Career predictions for The X Factor winner

Last updated 09:10 29/11/2010

Whether he's looking comfortable fronting Inxs for their classic "Don't Change", or belting out a version of his debut single "Somewhere In The World", the fact is that Altiyan Childs was the most talented competitor and most deserving winner of last week's finale of The X Factor Australia.

Though I maintain that it irreparably damaged fellow competitor Andrew's chances when he was forced to sing with James Blunt; it's hard to come back from that kind of thing.

20101129Altiyan seems to be the guy who improved the most throughout the shows run - he screwed up the words to "Sex On Fire" during the audition stage (a song which most 18-year-old guys can sing perfectly, even while they stumble around a seedy nightclub on a Friday night), but managed to qualify after making up for the gaff in an encore performance.

That's a far cry from the confident, word-perfect singer we saw take the title on Friday night. Back in September, after the premiere, I described him as a "wannabe rock star", but he's grown into a legitimate talent.

My buddy Gareth, the biggest Altiyan fan I know, described him as a "good, solid, crazy rocker, who would be entertaining to see live and has an awesome presence - there would never be a dull moment while he's on stage", and that about sums him up.

The question is: where does he go from here? Therein lies the problem.

Talent show winners have been hit or miss since the format rose to prominence with American Idol in 2002.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Jordin Sparks, Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian, and even recent NZ-born winner Stan Walker have managed to make a name for themselves following victory, but more often than not the winner goes on to mediocrity and irrelevance within a matter of weeks.

Think about past American Idol winners like Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, and Taylor Hicks, Australian Idol winners Casey Donovan and Natalie Gauci, or our own NZ Idol winners Ben LummisRosita Vai and Matt Saunoa. The X Factor UK has produced Leona Lewis (who hit gold with single "Bleeding Love"), but also produced stinkers like Joe McElderry and Leon Jackson.

The Got Talent series may have fared even worse - America produced a slew of forgettable acts, while the UK edition of the series is more famous for producing Susan Boyle. She only managed a second placing in 2008.

You're almost better not winning. Aside from Ms Boyle, mainstream artists like Adam Lambert and Daughtry, and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, all missed out on the top spot. You could argue that those failed stars have been more successful than all the winners combined, except for the few mentioned above.

(In fact, I would suggest that this proves the television talent show format is useless for determining who might go on to mainstream success. I spent part of yesterday afternoon collating a table of all the winners from the seven major shows - American/Australian/NZ Idol, The X Factor UK/Australia, America's/Britain's Got Talent - and can tell you that, by my count, only 6 of the 36 winners went on to any considerable success following the inevitable honeymoon period in the wake of victory. If the winner of the show isn't successful, or even the most successful person the show produces, doesn't that mean the show itself is a waste of time? Yet I digress.)

So what does Altiyan Childs have to look forward to? Let's consider both the Best and Worst Case Scenario for his upcoming career, by looking at the careers of the most successful and least successful talent show winners of the last eight years:

Best Case Scenario: Kelly Clarkson. Actually, Kelly Clarkson had the added benefit of being the first winner of a hit new show, so let's go with the first Aussie winner ... Best Case Scenario: Guy Sebastian. Believe it or not, Sebastian has had five albums achieve platinum status (meaning sales of over 70,000 copies) or better, and had ten singles crack the Aria Top 20 in Australia in a career spanning seven years, to go along with three Top 10 singles here in New Zealand.

Not only that, but his latest album featured several tracks with John Mayer and a duet with fellow Idol winner Jordin Sparks. I'd say that qualifies as success, right?

A lot of things would have to go right for Altiyan to do as well as Guy: song selection would have to be perfect, and his management would need to be on the ball. Plus, he has to make sure he doesn't get too pitchy, dawg.

Worst Case Scenario: Matt Saunoa. In case you'd forgotten, Saunoa won the third series of NZ Idol and quickly faded into oblivion (though his debut single "Hold Out" hung around the lower end of the RIANZ chart for a while). The response to Saunoa, post-Idol, was so poor that the network decided not to record an album with him, and since then his career highlights have included performing shows in Levin and being banned from Skycity for dodgy dealings in the casino.

My guess is Altiyan will land somewhere between these two extremes. Though don't be surprised to see him in Levin one day.

So where do you think Altiyan Childs will land - will he manage the heights of Guy Sebastian, or fall to the depths of Matt Saunoa?

Will he land somewhere in between? And do you think the TV talent show has any merit in deciding who might be a decent pop artist? Post your ideas below!

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Louisette   #1   09:29 am Nov 29 2010

"In fact, I would suggest that this proves the television talent show format is useless for determining who might go on to mainstream success." Ah, dude, have you only just figured that out? Seriously? As far as the producers of these shows are concerned finding people with actual talent/potential for success is largely irrelevant. What they're interested in is the revenue from the show itself.

