As his mentor Adam Levine put it, this was not Javier's first time at the rodeo. He sang with the Derek Trucks Band in the early 2000s, and was signed to Capitol Records after that; the first single off his 2003 self-titled debut album for Capitol, "Crazy," was a minor chart success, reaching number 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 42 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. (No wonder he looked like such a pro performing with legend Stevie Nicks on the "Voice" finale!) Javier's second album, Left Of Center, was less successful, although it featured a guest spot by fellow neo-soulman Anthony Hamilton and garnered positive reviews. While the now-31-year-old's Capitol deal was mentioned on his "Voice" webpage on the NBC site, it was not brought up on the show until last week, long after viewers had figured out how to use YouTube and Wikipedia to learn all this themselves. But no one seemed to mind. If anything, it just stirred up outrage that Javier was not more successful back in the day, and added to his backstory.
It remains to be seen if Javier, who just won a deal with Universal Republic, will experience greater success now than he did during his Capitol years. But he very well might. It should be noted that unlike other talent shows, on "The Voice" iTunes downloads actually count as votes--which makes sense, since paid downloads are obviously a better gauge of how well a reality contestant will fare post-show than millions of block-text votes coming from a selective number of overzealous, phone-banking tweens. And Javier's original song performance from this week, "Stitch By Stitch," immediately shot to number two on the iTunes charts after he sang it, and throughout the season he landed many other songs in the iTunes top 50.
Javier faced some very worthy opponents this season, and I certainly hope that Dia, Beverly, and Vicci (and some of the top eight, like Nakia, Frenchie Davis, and Xenia) get their own much-deserved record deals. But I expect big things for Javier Colon. In the real world, the only "vote" that counts is the kind made with a music fan's pocketbook, so this means he's finally a proven seller, someone who's finally had real success on the charts. Good for him.
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- Vicci Martinez