Last night's booted contestant, Karen Rodriguez, can take some comfort in the fact that on American Idol, you don't have to be the winner to sell records — and for very important people to sit up and take notice.
And that includes the producers of the show. For the first time in 10 seasons, Idol is including also-rans in its opening credits. Watch closely, because they go by quickly. Better yet, hit the pause button a couple of times if you record the show. Because what you'll see first is the electronic image of Season 1 winner, Kelly Clarkson, as expected. But then the very next image is that of the eighth season's runner-up, glam rocker Adam Lambert.
After him come Season 2 and 3 winners Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino. But after them, you'll see two very famous losers, Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson, interspersed with winners Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze.
At the results show Thursday night, producers left free CDs under everyone's chair: American Idol 10th Anniversary, The Hits: Volume 1. And once again, the also-rans are included in the bounty. Of the 12 tracks on the record, three belong to famous non-winners: Clay Aiken's "Invisible," Daughtry's "Home," and Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me."
Rodriguez seems to understand that if she gets really lucky, and someone signs her to a record deal, she has a shot at being on the next Idol CD2. "You can be the winner and in a couple of years, nobody remembers who you are," she says. "Or you could be in seventh place and win an Oscar and be a Dream Girl. I feel like the show is really a jump start for everybody's career."