It's been a good couple months for Dalton Rapattoni. The Sunnyvale native has rocketed to fame thanks to his breakout performances on the final season of American Idol, helped in part by the extra attention that's been paid to the long-running reality TV show's swan song. But will the extra attention from the show's final season help contestants like Rapattoni in the long run?
Linda Septien of The Septien Entertainment Group says while there is more publicity and there are more bells and whistles centered around this final season, she doesn’t think it will make a difference to talent scouts looking to sign new talent.
“It's still about how talented they are, whether it’s the first or last season,” she says. “And I don’t think that changes."
Adam Mehl, a music manager based out of Los Angeles, says he doesn’t believe there is more attention on this crop of contestants. "I didn't even know who was in the final four until I got a phone call asking me if one of my rock writers that I represent would write a song for Dalton," Mehl admits.
While the winning contestant will be handed the title and a recording contract, the others will be left without one. Getting people to pay attention when Ryan Seacrest isn't introducing your songs anymore has always been the challenge, and in recent seasons more and more contestants — even the winning ones — have failed to make much impression after the show.
But as the judges have reminded us so many times already, they and America are looking for a winner worthy enough to bookend the entire series. If powerhouse vocalist Kelly Clarkson was the inaugural winner, who deserves to be the final winner? Indeed, the Burleson native has loomed large over the final season, even returning for the season premiere, and frankly stealing the show with her performance of "Piece by Piece."
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While Mehl says he hasn’t followed the ratings of this season like he has for previous seasons, he believes the final American Idol winner can become just as successful as Clarkson — as long as there is good songwriting involved.
“The reason Kelly Clarkson made it was because yes, she was the first,” he says. “But she would not have had a career like she has had if she didn’t have the proper songs to carry her throughout her career. And so while there might be a little bit of a bump in the last artist on American Idol, whoever that person is, if they don’t have the right music for their launch, it really won’t matter that they’re the last artist.”
So there may be reason to hope for Rapattoni, who recently was greeted with a parade and given the key to the city upon his return to Sunnyvale, regardless of whether he comes out the winner. But as Septien sees it, he's got a good chance of that happening as well.
"I think [Rapattoni] has a chance because he’s different and they’re trying to go young," she says. "They’re trying to go cool. You can see it.”