Alex & Sierra (the winners of "The X Factor" U.S. in 2013) have flopped with their first single "Scarecrow," which was released on June 23, 2014, but failed to make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart, according to chart figures released by Billboard on July 2, 2014.
Alex & Sierra performed "Scarecrow" on NBC's "Today" on June 23, 2014, but that high-profile TV appearance did not help the song become a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which ranks songs based on U.S. sales, airplay and social media. A lyric video for "Scarecrow" (directed by Alex Purifoy) premiered on May 27, 2014. The official "Scarecrow" music video will premiere on a date to be announced. In May and June 2014, Alex & Sierra also made promotional appearances at several New York-based media outlets, including Billboard, People, Vevo and Teen Vogue. (Click here to watch a compilation video.)
In its first week on sale, "Scarecrow" reached the Top 30 of the iTunes (U.S.) Top 100 Songs chart. However, it was a far lesser achievement than what Alex & Sierra accomplished in late 2013, when two covers songs (A Great Big World's "Say Something" and Sara Bareilles' "Gravity") that Alex & Sierra performed on "The X Factor" U.S. reached No. 1 on iTunes (U.S.) Top 100 Songs chart. Alex & Sierra's versions of those songs also failed to make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
As part of "The X Factor" grand prize, Alex & Sierra won $1 million and a contract with Syco Music/Sony Music. According to a Sony Music press release, “Scarecrow” was co-written by Alex & Sierra (whose full names are Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton), along with Martin Johnson and Sam Hollander.
As previously reported, Alex & Sierra have been in Los Angeles to record their first album, whose title, track listing and release dates are to be announced. The album is expected to be released sometime in 2014.
Alex & Sierra's "Scarecrow" flop is just another bomb for winners of "The X Factor" U.S., whose singles have all failed to make it on the Billboard Hot 100. R&B/pop singer Melanie Amaro (the show's first winner in 2011) and country singer Tate Stevens (the show's second winner in 2012) have had dismal sales for Sony Music. Stevens released his self-titled first album on Sony Music in April 2013, and he was quickly dropped from Sony after the album bombed.
Sony Music has indefinitely shelved Amaro's first album, "Truly," which was originally scheduled for release in December 2012, but will probably never be released. Amaro is not commenting on her contract status with Sony Music, but in June 2014, she announced she was releasing her new music independently. Based on Alex & Sierra's unimpressive sales for their original music, their first album is unlikely to be a hit, so expect them to part ways with Sony Music around 2015 or 2016.
On May 13, 2014, Alex & Sierra did a Livestream chat and mentioned that they wrote a song with Jason Mraz for Alex & Sierra's first album. Deaton mentioned that Alex & Sierra have already filmed the "Scarecrow" music video, as well as chosen their debut album's cover and title. When answering questions from fans during the chat, Deaton commented on coming up with the title "Scarecrow" and the inspiration behind the song: "It kind of happened naturally. He [Alex Kinsey] is the scarecrow." Alex & Sierra also performed a snippet of "Scarecrow" during the Livestream chat, with Kinsey playing acoustic guitar.
As previously reported, One Direction's Harry Styles and Grammy winner John Legend have written a song for Alex & Sierra, who are boyfriend and girlfriend in real life. According to a Daily Mirror report published on Feb. 23, 2014, the song (whose title has not been made public yet) "is one of more than 18 unheard tracks penned by the 1D star [and] is part of Harry's personal projects and is unrelated to his work with the boy band."
The Daily Mirror describes the song as a "heartfelt ballad" with these lyrics: "I saw your face, I heard your name / Felt the blood rushing through my veins / I still remember / How could I forget?"
One Direction came in third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010 and has since gone on to become the world's biggest-selling act from "The X Factor." Styles and the other members of One Direction (Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson) have co-written several One Direction songs.
One Direction and Legend are also Sony Music artists.
According to the Daily Mirror, Deaton said of the song written by Styles and Legend: "Our favorite [song] is one that Harry Styles wrote with John Legend, it's beautiful and lovely. [Harry] is actually an amazing writer, he's pitched us a few other good ones and they're really good."
A source told the Daily Mirror: “It’s a testament to Harry’s talents that he can work alongside John, who is, without doubt, one of the most gifted songwriters of a generation.”
In a Jan. 23, 2014 interview with Yahoo! Music at a pre-Grammy party for New Zealand singer Lorde, Kinsey gave an update on the first Alex & Sierra album: "We got out to L.A. on Jan. 2 [in 2014]. And since then, we've written, we've got about 30 songs since Jan. 2. So we've really been working hard, working with a lot of amazing people [like] Julian Bunetta. We actually went to his house for a week."
Deaton added, "We had like a writing camp."
Kinsey also mentioned Sam Watters and Toby Gad as two other songwriters who are collaborating with Alex & Sierra.
Deaton said excitedly, "Tomorrow, we're writing with John Legend!"
When asked when the album will be released, Kinsey said, "Hopefully, within the next few months."
"The X Factor" creator/executive producer Simon Cowell was Alex & Sierra's mentor on the show. Kinsey commented on Cowell's involvement with the album: "He's a big part of it. He's kind of like the overseer."
Deaton added, "He's sitting in on every one of our writing sessions. He gives us input and helps us out."
Alex & Sierra sang mostly ballads and other slow songs on "The X Factor," but Kinsey promises that their first album will be "a lot happier, more upbeat" than the tempo of the songs that they did on "The X Factor."
Cowell tweeted on Feb. 20, 2014: “Am listening to the Alex and Sierra demos for their upcoming album. Fantastic. It’s seriously good. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it."