Fourth-place American Idol finisher Chris Daughtry proved Sunday night to be a formidable concert draw. His band, simply known as Daughtry, played at a sold-out Slim's in San Francisco a few hours after the Super Bowl - an extremely difficult feat by anyone's measure.
Like the Indianapolis Colts, Daughtry put on a show that certainly connected with his exuberant fans. Artistically speaking, however, the singer still has a long way to go before he can be thought of as anything other than just the lucky beneficiary of all that television exposure.
As past Idol winners can attest, it's not how contestants do on TV that matters most. The competition begins when the show's season ends, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The real chance for victory occurs when the alumni try their luck on the record charts. Just ask Ruben Studdard, the Season 2 champ who to this day fights comparisons to runner-up Clay Aiken, who has registered the more successful recording career.
Known as the rocker, Daughtry placed behind Elliott Yamin, Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks on last season's American Idol. That was a shocker to many, since he was widely considered to be the clear front-runner.
Yet, America had its say on the show, which is decided by votes from viewers, and Hicks was crowned the 2006 champ.
Now, the public is voting once again -- with its dollars -- and the winner appears to be Daughtry.
The 27-year-old North Carolina native is a major hit with record buyers. The self-titled debut CD from his band was released in November and went on to top the album charts. It's moved more than 1.3 million copies to date -- becoming one of the fastest debuts from any American Idol contestant to reach platinum certification.
"Daughtry'' sits at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Conversely, Taylor Hicks' eponymous debut, which was released less than two months ago, is down at No. 63.
Just like on Idol, the singer came across in concert more like someone trying to be a rock star than someone who actually is a rock star. And, without a doubt, he's trying too hard.
Opening with the new album's overwrought "Crashed,'' the vocalist filled the show with a staggering number of rock 'n' roll cliches - far more than should be allowed in a single 50-minute set.
He hit each number as if he were still trying to garner favor from the three-headed tribunal of Simon, Paula and Randy. He combined tired theatrics, such as continually hugging himself to illustrate just how much the lyrics meant to him, with an over-the-top, gut-wrenchingly earnest delivery that was straight out of Rock Star 101.
And it worked for him, at least in the crowd's eyes. His lightweight take on watered-down grunge rock, which seems modeled after that of Rob Thomas, had the crowd singing along at top volume to "Used To'' and "What I Want.''
"By looking out at the crowd, I can tell that most of you have the album,'' the star remarked early in the show. "You probably know the words better than I do.''
From there, Daughtry and the crowd continued to share vocals through the guitar-drenched rocker "Gone'' and the punchy power-ballad ``Breakdown.''
One of the night's better moments occurred when the singer played a solo acoustic-guitar version of a yet-unrecorded tune. The number - possibly called "My Hands'' - was penned with Thomas and should make Daughtry's next album.
The celeb had one surprise up his sleeve - a rendition of "Sunday Bloody Sunday.'' This American Idol vet, of course, is no stranger to cover material, and he delivered an admirable take on the U2 classic.
Daughtry closed his main set with the gooey-sweet original "Home'' and then returned for a two-song encore that included current radio hit "It's Not Over.''
In all, it was a moderately successful showing - just good enough to keep this critic interested until the next round.