Harriman: To most of us, the town’s biggest claim to fame is the Woodbury Common shopping outlets. No longer! Earlier this month, singer Jermaine Paul — a Harriman native — was named winner of NBC’s reality singing competition The Voice after being coached by country star Blake Shelton.
According to Lohud.com, the former backup singer grew up near the Martin Luther King Multi Purpose Center in Spring Valley and was raised at the Fred Hecht housing projects down the block.
Take a look at his series-winning performance of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly”:
Yes, those are some chops. The win means Paul receives a grand prize of $100,000 and a record deal with Universal. But will it propel him to the stardom he deserves?
I think we’re getting to the point of reality-show winner saturation, especially when it comes to singing. The Voice has been successful in getting a number of songs onto Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, including Paul’s take on “I Believe I Can Fly,” which reached number 32 — but those were all covers of better-known songs.
If the career of Javier Colon — the previous winner of The Voice — is any indication, Paul may still have a hard road to follow when it comes to his original music. Colon’s 2011 album, Come Through for You, didn’t post any singles onto the Billboard charts, and the album itself peaked at 134 on The Billboard 200. (It did better on the R&B chart.)
And, at the upfront presentations last week, NBC announced it’s debuting the next season of The Voice in the fall instead of January like in previous seasons. This means Paul will have to contend with the winners of American Idol and X Factor. Who can keep up? Are there enough fans of reality singing competitions out there to support the winners of all of these shows? Will you buy Jermaine Paul’s album? Let me know in the comments.
Pop quiz: Can you name the last American Idol and X Factor winners — or, better yet, a song they’ve released since being named winner?
Answer:American Idol is finishing up its 11th season, but Scotty McCreery won the 10th season and charted with singles “I Love You This Big,” “The Trouble with Girls,” and “Water Tower Town,” none of which I’ve ever heard on the radio (but I don’t often listen to the country station). The most recent American X Factor winner is Melanie Amaro, whose big claim to fame (other than the show) is a Super Bowl Pepsi commercial.
Associate Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come back and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at www.popmatters.com, where she is a staff writer.