I hope Childs gets somewhere, and I think he could. He seems like a nice guy and he's actually got some ability, which is more than you can say for a lot of the acts you see on these shows.

A-T   #2   09:40 am Nov 29 2010

What these shows do is give immediate publicity and put people's names and faces out in the public arena. Such is celebrity that when Altiyan's {or whoever's, just that he's the most recent] album hits shops in a few days, it'll get snapped up. It'll be a generic recording, but his shine wouldn't have worn off yet. (I just caught the very end of X Factor last week - 'Somewhere in the world' nearly put me to sleep, I have to say!)

You're right in saying that the challenge comes with the follow-up. Altiyan needs to find his niche, whether that's 'adult contemporary' or rock star. And work bloody hard to produce something new and original next album.

Me   #3   09:58 am Nov 29 2010

I didnt even know that NZ was on three times... I hope Altiyan makes it far, he seems pretty paisonate about singing.

Ash Collingsford   #4   10:01 am Nov 29 2010

Good article, and I pretty well agree with much of it. However, so many seem to miss the point of these TV shows. They're entertainment! You apparently watched? Entertainment, again. You might not agree with it (and I'm speaking to all of ya out there) but if you WATCHED, you watched I'm guessing because it was amusing, entertaining, likeable, cringeworthy (why then did you watch???? - still entertainment)and it just so happens its based on music. I tend to feel the reason most don't make it from these shows is because of the anti- feeling fed by media and disgruntled musos. Whingers, I say

riz   #5   10:22 am Nov 29 2010

I think Altiyan will do well in the future, he need lot of good people around him to get him through the first three months or so and I think Ronan should keep close contact with him so he doesnt fall backwards His Album sould have come sooner than 10th of Dcember 2010 while his music is fresh in everyones mind. I will be buying atleast 5 albums for christmas and thats what my family members will begetting. I would like Altiyan to be a judge on the next xfactor. They should give him roles that will boost his confidance. He is very fragile due to his past, but with supportive people around him if will rock this world love you Altiyan Riz

sam   #6   10:23 am Nov 29 2010

Sally should have won.

Meg   #7   10:47 am Nov 29 2010

I wouldn't put Stan Walker even close to the same level as Guy Sebastian. It's far too early to make that call. Stan only won last year and although his cd sales in Australia have been respectable (better in NZ) he hasn't sold as many as some other AI winners - including those who had less success on the charts later on.

A google search will reveal that most contestants who make the final 12 on AI go on to a have a career in the entertainment industry - musical theatre, acting, TV presenting, radio or as a live act. There are many successful musicians who don't feature on the music charts.

Don't be too quick to dismiss the Casey Donovans and the Natalie Gaucis either. Natalie has a new look and about to release a new single. Natalie's lack of immediate success post-Idol had more to do with disagreement with Sony about musical direction than lack of interest from the public. And Casey's career is going full steam ahead; a season in London with the stage show 'The Sapphires' next year, winner of the best supporting actress award at the Daegu Musicial Theatre Festival, toured with Tony Childs, and her own in-demand 'Big, Beautiful & Sexy' show which headlined the Brisbane Festival.

Altiyan's success (just like the others) will depend on whether his future recordings appeal to the public. So far he's only won a singing competition with tried and tested songs. My hunch is that Altiyan belongs with a band - preferably one of long standing that needs a good lead singer. INXS could do with one.

Amz   #8   10:49 am Nov 29 2010

I loved both Alt and Sally they both have amazing voices, but i'm glad Alt won, i went from hating him and thinking Ronan was an idiot for putting him through, to absolutely loving him, he's crazy and strange but has a great rock voice. I think for Alt to do well he needs to be the frontman of a band, i think that where he could do really well with the right band, i mean he sounded awesome singing with INXS.

BG   #9   11:23 am Nov 29 2010

Though I maintain that it irreparably damaged fellow competitor Andrew's chances when he was forced to sing with James Blunt; it's hard to come back from that kind of thing.

Hahahaha. Gold. I heart Andrew. That awful winners single didn't help any of them either.

Chris Philpott   #10   11:30 am Nov 29 2010

@Louisette #1: "Ah, dude, have you only just figured that out? Seriously?" ... In my defence, I've been thinking this for a while. But since On The Box is a relatively new blog, I thought I'd introduce my feelings that talent shows are a waste of time as a new thought, since I haven't really gotten into the subject at all before. Thanks for keeping me honest though :)

Thanks for the comments folks! And I agree with the sentiment that the winners single was terrible - it's arguably worse than U2's performance of "Get On Your Boots" last Friday. Ugh.

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