With the right amount of marketing, any American Idol can sell millions of mediocre albums. Androids like grunge-rocker Chris Daughtry are engineered deep in the laboratories of 19 Entertainment, the record label run by Simon Fuller, the English music and television producer who created all the world's Idol talent shows.
Playing a lone rocker in a sea of lightweight automatons, Daughtry was the head-shaven North Carolina vocalist who earned a fourth-place finish on season five. After he did a big rendition of Fuel's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)," Fuel actually offered its lead singer position to this loser, but he passed, opting to sign with 19 Entertainment instead. Going into Fuller's lab with an all-star cast of musical-makeover artists (from Rob Thomas to Slash), the aim was to create a neo-Creed, post-grunge record -- basically a foil for the label's pop dorks: Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken. Released last November and simply titled Daughtry (just like his band), the disc basically sounds like Daughtry covering his favorite groups (Live, Bon Jovi, etc.). And with the backing of the Fox Entertainment Group and RCA Records, the album became the fastest-selling debut rock record in Nielsen SoundScan history. However, like all carbon-copy rock, even if it sells well, it's still a cheap imitation.