Final standings for American Idol, season 5, and the U.S. sales from their first record:
1. Taylor Hicks: 699,000
2. Katherine McPhee: 355,000
3. Elliot Yamin: 421,556
4. Chris Daughtry: 3,590,048
5. Paris Bennett:(No record; what is up with that? She was the best singer of the season and a spitfire performer too...)
6. Kellie Pickler: 679,000
7. Ace Young: (No album but then, he was more of a poster boy than a performer anyway...)
8. Bucky Covington: 260,000
Obviously, Daughtry was the rightful winner, as Cowell said. He was an overwhelming crowd pleaser and never failed to give his all. He was consistent and true to his rock influences. He was offered the job as lead singer of Tool, but wisely turned it down to form his own band.
Many of the runners-up did nicely for themselves; Paris Bennett is a hideous oversight. She's young, mannered, perky, has a wallop of a voice, and is a cagey stage performer. Her elimination, followed by Daughtry's, seriously called into question the format of allowing viewers complete discretion to decide who gets bounced. No "saved by the judges" on this cut-throat show.
Cowell spent week after week mocking Hicks as a "bad wedding singer." This was fairly close to the truth, but Hicks looks and sounds a lot like Michael McDonald slash Kenny Rogers, and had no trouble bopping around in his sneakers while going for the gusto night after night. He was perhaps even more of a crowd pleaser than Daughtry, because he engaged the audience the way, say, a wedding singer would.
Cowell had his eyes on the marketplace, where Hicks' act would wear thin and Daughtry's voice would stand out. Despite winning it all and with the push of a major label, producer and publicity machine behind him, Hicks became the first American Idol who failed to sell 1 million copies of his debut. He missed by quite a lot, actually, and was closely followed by 6th place finisher Pickler.
Daughtry, of course, lapped the field several times over.
The label dropped Hicks.
NYTimes (via AP) with Taylor's new plan: