Despite a record-breaking amount of phone-in votes, American Idol’s third season is most notable for who didn’t get enough votes. Let’s put it this way, one Idol contestant would go on to win an Oscar, sing the National Anthem at Superbowl XLIII, star in numerous commercials as a Weight Watchers success story, and deliver a show-stopping tribute to Whitney Houston at this year’s Grammy awards, but she only got to seventh place. Yes, one of the show’s biggest stars to date, Jennifer Hudson, didn’t even make it to the top five.
But whatever happened to those who did make it to the top that year? Let’s find out as we continue on to 2004‘s American Idols.
5. George Huff
Idol’s highest ranking male contestant of the season was known for R&B stylings and a seemingly good-natured, happy personality that came out in interview segments.
As recently profiled in People magazine’s Idols special issue, Huff’s Louisiana home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. George released a self-titled album in 2009, and still records. He is currently a back-up singer/vocal arranger for Jennifer Hudson’s tours.
4. La Toya London
With her strong voice, many predicted that London would win, but she was only the second most shocking elimination of that season.
Signed to a jazz label owned by Ray Charles, London released her Love & Life album in 2005, but later announced that she was working on another album and shopping for a new record deal. After appearing in the Chicago run of The Color Purple, she recorded dance music with rapper H20 under the name of Urban Punk.
3. Jasmine Trias
Controversy erupted over her success on her show, with detractors blaming time-delays in her home state of Hawaii for her outlasting other critically praised contestants.
As a result of American Idol’s worldwide syndication, Jasmine quickly emerged as recognizable celebrity in other countries. This led to lucrative advertising deals with McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and more, especially in the Philippines. Her self-titled 2005 album went platinum there, but problems with management have prevented her from releasing a follow-up. As for the US, she has appeared as a guest commentator on many Idol-themed talk shows and had a featured role in a Black Eyed Peas music video.
2. Diana DeGarmo
Just 16 years old at the time, the former America’s Most Talented Kid contestant became Idol’s youngest second place finisher. Criticized for singing songs “beyond her years”, her CD single, which also featured a cover of “Don’t Cry Out Loud”, placed at number two on the Billboard charts.
After releasing one of the lowest selling albums in Idol history, DeGarmo performed for overseas troops in USO shows. After appearing in several Broadway plays and The Young & The Restless, she has moved on to a movie career, co-starring in the upcoming The First Ride of Wyatt Earp.
1. Fantasia Barrino
Her performance of “Summertime” was lauded by judges as one of the show’s finest performances, while “I Believe”, her first single, was a number one hit.
In recent years, Fantasia has been famous for pretty much everything except her music. While her music does well in sales, she is mostly known for other things, like her best-selling 2006 autobiography, which was adapted into a highly-rated TV movie, her role in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple, and her own reality TV show, Fantasia For Real.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.