Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze both dropped by their record label: For 'Idol', what a difference a year makes


Image Credit: Michael Becker/Fox

American Idol Season 9 runner-up Crystal Bowersox has split with label RCA/Jive, a rep for the singer confirmed yesterday to TVLine.

Bowersox, whose debut album Farmer’s Daughter sold 210,000 copies (compared to Idol winner Lee Dewyze’s Live It Up, which moved just 168,000 copies.), said, “For not having any radio play and any great promotion, I think I’ve done pretty well on sales … I’m able to provide a good, comfortable life for my family, and that’s what I wanted out of it.” She says that she expects that her second album will be released independently.

Reports of Bowersox’s split arrive just two weeks after news that Lee DeWyze had been dropped by RCA as well. Apparently, Season 9 of American Idol, which many viewers felt was lackluster edition, just didn’t produce a bankable star. (Although, technically, the jury’s out on third-place finisher Casey James, who just released his debut country single “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night.” He seems to be Season 9’s last hope.)


Image Credit: Frank Micelotta/Fox/Picture Group

Meanwhile, Season 10’s top two finishers, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, both of whom are managed by Interscope and signed to Mercury Nashville, are both kicking off their careers with decidedly healthier results.

In its first two weeks on the chart, Scotty McCreery’s Clear As Day has sold a strong 285,000 copies, while Lauren Alaina’s Wildflower managed to sell 69,000 copies (the best female country debut since 2006) in its debut last week. HITS Daily Double predicts that those titles will sell an additional 65,000 and 30,000, respectively, this week. Not too shabby for a couple of teens!

Perhaps the better numbers are a result of country audiences more willingly buying whole albums than pop listeners, or perhaps Scotty and Lauren benefited from October release dates, rather than the more competitive mid-November (Lee) and December (Crystal) dates of their predecessors. Or maybe audiences just like them more—after all, Scotty and Lauren fit into the smiley, bright-eyed, big-dreaming mold of American Idol better than the more subdued Bowersox and DeWyze.

Whatever the reason, McCreery and Alaina (and hopefully Haley Reinhart one day soon!) are re-establishing American Idol as a brand that can produce stars—so long as they aren’t named Pia Toscano, of course. She just never really happened, did she?

What do you think? Will Bowersox and DeWyze find success on the indie circuit? Will McCreery and Alaina experience career longevity? Sound off about all your favorite Idol-ites in the comments below!

Lauren Alaina debuts in fifth place on the Billboard 200
‘American Idol’ roundup: Four new music videos from non-winners: What do you think?
Scotty McCreery sings the national anthem at the World Series

Follow Grady on Twitter: @EWGradySmith

Comments (124 total) Add your comment
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  • Bob

    Pia Toscano will become the BEST of all American Idols! Voices like Pia’s are 1 in a trillion.

    • LOL

      America loves Pia.

      • Winnie50

        @ LOL – I think this is the only time that I have actually agreed with your America loves crap schtick. Hopefully her record sales, if she actaully releases an album, don’t make this sad and mostly untrue statement about America true.

      • linda

        They do? Don’t think so…her 1st single flopped

        Scotty and Lauren seem to be way more popular than Pia

    • Pia is done.

      And drying out every second that goes by. Get her out of the oven—stat.

    • mh2365

      spoken like a true gay guy … because Pia has a voice only gays and vagina’s could love

      • MattyB

        I find mh2365’s comment to be offensive, insensitive and totally true.

      • Mirko

        A bit off topic, but what is the ltesat on sales for Pia, Haley etc? Does anyone have up to date numbers?

    • AK

      Pia has the kind of conventionally nice voice that you could find in any school choir. She doesn’t bring anything unique to pop music.

      • mh2365

        100% true .. but that is true of most Idols … they get all crazy over every fat black girl they have on there that sings “And I’m Telling You” but you could throw a stone in any black church and hit a girl that can sing like that … when they do manage to get someone unique all the 12 year old girls who vote don’t vote for them ..

    • dog breath

      Ummmm, better than Carrie or Kelly? Go smoke some more meth dude, lol

    • Robert

      They may love her, but they don’t love her first single cause it is not selling (or getting airplay)

    • John

      She was bested by Melanie Amaro on X Factor USA.

    • Fred

      Pia is ok, but she doesn’t have that “IT” factor that Haley has. Watching the Rock Medley they sang during Top 9 Week, you will clearly hear character in Haley’s voice that is missing when Pia sings.

