The center of pop culture is reality television. As a kid, we watched WWE (back when it was WWF). My mom loved reruns of America’s Next Top Model. Reality television is a diverse genre and a ratings powerhouse for many networks. Occasionally there are talented reality TV stars like Kelly Clarkson (American Idol), who made a big name for herself in the pop music industry, and Jamie Chung (The Real World: San Diego), who has since starred in The Hangover: Part II, Sucker Punch, and Once Upon A Time. Most reality stars, however, have no talent besides the ability to do what a producer tells them. They often insist on proving otherwise through pop music. These are my favorite examples of this travesty of reality star obsession and the pop music industry:
Paris Hilton is a prime example of being famous for being famous. She dabbled in the reality television scene with ex-best friend Nicole Richie in 2003 in the popular show The Simple Life. Afterwards, Paris Hilton became an icon who brands everything under the sun (her fragrance line has made over a billion dollars). It was no surprise when she announced she was making an album in 2006.
She created her own record label, Heiress Records (which no longer exists) and signed a distribution deal with Warner Brothers. Though the lyrical content is decent, Paris, is riddled with autotune and breathy vocals. Despite this, the album was a success, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard 200. The first single, “Stars Are Blind,” peaked at number 18 on Billboard Hot 100 and is one of the best selling singles of 2006. The album to this date has sold roughly 197,000 copies in the United States. Paris Hilton is currently signed to Young Money/Cash Money Records and dropped “Good Time” with Lil Wayne in October 2013. Her sophomore album is due to release this year. Listen to her new single here:
2. Kim Kardashian
I loathe Kim Kardashian with a passion. She was supposedly approached by producer The Dream (known for hits like “Me Against The Music,” “Umbrella,” and “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”) to record. Coincidentally, he asked her while filming an episode of Kourtney and Kim Take New York. The song, “Jam (Turn It Up),” was released on iTunes on March 2, 2011, with half of the proceeds given to to St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital. Today, Kim no longer considers herself a singer. Listen to “Jam (Turn It Up)” here:
3. Heidi Montag
The Hills star Heidi Montag is one of the most recent reality TV stars to record an album. I didn’t know what to expect when Heidi made the announcement, due to the fact she was an assistant to an event planner on the show with no musical background. There are so many things about this album that make me laugh: the fact there is a company called Pratt Productions, the fact that it took 2 years to complete, and the fact that Heidi spent $2 million of her own money on the album. The album was released digitally only on January 11, 2010 through Warner Music Group. None of the singles charted and the album sold a very dismal 1,000 copies in the first week. It’s safe to say that Heidi did not profit from this experiment. She blames the commercial flop of the album on a lack of promotion, but it’s due to the lack of originality and talent. The only thing she got right about the album is the title, Superficial. Listen to the album sampler here: