Ruben Studdard released three albums before getting dropped. Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee got a year and a half on their post-Idol contracts before being let go. Now 2007 American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis has been cast away by Arista, less than a year after they announced signing him. How long will Jive give David Archuleta to find a niche? Six months?
Lewis claims that he never wanted to sign to a major in the first place (I mean, who goes on American Idol wanting corporate assistance in becoming rich and famous?), but whether it’s a sign that execs aren’t going to suffer some “creative control” fool following Kelly Clarkson’s My December, or that one shot is all you get in the current marketplace, news like this will probably make next year’s contestants even more complacent about actually winning the competition once they’ve made the top 12 and achieved enough name recognition to shop for a label that will let them live out whatever their ridiculous artistic ambitions are.
The question remains: what will become of Blake Lewis? Will he find a home willing to encourage his whimsical ways? Will the lack of the necessary flash and budget force him to abandon his dramatic R & B and settle for a Broadway cameo? While the answers are blatantly “nothing much,” “no,” and “maybe he can play Prez in The Wire: The Musical,” I feel sorry that we’ll probably never see a freak like him reach so high on American Idol again.