Jason Aldean easily tops the album chart this week with 281K in sales. That’s both impressive and a disappointment. It’s impressive because it is one of the bigger debut sales we’ve had this year. It’s disappointing because when the industry expects you to sell 450-500K in your first week and you sell just over half that, you have failed. Especially when your previous album sold 409K in it’s first week and you’ve led off with a smash single. Still, it’s profitable and Jason won’t be having to eat cat food anytime soon (unless he wants to).
Alex and Sierra is the big debut we’ve been watching this week. They appeared on the last and lowest rated season of the US version of X-Factor. The show was headed towards cancellation and created a whiff of flopitude around the entire season. Alex and Sierra never stopped working and their fans have eagerly purchased the singles they released. Would they continue to buy the album? Sales looked grim yesterday morning with a mere 2,131 for 42nd reported. But, one must always wait until the final HDD reports before knowing the entire story. A&S ended the week with 27,459 for 7th. Very respectable considering the circumstances.
How do Alex and Sierra rack up compared to other X-Factorers? Obviously, we’ll ignore the UK people because that show is actually itself a success and there are some big success stories off that franchise. Let’s compare them to the winners first (let’s see how many we remember):
Season 1 Winner: Melanie Amaro – Hopes were high for this first winner of the franchise. Simon Cowell was believed to be a skilled scout of talent and Fox had wasted no effort in advertising their next hit music program. Simon bragged of 20M viewers and you knew he thought he would bury Idol. He guaranteed a $5M prize because he assured the world he would be finding a star. Even Pepsi committed to featuring the winner in a Superbowl ad that was sure to be a talking point. Well, ratings weren’t as big as Simon had hoped, Melanie didn’t quite have the star power and Pepsi featured Elton John in the ad in order to give it more heft. The label did try several singles for Melanie, but nothing really took. The album release date kept being pushed out and has yet to be released. It likely never will be.
Season 2 Winner: Tate Stevens – Here is a guy who could have success if Idol was any indication. He was the traditional WGWG and Country music is somewhat welcoming to reality singing show competitors. Ratings had sagged for X-Factor and Britney had flopped as a judge, but surely Simon could turn this boat around? This time, they didn’t waste any time in getting out an album for their second winner (they had to release something or nobody would take the show seriously – or so they thought. The Voice demonstrates clearly that nobody is paying attention). Tate released a self-titled album in April of 2013 to finish 18th on the BB200 with 17K in sales.
Clearly, Alex and Sierra are the most successful winners of the X-Factor US.
But, sometimes, it is not the winners who do the best.
Josh Krajcik (2): Burrito dude. He actually released an independent EP before his label album. I can’t easily find any numbers
Chris Rene (3): Recovering addict. “I’m Right Here” debuted at 55 with 9K in sales. Total around 22K
Marcus Canty (4): Released an EP. Sold 4K for 114th on the chart. Fair number of singles released.
Rachel Crow (5): Cute kid. Released an EP. Did not chart on the BB200 (but managed to on one of the Heatseakers). No numbers
Astro (7): Cute kid who raps. Released a bunch of mixed tapes. No numbers
Carly Rose Sinclair (2): Cute kid. Picked up by Syco and working on album. No release date yet.
Fifth Harmony (3): Made up Girl Band. First album due out in December
Emblem3 (4): Not a Boy Band. Released “Nothing to Lose” which sold 46,000 for 7th on the BB200 album. They have since lost their recording contract
So, it would appear that Alex and Sierra are the second biggest success of the X-Factor US franchise so far. If we compare them to winners of the Voice, two of the six Voice winners have outsold them. Season 3’s Cassadee Pope opened with 43K and Season 4’s Danielle Bradbery opened with 41K. Javier Colon (Season 1) opened with 9,974 and Tessanne Chin (Season 5) opened with 7K. Season 2’s Jermaine Paul and Season 6’s Josh Kaufman have yet to release albums. Alex and Sierra also sold out the most recent Idol Winner Caleb Johnson who opened with 11K. Candice Glover the year before sold in the same range at 27K.
On the digital front, Taylor Swift will likely have the best selling single and will go on to top the Hot 100. She’s passed Meghan in AI.