    • dude

      Voices like Pia you are going to find on the very first day of next year’s auditions.

  • jpratm

    the bad management team at RCA/Jive records are to blame executives are jaded. Music sucks. With all the Lady Gagas, Pitbulls, Drake, Jason Derule, Nikki Minaj out there. Those genuine singer-songwriters get lost . Im not saying that DeWyze or Bowersox where music giants but they had potential. Guess Kelly and Carry are their only hits.

    • Phil

      The problem with people who make comments like you are that singer/songwriters aren’t exactly known as ‘entertainers’ save for a very select few like Jason Mraz (and trust, niether Lee nor Crystal are anywhere near as versatile as he is) for example. America Idol was a platform to introduce not just singers, but entertainers, and sadly there was very little entertaining about Lee, Crystal and even Kris Allen. In these tough times, when GASP! there albums don’t sell how people even throw arms up over them getting dropped after their time on Idol is a joke.
      And honestly, Lady Gaga, Pitbull or Nicki Minaj may not be your thing, but i IMPLORE you to go see ‘em in concert cause guess what? You may not consider them talented but they put on one hell of a live show !

      • Sue

        Live is the operative word. Maybe they are technically “alive” while there but with so many backing tracks, auto tune and lip sincing, they really aren’t “live” like performers used to be.

        Give me a singer-songerwriter, or rocker like Daughtry, or any of his forebearers, or a performer in general, that does not use all that extra stuff anytime. One that doesn’t need to lip sinc or use autotune. One that can command the stage without the flashy costumes and lights and smoke and backup dancers.

      • @Phil

        I wouldn’t say Adele is an “entertainer” like Lady Gaga. Yet she has probably sold more records this year than Gaga did.

    • vin

      Jordin Sparks and Chris daughtry are dfoing pretty good

    • alan of montreal

      Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson haven’t been doing too shabbily, either. And most of the country singers have done reasonably well in that genre, and Mandisa has had a career on the gospel circuit.

  • Corran

    They were from the worst, most untalented season of Idol. It is not a surprise.

    • Ann

      Agreed. Nothing against them personally, but after Season 9 I decided to stop watching altogether.

    • Liza

      Belinda Doolittle was also part of that season. Hardly what I’d call “untalented”. Duh!

      • Tiffany

        MELINDA Doolittle was from Jordyn Sparks season, which I believe was the season before or something

      • Sue

        Melinda Doolittle was season 6.

  • Todd

    I think the newer “idols” are more likeable than Bowersox and Dewyze. And that particular picture of Bowersox and Dewyze you have makes them look like such tools.

    • Jae

      I totally agree. Crystal was talented but not really relatable or like able. Lee had very average talent and low charisma.

      • Thabo

        Here are my stgseguions…Haley-Celine Dion's "The Reason" written by Carole King. I think this song is something that Haley can do well with and it is a bit less known so she can make it her own. My second choice for her is "Been to Canaan".Scotty-He is a big baseball guy, and while it was a chick flick "Now and Forever" from A League of their Own would be a nice touch.Jacob-Hey Girl done by Freddie Scott. The vocals lend to a powerful voice and some overly dramatic phrasing. What Jacob does best.Casey-Well the title that fits him best is Jazzman but I can actually see him doing something like Smackwater Jack where he can play up the oddness of the song.Lauren-Crying in the Rain. Done by the Everly Brothers it has a country feel. My concern is that it might be too soft for her.James-Boy, this is a tough one for him. How about "Pleasant Valley Sunday" by the Monkees done metal style.

  • Brigette

    I’m not a HUGE Pia fan, but isn’t it a little early to say she “never really happened?”
    I’m afraid that many labels try to box people in to have a certain sound instead of letting them be what they are and experiment. It’s possible some of that happened with Crystal and Lee (I REALLY hope this doesn’t happen with Haley). Whoever gives them creative license is who they should go with, even if it’s with a smaller label. I think Crystal’s attitude is spot-on correct.

