Daughtry Producer Slams Danny Gokey, Praises Allison Iraheta

Producer Howard Benson worries about 'American Idol' runner-up Gokey but says Iraheta could be 'huge.'

What happens to the not-quite-Idols, those talented singers who manage to make it to Hollywood Week, who even earn a spot on the "American Idol" tour, but get tossed out of the competition before the final showdown?

Over the last month, MTV News has been looking back at the history of past "Idol" finalists to get a sense of how the current crop of singers — including Kris Allen,

Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta — might fare now that the show's eighth season is over.

We've also been talking to experts in the music industry, because the "Idol" past is not always a reliable indicator of the musical future. Last week, we turned our attention to Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, and now we're taking a look at Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta. And one producer with an impressive history of working with former "Idol" contestants has a vastly different opinion of this year's number three and number four finishers.

In fact, Howard Benson, who has worked with Chris Daughtry and Kelly Clarkson, doesn't think Gokey has a future in the industry. "The hardest record to make is Gokey's record, which is why I don't think he's going to make one," Benson told MTV News. "It would be very tough to make a record with him.

"I don't think he established who he was at all," Benson continued, citing a prevailing worry among record execs. "He has this great, soulful voice. But he dresses like some guy that's in a bar somewhere. He doesn't look the part."

Benson is much more confident — and excited — about Iraheta's prospects. "I think she's an easy record to make," he said, suggesting she might benefit from forming a band, as Daughtry did. "I think you could get all the great rock writers and you make a kickass album with her that's a great active rock record that crosses into hot AC [adult contemporary] with the softer stuff. I think it's probably the easiest record to make out of all of them. In some ways it reminds me of Chris.

"I think she was the greatest gainer [over the course of the season]," Benson continued. "I would love to work with her. I think I could make a huge record with that girl."

One other artist in whom Benson sees potential is tattooed crooner Megan Joy. "There was something about her," he said, before adding, "She kind of spun out of control a little bit at the end."

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