Tomorrow night, either Adam Lambert or Kris Allen will become the 8th American Idol. The other one won’t – and will be this year’s runnerup. How have the first seven runners-up done? Glad you asked…
- Season 1 (2002) – Oy. For all the heights the first Idol scaled, the first runner-up… didn’t. Justin Guarini is a pop-culture punchline, although he has actually settled into his career as a smooth-jazz performer and TV host (including Idol-related shows for TV Guide). We’ll just forget that movie… 🙂
- Season 2 (2003) – Clay Aiken might as well have been the winner. He’s carved himself a solid career as a pop singer and occasional Broadway performer. And, to everyone’s surprise (ha), he came out as gay last year. Good for him. There’s a current Idol contestant who could, if you believe a lot of pictures floating around the Net, learn from that. 🙂
- Season 3 (2004) – From the most successful runner-up to one of the least. Diana DeGarmo turns 22 in a few weeks, so she has plenty of time to find herself – which, if reports are to be believed, is as a country singer. Apparently, doing Gone Country gave her the idea, and she does have a country EP out.
- Season 4 (2005) – Bo Bice had his career delayed by some health issues in 2006, but has done two albums and is touring to support the second album.
- Season 5 (2006) – And then there’s Katherine McPhee. Singer, actress, and December half of a May-December marriage… working on her second album for release this year while waiting for her next movie to debut in 2010.
- Season 6 (2007) – The season 6 cast has disappointed, and Blake Lewis is part of that. He’s had one moderately-successful album, but his second album has been delayed since late last year.
- Season 7 (2008) – Finally, the teenager who may displace Aiken as the most-successful runnerup… it was a surprise when David Archuleta didn’t win Season 7. It hasn’t been a surprise to see the incredible response he’s gotten from the tween/teen audience since then. Let’s see, the debut album went gold, he’s opening for Disney product Demi Lovato this summer, and he and the seventh Idol just played to crowds of 50,000 in the Philippines. The only question now is whether he can sustain this once the teens grow up. We shall see.
Clearly, Idol runners-up have, for the most part, done very well for themselves. Whether Kris Allen* does the same is something we’ll soon see.
Tomorrow morning, a rundown of where the Seven Idols are. Tomorrow night, a review of the eighth Final Sing-off. And Wednesday, the winner is crowned in what is becoming a rather star-studded finale.
*Yes, I know the results show is Wednesday night. Do you think I’m wrong, though?