Back to Reality is periodic feature of the blog where I report on the real world doings of ex-Idolists, as well as past contestants from The Voice and X-Factor. In truth, I only ever watched these shows to find people worth talking about once they were competing in the business, and by the business, I mean the industry.
My Girl Lauren Alaina (Idol runner-up, S10) had the number one song (The Road Less Traveled) on country radio for the week of April 11 which was a big enough deal to be written about extensively within the industry (e.g. Billboard); outside the industry (e.g. Washington Post); and the blogosphere (e.g. blowhards like me).
It’s a big deal because country radio has been dominated by males for the past five years and while change is happening, it’s coming too slowly for many talented female artists. When a woman – a young one, especially – gets to the top spot, it’s attention-getting. It’s also a big deal in that record labels have been very impatient over the last decade. If you get signed to a deal and don’t get a top ten hit – at a minimum! – right away, they move their attention and promo money to another artist.
In Lauren’s case, she got a record deal coming off Idol in 2011 and then “struggled” with three songs charting on country radio between #28-36. It’s unusual for any artist to get so many chances, especially in the male-dominated world of country radio. I would love to know what the label’s thinking was behind their patient development of her career. I mean besides the fact that I thought she had this kind of potential all along.
La’Porsha Renae (Idol runner-up, S15) was signed to a joint recording deal with Motown/Universal and Idol mentor Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records in spite of unjustifiably finishing second in the show’s last season. That was a good decision by Scott.
Her song Battles was the theme song for the 2016 Summer Olympics Women’s Gymnastics team. She currently has a top ten hit on Urban AC radio with Good Woman. And her new album released early this month Already All Ready has cracked several Billboard sales charts including the all-important Billboard 200.
Yeah, I believe I had that one, too. La’P was one of the greatest Idol singers ever, full stop. I was thrilled when Scott Borchetta worked out a recording deal with Motown for her. And I’m even happier to see her (obvious) talent recognized in real reality.
I really love the album, by the way. Motown had the good sense to pair the talented singer with a quality producer, Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande, Fifth Harmony, Fantasia) and songwriters such as Ne-Yo and Dianne Warren. The big opening song What Is Love just slays me. Other current faves are:
- the Aretha-like current single Good Woman;
- the dark, Beyonce-meets-Rihanna When In Rome;
- the sumptuous-accompanied-by-piano-and-strings Breathe;
- and the could-have-been-written-by-Sia Stay.
La’P’s Already All Ready is a solid, current-sounding R&B album that doesn’t have a bum note.
 Urban Adult Contemporary or what used to be called R&B stations, i.e. “black radio”.
 Everybody uses that phrase these days. I’m not sure why. But I’m doing it, too? Am I so easily influenced?