American Idol season 11 where are they now
American Idol’s season 12 is well underway, but what about the top 10 contestants from season 11?
The first round of performances saw Jim Carrey’s daughter, Jane Carrey cut from the competition, as numerous contestants fell ill and collapsed in the auditorium. Contestant Symone Black actually collapsed while on stage and went on to make the cut.
Initially there were to be 12 males and 12 females, but the judges announced plans to add a 13th male semi-finalist between Jermaine Jones, Richie Law, Johnny Keyser and David Leathers Jr. The following week, after the male performances, Jermaine Jones was revealed to be the thirteenth performer, which set the stage for controversy and fueled speculation of a ratings grab.
On March 14, with only 11 contestants remaining, Jermaine Jones was disqualified for concealing arrests and outstanding warrants. Jones denied that he had concealed his previous arrests and says he disclosed them when signing up for Idol. Footage of executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick confronting Jones was shown in what would have been his performance slot.
A police official in the New Jersey town where he had two arrest warrants said, “The case wasn’t big enough to merit going after him in California,” and a New Jersey legislator commented, for the show “to expose, embarrass and interrogate a young man without an attorney in front of 40 million viewers was an outrage.”
Critics accused the show of staging the disqualification in order to boost the already slumping ratings.
Erika Van Pelt
Erika Van Pelt made it into the No. 10 spot and made the requisite rounds on the various talk shows.Van Pelt currently runs her own DJ business (VP Entertainment) and performs part-time with “The Sultans of Swing”, and is a performing partner of “Fairhaven Entertainment” and “Boston Swing.”
In early 2014 Van Pelt will be hosting and performing on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Haiti. She’s also in the process of recording her debut album, according to her Facebook page.
In January Van Pelt wrote on Facebook, “Day 1 in the studio today tracking for the new album! I feel really blessed to be making an indie record, done my way. No label, and all the freedom in the world. I can’t wait for you all to hear it!”
Ninth place winner and jokester was Heejun Han who wooed the judges, and the audience, with his offbeat humor. He generally won the day with a joke, not a song.
Han made a number of appearances after the show, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live! with Kelly and The Wendy Williams Show. He also performed “God Bless America” to open for the New York Mets.
He appeared as a judge in a K-Pop competition at the New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in September, and currently has no plans for an album. Click for more images
Eighth place winner DeAndre Brackensick hasn’t done much of anything.
The biggest news post-idol was him hooking up with runner-up Jessica Sanchez during the American Idol Live Tour. They could be seen walking hand in hand backstage, just prior to their performances.
Colton Dixon is the contestant who didn’t even try out and ended up in seventh place. If you recall Dixon had tried out for season 10 but failed to make the cut. Season 11 tryouts found his sister trying out with him standing in the wings. The judges insisted that he come out and tryout with his sister standing by. She didn’t make the cut, but he did, and he’s been a busy little Christian ever since.
Following his elimination Dixon appeared on a number of shows including a visit to Access Hollywood where he performed a rendition of “Everything,” by Lifehouse. He was also invited to the White House Correspondents Dinner as a special guest of the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Dixon signed on to Sparrow Records, an imprint of the EMI Christian Music Group, releasing “Never Gone” and “You Are,” both hitting No. 1 on the Christian charts. On January 29 he released his debut album “A Messenger,” sending it to No. 1 on Top Christian Albums and Gospel Albums.
Dixon is currently gearing up to go on tour with Grammy winning Christian rockers Third Day.
Elise Testone landed in sixth place with her gravelly and soulful voice. During her time on Idol she couldn’t get a break, landing in the bottom three most weeks.
She may have had a difficult time winning over audiences, but she didn’t seem to have a problem winning over Idol guitarist Errol Cooney. Rumor has it the two may have hooked up during the American Idol Live Tour, resulting in Cooney’s wife filing for a divorce. Testone has denied doing the deed, but did admit to a close friendship with the guitarist.
Right after Idol, Testone made the rounds on all the talk shows including Good Day L.A.,The Today Show, Anderson, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She also performed with fellow contestant Colton Dixon on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The voice coach still lives in Charleston, South Carolina and continues to actively perform in the area. She has no formal plans to release an album, but she’s been writing plenty of music.
Fifth place Skylar Laine is another contestant that’s been idle since Idol, announced in November that she has signed with 19 Entertainment and has moved to Nashville, Tennessee to start work on her debut album.
She recently debut an original song called “Settle Down,” written by herself, Chris DeStefano and Anne Preven.
Fourth place Hollie Cavanagh has been pretty quiet since Idol, but has plans to begin recording her debut album early this year. Just recently she posted to her Facebook account, “Busy writing some music in the studio excited !!!”
She’s also started a YouTube channel for all her Holliepops, as she calls her fans, promising to “to keep everyone in the loop of whats going on and soon you’ll see some covers and original music!”
Fans can also keep updated on one of her fan pages.
There is a potential business arrangement that may be in the works for Ledet, who earned the nickname Mantasia, because he reminded Idol fans of past contestant Fantasia. It seems there is a strip club in New York City called Mantasia that is hoping to bring Ledet into the fold to help market their wares. Don’t hold your breath.
Ledet has also been seen at sporting events singing the national anthem.
Jessica Sanchez was the runner up to Phillip Phillips and with the new Idol contract she was not guaranteed an album and a $175,000 advance. Instead she was only entitled to a “developmental” deal with 19 Recordings and no advance.
Sanchez has since signed with Interscope Records and has been performing at various events. She recently was featured on the cover of Mega Magazine, and plans on releasing her debut single this month, with an album later this year.
While visiting the Philippines for the American Idol Live Tour, Sanchez shot a music video for the song “Jump In” with The Black Eyed Peas members. She has also signed up to endorse Jollibee Foods Corporation and Bench, two popular brands in the Philippines.
Sanchez will be returning to television as she takes on a recurring role in the fourth season of Glee.
American Idol winner Phillip Phillips’ boyish charm, good looks and singing ability catapulted his American Idol coronation song, “Home,” to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first time in four years a coronation single from an American Idol winner had reached the top 10.
“Home” went on to be used in the 2012 Summer Olympics, a Clint Eastwood trailer, and a number of commercials. The song has been bouncing in and out of the top 10 and most recently (January 2013) hit No. 6.
His album “The World From the Side of the Moon” debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts in November 2012 and has already been certified gold.
Phillips’ will be joining Matchbox Twenty on their North American tour in 2012 and plans to do a solo tour later this summer.
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