Scott Borchetta: Trent Harmon Will Go Country If He Wins ‘American Idol’
The transition started with Harmon's cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" several weeks ago and continues through the release of his debut single, written by three people famous in country circles, including judge Keith Urban.
“I think it’s very true to who he is,” Borchetta tells Taste of Country. “He’s always done country in his set. He lives on a true farm-to-table farm and restaurant … he’s a country boy.”
Last week Harmon, a Mississippi native, performed two songs country fans associate with Chris Stapleton: George Jones' "Tennessee Whiskey" (found on Stapleton's Traveller album) and Justin Timberlake's "Drink You Away" (performed by Stapleton and Timberlake at the 2015 CMA Awards in November). That fusion of pop and country is where Harmon belongs, Borchetta insists.
Harmon's first single is called "Falling" and was written by Urban, Dallas Davidson and Brett James. It's a vocal showcase with pop-soul stylings that would sound unique on country radio as is. Find it and singles from the two other finalists on iTunes now.
If La'Porsha Renae wins, "Battles" will be her debut single. The song was penned by Who Is Fancy (Jake Hagood), and “made sense for her story and her struggle,” Borchetta says. If she wins, the Big Machine Label Group president has a partnership in place with Universal's Motown label, so she'll become the first Big Machine/Motown artist.
Dalton Rapattoni will be worked to Active Rock radio, should the 20-year-old Texan win, and Borchetta is working with a team out of New York to prepare his project. His first single is called "Light a Match."
The three-night American Idol finale continues on Wednesday (Fox, 8PM ET) with a one-hour show that will narrow the field to two. Each artist will perform the single before fans vote to decide the final winner. On Thursday, a massive star-studded two hour show will begin at 8PM ET and include dozens of appearances and collaborations. In addition to country Idol winners Carrie Underwood and Scotty McCreery, expect to see singers like Bucky Covington, Casey James, Danny Gokey, Kree Harrison and Skylar Lane for the first time in quite awhile.
Borchetta says the finale is the end of an era and he doesn't think anything that can produce stars will surface again on television soon. Although, he also admits he was skeptical initially, back when the show debuted in 2001.
“At first I was lifting an eyebrow going, ‘Can you really be launched into a career, and can it be real?’”
Fifteen seasons later Fox proved it can be real. Although the show's impact is fading, Borchetta points out half of the Top 10 finalists went on to have careers in music or television. No other show can say the same.
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