    • Phil

      “whoever gives them creative license is who they should go with’ …you poor POOR thing…you must never ever have heard of the ironclad contracts the contestants sign before they even can audition for the first round of try outs ! They have no say after they sign on the dotted line, until up until now, Jive/RCA/Sony/BMG dropped them due to poor sales. However, now that the winner is signed to Interscope/Universal thats why Pia Toscano’s debut single dropped this summer long before any of her castmates…because Jimmy Iovine wwas trying to switch up the old Idol formula….but still even after GIVING away Pia’s video free on iTunes, it did nothing to garner her further interests from people who didn’t watch the show.

    • Tom

      I’m happy to hear he has other tignhs in the works. I’m a fan and will continue to buy his music.

  • Regina

    Crystal was great but was not marketable whatsoever and Lee was incredibly, incredibly boring, no star power at all. What a terrible season this was all the way around: the contestants, the judging, the hosting (I like Ryan but he got on my nerves a few times too many that year.).

    • kahuna

      Lee has no presence whatsoever and was usually out of tune. How the judges could p!mp him the way they did really makes you wonder what they may have been smoking. I truly do believe that simon wanted to sabotage Idol because he was getting his own show. But what excuse did the other judges have?

      • Berenice

        My favtrioes after tonight's performances, in sequence:1. James (who I had thought was only a screamer!) Wow! He was brilliant!2. Casey (So, so good! No surprise there! My only complaint is that I think he sang this song previously. (Maybe it was tryouts.) Am I right? Didn't like hearing a song from him twice. Thought it was a little lazy of him. Though the performance was, admittedly, amazing!3. Hailey (I say the girl has mad talent and can sing anything–she proved that tonight)Faulty performances–didn't like their songs tonight:1. Jacob: What happened, Dude? Not good. Uh, 2. Karen: No strength/power in her voice3. Paul –And he was my favorite til tonight Terrible song. Weird delivery (and I don't mean your moves; I actually like those)4. Thia–What happened, Sweetie? You are better than your performance tonight. (Liked the arrangement; it was the notes you failed to hit)5. Scotty: (Just a preachy, corny song. Did nothing for me.)6. Naima: I didn't like the song choice, the arrangement, or her voice tonight. And she was a favorite of mine, too!)7. Pia: Dated song. Poor choice–makes her appear old fashioned.Good but not great:1. Stefano: Didn't like the song or delivery too much. And I was rooting for him, too. I think he was just a shade off tonight.2. Lauren Alaina: Good, solid voice. Corny song. No interest for me.3. Ashthon. Much, much better tonight. Thought she did well. (I liked the register of her voice so much better in the alto range!

    • Snsetblaze

      Crystal is marketable on the indie-folk-rock, blues and singer-songwriter circuit. Some performers (like the Indigo Girls, Sara McLaughlin, Matthew Sweet, Sean Mullins, Susan Tedeschi and Ani DiFranco for instance) do quite well there. They have a large following, sell lots of albums and sell out smaller theaters and you can see them for a reasonable amount of money (most of the time).

  • Belle

    Lee is over. He had a nice vocal tone, but absolutely no star quality, or anything new/creative/fresh to bring to the music scene. Crystal has a great voice, she may make it in country/indie on a small scale. Looking forward to what Casey comes up with. Scotty was more than a great voice, he had a charm/warmth that engaged audiences; I see him lasting awhile. Lauren has a shot…but she doesn’t seem as grounded as Scotty, so I don’t know how she will handle the fame. Pia had a great voice, but the beauty pageant personality was a turn-off to some. Her pop music was nothing special, so she will probably fade out. Haley is simply cool with the voice, looks, and personality, so I hope I see more of her. People crititcize Idol because a Carrie Underwood-superstar isn’t created every year; but there are several contestants who are working in the entertainment industry because of Idol (a lot do Broadway/theater work now). And former non-winners like Daughtry and Adam Lambert still have viable careers.

    • Zenomath

      Yes, Haley is simply cool with the voice, looks, and personality, and we would all like to see more of her. Her management has to get on that while she is working on the album. She has to do television more, even if she walks in on a tv guide channel interview.

    • r.d.d

      first of all Lee and Crystal were bound to fail RCA just don’t take of there artists. So im not surprised at all they were dropped.As for Scotty he really doesn’t have a great voice its very generic country voice listen country radio all kinds of male artist sound just like him…He gets a pass on his first album maybe second as soon as gets out of his teens his popularity will fade unless he can do more with his voice but I doubt that what you hear now is what you will hear in 5 years just not a great voice its deep thats about it..As for Lauren she is one of the best talents i’ve seen in many years she has a lot better chance then a shot I tend to agree with carrie underwood she will be a superstar her voice is only going to get better with age she already has a great voice…as for Haley really don’t see any star power with her really don’t see her doing a whole lot to be honest.

