'American Idol': Who has the most commercial potential?

17570__elliott_lOne of the great things about the just-wrapped fifth season of American Idol is that — unlike in previous years, where only two, maybe three finalists seemed likely to find post-show success on the Billboard charts — the current (and very deep) crop could yield as many as six or seven potential stars. This, of course, means fans of champ Taylor Hicks, runner-up Katharine McPhee, and also-rans Elliott Yamin, Chris Daughtry, Paris Bennett (and maybe even Mandisa and Kellie Pickler, though the latter seems more likely to be the next Kelly Ripa) can keep hopes alive that their favorites will prevail where it really counts — at the sales counter. Taylor’s the only one who’s guaranteed to go platinum, considering all four prior winners did the same, but trying to determine if the other contestants will emulate Clay Aiken or Jasmine Trias is about as tricky as translating a Paula Abdul critique. Not that it’s going to stop me from predicting my top three candidates for long-term music success (sorry, Princess P!):

3. Chris Daughtry: No doubt, the bald-headed dude’s humungous charisma and flawless vocals are going to land him a major-label contract, but his Achilles’ heel, a sometimes questionable taste in music, prevents me from putting him atop this list. Sure, his ”Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” and ”The Letter” were awesome, but those covers of Creed and Shinedown felt a wee bit 2001, no?

2. Taylor Hicks: The anti-Soul Patrol troops say his gray hair and goofy persona will doom him to flash-in-the-pan status. But I say folks who are disenfranchised with today’s shallow, videogenic output are gonna storm their record stores — as long as Taylor doesn’t get saddled down with too many drippy inspirational ballads. Case in point: Last weekend, my brother, who doesn’t own a CD recorded prior to 1975, heard Taylor’s ”Takin It to the Streets” on my Idol Encores CD, and said, ”How come you’re playing a good song?”

1. Elliott Yamin: Much to my delight, I’ve heard fewer and fewer derogatory remarks (and increasingly more raves) about Elliott’s looks with each passing week of the Idol competition. But whether or not the guy submits to the dentist’s chair, who cares? His voice is amazing, and if he taps into the confidence he showed during last night’s results show (and Mary J. Blige duet, pictured), he could bridge a massive market spanning from Michael BublĂ© to John Legend. A quick listen to Elliott’s ”A Song for You” tells the story: The boy’s a hottie, and soon enough, he’ll have the sales to prove it.

Okay, PopWatchers, you’ve got my post-Idol predictions. Who do you think will be the top three sellers from season 5?

addCredit(“Elliott Yamin and Mary J. Blige: Ray Mickshaw/WireImage.com”)

Comments (151 total) Add your comment
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  • jamal

    sorry, but elliot is no clay aiken. No one can pull the runner up thing like clay has..

  • RBlues

    I just heard Elliott’s song on the radio. People who didn’t watch American Idol are calling in going “who IS this guy?” and, “He WASN’T the winner?–You’re kidding me!”, etc., etc,.
    I knew this would happen. His voice is amazing and on the radio, it’s even more phenomenal!
    Go Elliott, remember us (who were faithful) when you’re a star!

  • donner

    Chris, Elliott and Taylor, but because they all serve different audiences, its hard to say who will be the biggest seller…but theses will be your top three, yes indeedy…

  • Amanda

    Damn straight, elliot is no Clay. Clay has a very specific (though large) demographic — mostly preteen girls, and middle-aged ladies. Elliot’s voice and style will, I predict, somewhat transcend demographics. All kinds of people will love him. And based on my friends, I can tell you that he is absolutely slaying the young women. Then again, I guess teenagers have the most disposable income these days?

  • John

    Clay Aiken, a success?? right…Elliott, unlike Aiken, has a great, soulful voice. Aiken’s voice is too Vegas-esque.

  • jason

    i think mandisa will shine in gospel music, although gospel doesn’t sell, and paris has a lot going for her. but i think she needs to stay closers to the standards and farther away from the hoochie mamas. however, she’s most likely to be the next whitney (when she was good. if whitney wants to make a come-back, she BETTER do it now!!!), with the right songs, she’s a shoo-in for superstar status

  • WRC

    ELLIOTT! ELLIOTT! ELLIOTT!

  • Sunny McVale

    I’ve thought all along Elliott was #1 and would be #1 in music sales, possibly exceeding all previous Idol winners. He truly deserved to win the competition. My second pick for this Idol season is Taylor Hicks, who I believe was the people’s choice. My third choice is Bucky Covington. I can’t wait to hear all of them on the radio.

  • Eve

    Elliott, obviously.
    I look forward to his second album, after he breaks the chains from 19E and can record better material than Diane Warren and Diane Warren-esque schlock they will undoubtedly make him record when they sign him.

  • Danielle

    I think that the three guys, Elliott, Taylor, and Chris are gonna come out on the top for this season. Each guy owns his genre but I think Elliott will so the best because after his performance with Mary J (which was the best duet of the night) he will easily top the charts!!

  • pat from NJ

    I agree with most comments. He has the greatest appeal and has the best voice out of all. I would buy CD’s of Elliott and Chris and possibly Mandisa, depending upon the kind of music. It should have been Elliott and Chris in the top 2. I only know that I will buy Elliott’s CD, possibly Chris’s, but no one else’s. (Unless Taylor blows me away). Love Elliott’s voice and style….

  • Jennifer

    I was a taylor fan since day one of his audition. I really think he turned some heads when people first heard him sing. Because of that I think that records are going to soar–if not the Idol viewers themselves, then certainally their parents!
    As much as I hate to admit it, Kat has a great voice and is going to appeal to just about everyone, whether you’re female and like her singing, or male and like her looks (and singing).
    And then there is Chris. We all know he’s got it going on. Enough said.
    Here’s my prediction:
    1. Chris
    2. Taylor
    3. Kat

  • Yankeefan

    Kat is a beautiful girl. I think her dream is to be in the movies, as per what she has been saying in her post show interviews. I think her album with be bleh because she just doesn’t have the passion for music like Elliott and Taylor do. I agree, Elliott is going to be very successful, that voice is like BUTAH!!

  • Snaps

    Slezak,
    We must be kindred souls because your critiques are always right on point with me. No doubt Elliott stands head and shoulders above the others in the competition. Chris is a star, but he doesn’t sing the type of music that I prefer to listen to. Elliott on the other hand, has filled my Luther, Donnie, and Marvin void. Early in the competition, it bewildered me as to why so many people didn’t see how great this guy is. I was beginning to feel like I was alone in a vaccuum. Then finally…everyone else began to see the light. I find myself almost giddy when it comes to hearing him sing. And I am so not the “fanatic” type.

  • Liz

    ELLIOTT all the way!!!

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