Simon Hopes Last Season of Idol Creates Lasting Star

    American Idol might be around for years to come, but let's not kid ourselves, this is its last season.  With Paula Abdul already gone and Simon Cowell leaving next season to start X Factor, Idol is destined to lose its relevance.  Sure it will probably continue to be a juggernaut in the ratings, but its popularity and importance will wane and Idol will become a relic of the 00s, a reminder of a simpler time.  Still, Cowell is hoping that the ninth season will produce some lasting musicians.

   "You want somebody who represents what is going on at the moment," Cowell said last week in a conference call with members of the media.  "I'd love to find a Taylor Swift, somebody who's relevant, rather than just a contest winner."

   Could that be a dig at Kris Allen, last year's winner, whose album only reached as high as No. 11 on the Billboard album chart?  Yes.  But it's also a dig at most of the people who have ever won Idol.  In the show's eight years of existence, only two bona fide stars have really emerged, the inaugural idol Kelly Clarkson, and season four winner Carrie Underwood.  Underwood leads in sales having shifted over 10,539,000 albums, but Clarkson is right behind her selling over 10,428,000 to date.

   Other than those two, only a handful of Idol contestants have made much of a dent in popular music.  Chris Daughtry, a fourth place finisher, is actually the third best seller of any Idol alum.  Season six winner Jordin Sparks has sent half of her singles into the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 (that's three out of six).  Obviously, Cowell would like the show to create more lasting and relevant stars.

   The story of the "final" season of American Idol has yet to be told, and maybe this is the season that makes the next Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood.  Or maybe we'll just have to wait for X Factor to gives us our next true reality show pop star.

   Angela Martin, a contestant who has tried out three times but has failed to make it due to various personal difficulties agrees.

   "I tell anyone I meet I am going to go on the X Factor," Martin told


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