The producers of American Idol have become very savvy with releasing music throughout each season in order to capture potential sales as quickly as possible. In season 10, American Idol took that strategy to a new level by releasing a single for a contestant who didn't even make it to the Top 24. Read on for a review of Chris Medina's "What Are Words."
When Losing is a Winning Situation
Chris Medina was anointed an early favorite for American Idol season 10 in the auditions when he sang for the judges in Milwaukee. Not only did Chris Medina sing well enough to get through, but he also won over the judges and the audience with the story of his fiance's accident and slow recovery. However, once Hollywood week began, Chris Medina seemed to get lost in the middle of the pack with some less-than-stellar performances. While many viewers may have been surprised that Chris Medina didn't make it through to the Top 24, even Jennifer Lopez could not argue with not putting him through.
In past seasons, an elimination prior to the Top 12 meant that a contestant was on their own to pursue a recording contract, but season 10 of American Idol saw the introduction of Jimmy Iovine. Not only did Jimmy Iovine help with the contestants personally, he also brought along his own team of writer/producers, including hitmaker Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, known for his work with artists like Brandy, Beyonce and Britney Spears. Inspired by Chris and his finace's story, he wrote "What Are Words" and recorded it a few days after Chris was eliminated from American Idol.
When Good Isn't Good Enough
At the heart of "What Are Words" are lyrics inspired by things Chris Medina said and did during the audition and Hollywood week portions of the show. When Chris Medina sings "what kind of guy would I be/if I was to leave when you need me most," that lyric came straight from his own mouth when describing his dedication to helping his fiance Juliana ovecome the injuries sustained in her car accident. Unfortunately, Chris Medina's vocal performance is not as inspired as the lyrics are, and the song suffers because there isn't anything about it that is memorable. "What Are Words" is okay
on its own, and Chris can sing, but the individual aspects of the song don't gel, causing the song to not stand out. Maybe Chris Medina will do better in the future with material he helps write, but for now, it is not looking like a promising start to his potential singing career.
While fans of Chris Medina were understandably thrilled when "What Are Words" was released so quickly after his elimination from American Idol, music buyers not as invested in his story will have a hard time understanding the hoopla over the song. Even with a major producer like Rodney Jerkins behind the board, there isn't anything about the song that helps Chris Medina stand out from other male singer/musicians. Here's hoping that "What Are Words" does well enough that Chris Medina gets to record an album that ends up being a more solid effort than his debut single.
Watch "What Are Words."
Released February 24, 2011 via Interscope Records