American Idol 8: The Road To An Idol

Over the next few days, I’m going to settle my own curiosity about how Idol contestants have fared after Idol.

By Tuesday, I’ll get to the winners.

Tonight, I start with the “field” – the 5th-12th place contestants… I won’t mention everyone, as many of them have fallen off the face of the earth… I’ve tried to find the most successful one for each season.

  • Season 1 (summer 2002) – of a less-than-visible group, Ryan Starr (7th) has been the most noticeable.  She’s dabbled in acting and reality TV.  The rocker had been working with a new band,“Aces”, in 2007, before turning up on Fox Reality’s “Gimme A Reality Show” last year.
  • Season 2 (spring 2003) – Kimberly Caldwell (7th) has turned into a TV host (mostly for TV Guide Channel) and has begun work on her debut album.  She was last seen briefly dating the seventh Idol, David Cook, in late 2008.
  • Season 3 (2004) – there’s no doubt but that Jennifer Hudson (7th) has risen above the group.  The Oscar/Grammy winner may well be Idol’s most successful graduate, and is certainly the biggest star of those who missed the Top Four.
  • Season 4 (2005) – the biggest name of a disappointing-so-far group is Constantine Maroulis (6th), who morphed into a Tony-nominated actor (“Rock of Ages”) after his Idol run.
  • Season 5 (2006) – the young, quirky, somewhat goofy Kellie Pickler (6th) matured into quite a country star, both on her own, and in her new partnership with tourmate Taylor Swift.  There’s another young, quirky, somewhat goofy young woman who is hoping for that level of success… but that’s for tomorrow’s blog. 🙂
  • Season 6 (2007) – this group hasn’t really impacted yet.  Thus far, Chris Sligh (10th) seems to be furthest along, establishing a solid Christian-rock base.
  • Season 7 (2008) – it’s only been a year, but Brooke White (5th) has made the most of it, with “Hold Up My Heart” showcasing the singer-songwriter credentials we saw during the season.  Her new album drops July 21.

And from season 8?  I think Matt Giraud (5th) is probably best positioned to make a run.  He’s got a certain charm, but just needs to define himself a bit better.  Alexis Grace (11th), eliminated when Idol had to disprove claims that a producer was telling most of New York that the show was fixed, may be a darkhorse, possibly moving into the reality/hosting path that Kimberly Caldwell took.

Ahead: the fourth-place finishers tomorrow, third-place on Sunday, runners-up on Monday, and the seven Idols on Tuesday before the show.  There’ll be a review/wrap-up after Tuesday’s show, and I’ll sit through Wednesday’s 2-hour-10-minute marathon leadup to the 30-second announcement so you don’t have to. 🙂


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