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Catching Up with Former American Idols: Season Eight

Kris Allen on Season 8 of American Idol (2009)

In Season 8, critics wondered how the public would respond to the new “judges save” rule, which gave the judges a one-time chance of vetoing what the people wanted.

American Idol’s eighth season was full of big changes, some of which the audience liked, and some of which it hated. The show disappointingly discontinued Idol Gives Back. The new “judges save” rule gave eliminated contestants a second chance at the title. And a new judge was added to the panel, songwriter Kara DioGuardi, who mostly struck out with fans hoping for longer performances from the contestants and less pointless talk.

Despite all this, one thing didn’t change: American Idol was the highest rated TV series of 2008. Due to the talent of its contestants, fans of the show often list season 8 as their favorite. But do you remember who made it to the top five that year? And what have they been up to lately? Let’s find out as we continue on with 2008's American Idols.

5. Matt Giraud

Critics wondered how the public would respond to the new “judges save” rule, which gave the judges a one-time chance of vetoing what the people wanted. But the audience was shocked when likable contestant Matt Giraud got the fewest votes. When the judges announced that he was saved, it was one of the most memorable moments of the season.




Giraud was voted off the show two weeks later, but performed a duet with fellow contestant Scott MacIntyre on Season 9 results show. Despite the fact that he hasn’t released a full-length album since, he has recorded with Jim Brickman, Anna Wilson, and Lindsey Sky. He released two Christmas singles last year, and continues to perform live concerts.




4. Allison Iraheta

She won a record contract on a Telemundo TV competition, but the show’s legal problems led to the cancellation of her prize. Two years later, she was earning votes on Idol. Many viewers were disappointed that she didn’t make it into the top three, but rumor had it that she had already signed a record deal.




Despite rave reviews, her debut album didn’t sell as well as expected. Jive Records dropped her from their label, but she is still signed on to Idol’s management company and has plans to release a second album.




3. Danny Gokey

Gokey secured a spot for himself in the top 12 after a show-stopping rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. In the following weeks, he would be known for poking fun at his own awkward dance moves and excelling at country-flavored ballads.




Shortly after appearing on the show, he had his own line of eyeglasses that raised funds for charity. His debut album sold well, and was the highest selling debut for male country artist in over a decade. Last year, he opened up for Taylor Swift on her Speak Now tour, which was the highest grossing tour of 2011. He recently released an EP through his official website.




2. Adam Lambert

A bundle of surprises on stage, he’d ace a pop/rock hit one week (“Black Or White”), then do something drastically experimental (“Ring Of Fire”), and later on sing a traditional ballad (“The Tracks Of My Tears”). The most popular bet to win the whole show, Entertainment Weekly put him on the cover of their magazine weeks before the finale.




A controversial performance at that year’s American Music Awards didn’t deter the public from buying his debut album and making “Whataya Want From Me” a top 10 hit. Earlier this year he performed several concerts with Queen as their temporary lead singer, and released his second album, Trespassing. Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, it is the first album from an openly gay artist to reach the top spot.




1. Kris Allen

He never fell into the bottom three and awed the audience with his skillful reworking of Kanye West’s “Heartless”, but people were still shocked when Kris Allen won the season, including Allen himself! But the first single off his debut album, “Live Like We’re Dying” went platinum.




Since then, Allen has written songs for Matthew Morrison, Javier Colon, and South African Idol winner Heinz Winckler. He’s also done charity work for the United Nations, DonorsChoose, TOMS shoes, the Music Empowers Foundation, and more. He recently released a follow-up album, Thank You Camellia, which he promoted on a recent episode of Idol.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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