‘American Idol’ Finalists: From Sanjaya to Taylor Hicks, Where Are They Now?
Sanjaya Malakar tends bar in the East Village. Camile Velasco worked at a Subway in Los Angeles. A.J. Gil became homeless. And Jessica Sierra checked into rehab for cocaine addiction.
To be a contestant on American Idol is a dream … but what happens when the reality TV’s shows lights dim? To find out, The Daily Beast launched a special investigative project, interviewing 70 finalists from the first 10 seasons of the show. SOURCE
Some of the more interesting tidbits: - Justin still gets royalty checks for "From Justin to Kelly"
- Vonzell Solomon is a hotel singer in China
- When Brandon Rogers was asked What was Aguilera like (he sang backup for her before Idol)?: His answer: “Uhhh. I quit that job.”
- When Bowersox was hospitalized for Type 1 diabetes in the middle of the season, executive producer Ken Warwick offered her a free pass—to come back next season. “He came to my room and said, ‘Darling, you’re off the show,’” she remembers. “At first I thought he was kidding, but he was absolutely serious and I threw a fit.”
- After you’re voted off, Danny Gokey says, “they make you sit down with a shrink to make sure you’re stable. I went in a room, and I let the tears flow. I felt relieved because I fought through so much.”
- Idol fight!: “Ryan Starr was the person in the house that I had problems with,” Nikki McKibbin says. “I’m a very light sleeper. She came in one night talking to somebody on the phone and saying all these horribly mean things about us. It got to the point where producers had to pull us off each other. It was pretty bad.”
- Several contestants shade the judges
“I was offered $100,000 to do Playgirl a week later. I was caught off guard that people wanted to see that. I’ve been doing music my whole life. The last thing I thought I would be doing was showing my dick.”