CONGRATULATIONS Phillip Phillips for winning American Idol. Celebrate your 15 minutes (okay, maybe longer) of fame because there’s no guarantee that it’ll last any longer than that. And to Jessica Sanchez who came in second … celebrate even harder. That’s because chances are, nobody will remember you five years down the road.
Before I get labelled as a hater, I just want to put it out there that not all American Idol finalists have made it big after the competition. Really, they don’t.
We may know all the American Idol winners (because that’s how our brains are programmed – to recognise only the winners) but does anyone actually remember the first runners-up or those who came in third in all the seasons?
No? Yup, I thought so.
We all know that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood kickstarted their successful careers on that show.
Clarkson won the first ever American Idol and went on to sell over 11 million albums worldwide and fourth season winner Underwood has sold more than 13 million albums herself.
They have released several best-selling albums, won many awards and are recognised for their outstanding vocal capabilities. And to be fair, these ladies have stopped riding on the fame of winning American Idol a long time ago.
While there are other American Idol finalists such as Chris Daughtry (placed fourth in Season Five) and Adam Lambert (placed second in Season Eight) who’ve fared well after leaving the show, they haven’t come anywhere near the level of success Clarkson and Underwood have achieved so far.
In fact, come to think about it, these four singers may just be the only successful Idol finalists ever in the show’s 11 year history. No kidding.
If you are still doubtful, just try to remember the last time you heard something about other Idol finalists (and some even winners) such as Sanjaya Malakar, Elliot Yamin and Taylor Hicks. Where are they? Well, obviously not on the Billboard or iTunes charts, that’s for sure. Malakar is tending bars, Yamin is an indie-singer and Hicks … well, Hicks still isn’t a great singer.
So, what are the other Idol finalists up to now?
Constantine Maroulis (Season Four, 6th place)
Before there was Lambert, we hurt our ear drums on a weekly basis listening to Maroulis scream his lungs out during his performances. Before joining American Idol, Maroulis was a struggling actor who tried to make ends meet and after his elimination from the competition, he found his calling on Broadway.
The actor-turned-singer-turned-singing actor even scored a nomination for his role as Drew Dillenbeck in the Broadway musical Rock Of Ages. Currently, the Idol finalist is working on two musicals, Jekyll & Hyde and The Toxic Avenger.
Sharm says: Everytime I watched Constantine on Idol, I only wanted to do one thing – cut and comb his frigging hair!
Diana DeGarmo (Season Three, first runner-up)
Can you believe that the wholesome DeGarmo is now a soap opera actress? Yes, that’s what the American Idol hopeful is currently doing for a living.
DeGarmo is starring in the long-running (it’s going to hit it’s 10,000th episode mark soon) drama The Young And The Restless and is hoping to make a comeback in the music industry.
She once claimed that her record label had tried to market her as the next Kelly Clarkson, and is now striving to return to the scene as a country singer. She is engaged to fellow Idol alum Ace Young (who proposed to her last night at the finale!)
Sharm says: She wasn’t exactly one of my favourites on the show during that season. Very … forgettable.
Crystal Bowersox (Season Nine, first runner-up)
This singer got lots of sympathy from viewers who were taken by stories of her struggles to raise her son as a single mom.
However, Bowersox definitely had the talent that made every vote sent her way count for something other than just being another sympathy vote.
The big-voiced singer even boasted a bigger debut than the season’s winner (Lee DeWyze) but unfortunately, was dropped from her music label later on. Bowersox finally moved to a farm outside of Portland, Oregon and still performs at small-scale events.
Sharm says: Is it just me or did Crystal always looked as if she needed a shower and a good scrub down?
Jason Castro (Season Seven, 4th place)
This is the guy who was touted as the angelic boy with the golden voice. Yeah, unfortunately, that label didn’t get him far in the competition. After his exit from the show, Castro’s first album in 2009 sold around 100,000 copies and his single Let’s Just Fall In Love Again topped the music charts around Asia.
The singer then got married in 2010 and is now the proud father of a baby girl.
Sharm says: OMG, this guy often got on my nerves. I don’t know why … maybe it was just ‘face problem’.
Haley Reinhart (Season 10, second runner-up)
Do you remember this big-haired and big-voiced blonde? She was screaming all the time and sometimes it was just too much for the audience and judges.
However, Reinhart must have had luck on her side because throughout the season, although she found herself stuck in the bottom three during elimination rounds, she managed to scrape her way through to the next week. That was until she got eliminated, of course.
After her exit, she was signed to a record label and is now ready to go on tour with her debut album Listen Up!
Sharm says: I always expected this girl to faint from all the screaming she did up on stage … thank goodness, she didn’t.