Music

Catching Up with Former American Idols: Season Two

Ruben Studdard on American Idol (2003)

A look back at Season Two’s most-loved contestants and what they are currently up to.

After debuting in the summer of 2002, and becoming a ratings hit, American Idol began searching for new hopefuls several weeks after crowning their first winner. In a couple of months, the show returned with more elaborate sets, a wider selection of songs, one less host (Brian Dunkleman supposedly left to pursue a comedy career), and a whole lot of hype.

Despite all these changes, there was only one thing all of those millions of viewers really cared about: the contestants. But what have all of those singers been up to lately? Let's take a look.

 
5. Trenyce

Born Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins, the judges “wildcard” pick became the target of gossip columnists after her past shoplifting arrest was made public.


After touring as a back-up singer for Wanda Dee is Russia and headlining a Las Vegas show, she has started a career in acting on the stage. In 2010, she was part of a revival of Ain’t Misbehaving with fellow contestants Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis. Most recently, she landed a role in the European leg of last year’s Thriller Live tour.

 
4. Josh Gracin

He was a Lance Corporal in the United States marines when he auditioned for the show that would make him become Idol’s first country music star. Fans of the show remember his tearjerker exit, when he held his baby daughter onstage during his final solo.


After being granted an honorable discharge, Gracin released a self-titled album that went gold and featured a No.1 hit single on the country charts. However, disappointing sales of his second album caused his record label to part ways with him. Last year, he independently released another album, Redemption, that has a more adult-contemporary sound.

 
3. Kimberly Locke

Kimberly Locke dealt with criticism from “mean judge” Simon Cowell, who told her she would have a better career if she lost weight. But it was her big voice that viewers cared about, as she went on to record several adult-contemporary and dance club hits.


After joining the cast of Celebrity Fit Club, Locke lost 27 pounds on the Jenny Craig plan and starred in a series of commercials for the company in 2006.

Despite releasing two albums with decent sales, the singer signed a “singles only” music agreement in 2010. “Finally Free” is her current release.

 
2. Clay Aiken

Despite his 2nd place finish, Aiken quickly became one of the biggest stars to emerge from the show. His cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was a No.1 hit and his debut album was among that year’s best-selling releases. He went on to co-write his own best-selling autobiography and co-headline a successful tour with Idol winner Kelly Clarkson.


Though his fans might not refer to themselves as “Claymates” anymore, his past albums have sold well. He is currently one of the contestants on The Celebrity Apprentice.

 
1. Ruben Studdard

Declared the winner by a mere 130,000 votes, “the velvet teddy bear”’s style of R&B proved successful, with a No.2 single and a debut album that sold well. Soon afterwards, he was involved in a lawsuit with the creators of the “205” jerseys that he wore on the show and was hospitalized for exhaustion and pneumonia shortly before the release of his second album.


Despite the declining sales of his subsequent albums, Ruben continues to record. His remake of “Celebrate Me Home” was used as Idol’s elimination theme for Season 7, and he and Clay Aiken toured together in 2010. Most recently, he garnered entertainment headlines for his 80 lb. weightloss due to a vegan diet and his recent divorce.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.

Music

Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.

Film

Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.

Music

Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.

Music

Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.

Music

'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.

Music

Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.

Music

Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.

Music

Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".

Games

On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.

Music

Alison Chesley Toils in Human and Musical Connectivity on Helen Money's 'Atomic'

Chicago-based cellist, Alison Chesley (a.k.a. Helen Money) creates an utterly riveting listen from beginning to end on Atomic.

Music

That Kid's 'Crush' Is a Glittering Crossroads for E-Boy Music

That Kid's Crush stands out for its immediacy as a collection of light-hearted party music, but the project struggles with facelessness.

Books

Percival Everett's ​​​'Telephone​​​' Offers a Timely Lesson

Telephone provides a case study of a family dynamic shaken by illness, what can be controlled, and what must be accepted.

Reviews

Dream Pop's Ellis Wants to be 'Born Again'

Ellis' unhappiness serves as armor to protect her from despair on Born Again. It's better to be dejected than psychotic.

Music

Counterbalance No. 10: 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'

The Spirit of ’77 abounds as Sex Pistols round out the Top Ten on the Big List. Counterbalance take a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. Right. Now.

Film

'Thor: Ragnarok' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.

Music

Alps 2 and Harry No Release Eclectic Single "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" (premiere)

Alps 2 and Harry NoSong's "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" is a dizzying mix of mangled 2-step rhythms and woozy tranquil electronics.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.