael Slezak’s residence! I believe you just dissed Allison Iraheta! And that sort of dis will not only infuriate Idol nation, but will kill our dear Slezak. But let’s move on to this egregious and unnecessary harsh piece of advice. FALSE: “You’re not going to be successful.” Chris, that must be one pessimistic Magic 8-Ball you’ve got lying around your room. FALSE: “You’re not going to be millionaires (with the exception of MAYBE Kris and Adam).” Maybe? Maybe? Say that to Glambert nation. And you’re crazy to leave season 8 contestants like Allison and Danny Gokey off your list. Maybe it’s just my optimistic Magic 8-Ball talking — I do most of my shopping in Shangri-La — but Allison is capable of awesome success. And with a country album underway, Danny Gokey’s future is sure looking bright. TRUE: “You are going to struggle.” What successful musician hasn’t? FALSE: “No one will care about you.” Chris, as an Idol junkie, I still care about old contestants. I even still care about Nikki McKibbin, Jasmine Trias, Anwar Robinson — and even you, regardless of how I feel about your blog. FALSE: “Those fans who’ve been asking for your autograph…don’t give a flying poo about you once the next season of Idol starts.” See last point. Speaking of which — Chris, can I have your autograph?
7. “In other words, your days of being a star are over.” Tell that to Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, etc. etc. etc. as they perform in sold-out stadiums.
Your blog post does continue, and, to your credit, does skew a little more positive. You share some great advice outlining how to make the most of your Idol career. But Chris, was the first part of this post really necessary? Why did you have to sully some wonderful advice? Did you really need to insult several Idol alums — including those that you shared the stage with — before sharing some useful secrets to making it in the biz? Tough love is one thing, but it’s another to be, well, kind of a jerk.
PopWatchers, do you agree or disagree with Chris?