      • ker

        I never heard much about Lee and Crystal for promotion. Not sure tho as I dont listen to their music. Scotty’s voice is certainly not generic and there is no one in country music like him right now. I know he was compared to several singers when on AI. But, I dont think his new music reflects that fact. I find his music very different from what is out on radio now. As for Lauren I too think she has great potential. I am not sure she knows how good she really is. She is not confident enough right now and will need to overcome that if she is to succeed. I see her fading fast if she does not. Promo’s for Scotty still tag her on to keep her name out there. Each artist after Idol must stand on their own. I don’t think all need to be a Carrie Underwood to be a success. Unfortunately with shows like Idol the competition is never really over. They are always being compared to one another even if they dont sing the same type of music.

      • dude

        That’s great that you don’t see star power in Haley, because then she is going to surprise you and wil make you to be very dissapointed with the “potentially great” Lauren.

      • ann

        Ricky Davis you on here again ditzing scotty trying to sound smart. look at his platinum status. nominations and wins . he is not going anywhere . his Fan base is way older then teens. you are pathetic and frankly I’m tired of seeing your stalker ass every site I go to read about Scotty.

  • Kevin P.

    Being from Raleigh, NC I am (of course) on Team Scotty, but I honestly think both of them have the voices and strong will to have long careers. I love both of their CD’s! Regarding Crystal, her CD is great too. I’m disappointed to read she was dropped. But not for long, I’m sure.

  • Jenna

    I think this really shows that American Idol the show doesn’t excite people anymore. It is still fun to watch but they don’t churn out stars like they used to.

    • TorontoTom

      “Churn out starts like they used to”?!? So ten years of Top 12’s means 120 potential “stars” have been created by Idol. Clarkson & Underwood are the only bonafied huge mega-stars, Daughtry, JHud, Lambert have been successful but the jury’s still out on longevity. So, TWO OUT OF 120 isn’t a great batting average. It’s abysmal.

  • Jenna

    Remember when Pia was voted off? American Idol has become a popularity contest.But the most popular person isn’t always the most talented. Maybe they should let the judges vote like on Dancing with the Stars and let people call in too.

  • Dee

    Knew that was going to happened and there would be no 2nd album for neither one..

    Maybe they will find a small label.

  • Lori

    Haley who?

    • Anonymous

      Always trying to stir up trouble, aren’t we? Don’t feed the troll!

      • @Eve

        But you just did.

  • Anonymous

    “So long as they aren’t named Pia Toscano, of course. She just never really happened, did she?” I love this writer for saying this.

  • JJ

    Lee DeWyze is the new Idol punching bag and somewhere Taylor Hicks is happy about that. DeWyze never made sense as potential winner as he wasn’t as good looking as Chris Allen or didnt sing as well as David Cook. He was redundant and had already failed with previous albums released under a different label.
    Bowersox at least has a tremendous voice and even if she sings lousy songs she sound good whereas Lee just isn’t a good singer. Their season was by far the worst yet as the judges kept pushing “artists” and not singers so they put people THEY though were interesting and the audience was left bored while Kara droned on annoying us and poor Ellen just sat there happy to have a good seat and making us uncomfortable without having any reason for being there. Paula was smart to have bailed.
    Change was good for Idol and this season and it’s “winner” best forgotten.

    • LL

      I love Lee Dewyze’s music. His live performances show his talent. Check out anything on Youtube. Lets see how he does with the music that is he writing and recording now. There is definitely a core group of fans who are there for the long haul.

      • Sam

        I liked Lee’s album. He’s sort of boring in concert, but I like listening to his songs. I think he has a pretty good voice, but not enough charisma. I think Crystal will be fine.

  • Jade

    Crystal is very talented she will be all right. Both Lee and Crystal just wasn’t major label artist candidates. Both of them didn’t get a lot of support from their labels. They will properly be happier on indie labels.
    But I would never understand why they pushed so hard for Lee and Crystal that year. Casey was clearly the most marketable.

    • Kiki

      I agree that Crystal will be all right. I didn’t buy her album for months after it came out because I didn’t even know it existed…but now it’s among my top three post-Idol albums. She’s just amazingly good.

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