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    A.I. Media Articles

    Mods: I looked to see if there were any other threads for media articles and there was one specific to Season 5 but I thought I would just make one that can be used at any time for media articles about American Idol and maybe not specific to a particular contestant. Hope that's ok!


    'Idol' Juggernaut Passes $2.5 Billion in Value; Keeps Expanding

    Published: January 08, 2007

    NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Are you ready for "Idol" chocolate bars, "Idol" ice cream and "Idol" Monopoly games? What about an "Idol" theme-park attraction and a "Sims"-style virtual "Idol" world that will give contestants makeovers before letting them stroll down a red carpet in front of the paparazzi and sing?

    All of the above are either done deals or in stages of negotiation and are part of a push by "American Idol" owner Fremantle Media to wring even more revenue out of what already may be the most lucrative multimedia property of all time.

    Conservatively valued at $2.5 billion as a franchise, the "American Idol" empire already brings in $500 million a year in TV ad dollars, including a number of $30 million to $50 million core sponsorship packages, music sales, live tours -- read: more sponsorship revenue as well as ticket sales -- and an explosion of products from 40 licensees.

    But that's just the beginning. Despite the TV show being crammed with ads from 137 marketers in the past two years -- along with three core partners integrated into the content -- Fremantle Media, the rights holder to "Idol," is making room for new ad opportunities by streaming the entire program at AmericanIdol.com after it airs. Already signed on to support the website are marketers including McDonald's and MasterCard.

    Keith Hindle, Fremantle Media Licensing Worldwide exec VP-integrated marketing and interactive-Americas, said the goal is to make "American Idol," which hits the Fox airwaves Jan. 16, a year-round phenomenon. "The top line about everything this season is the desire for interactivity," he said. "We are trying to kick-start that across all elements of the show. Last season, 'Idol' attracted 570 million votes, 65 million text messages. That's a ridiculous amount of interactivity. We are taking that concept that people want to participate and are strengthening that into other things."

    Sponsors Ford Motor Co., Coca-Cola Co. and Cingular Wireless are working harder to squeeze more juice from the "Idol" juggernaut for which they paid $30 million to $50 million. Ford plans a contest that will give regular viewers a chance to appear in the music videos featuring final contestants. In addition to Coca-Cola's Red Room and its ubiquitous cups -- the most widely seen product placement on TV, according to Nielsen Monitor Plus -- Coke will sponsor a promotion that invites viewers to submit questions for contestants through MyCokeRewards.com.

    Also, fans for the first time will be able to download specific performances, thanks to Cingular, which will make clips from the show available on cellphones once viewers in Hawaii have finished watching the show.

    Fremantle owns AmericanIdol.com, which is built, hosted and sold by Fox through a revenue-sharing agreement. Fremantle, approached by a major web portal last year about hosting the "Idol" website, came close to yanking the property from Fox entirely, said one executive close to the company, noting that the company felt that Fox hadn't sufficiently capitalized on a web presence until season five.

    The Fox-hosted site attracted 40 million unique visitors last season. Among Fremantle's licensing partners on the site is Star Style, which allows viewers to buy the outfits worn by the finalists.

    There will be no escaping "Idol" on store shelves, either. Mr. Hindle and his boss, Olivier Gers, general manager, Fremantle Media Licensing, have seen to that. In addition to Coke's major commitment to promote the show through its cans, Nestle will distribute 79 million branded candy bars along with a competition to win a seat at the finals. Dreyer's is introducing ice-cream flavors tied to the show with names such as "Hollywood Cheesecake" and "Drumstick Diva."

    While Fremantle appears to be cleaning up -- pretax revenue in the first half of '06 was up 75%, according to parent German media consortium RTL -- it's being careful to keep control of its golden goose. When executives last checked, ***tube was carrying some 32,000 "Idol" clips -- all illegal.

    The marketer payoff is obvious. The finale attracted 22.7 million viewers in season one, but that audience had grown to a stunning 36.3 million for the season-five finale -- an enormous achievement in today's media-fractured world.

    Moreover, "Idol" has managed to corner another valuable-but-elusive metric: engagement. "They're doing much more than a show. They've been using other media to expand the engagement process," said Robert Passikoff, founder of Brand Keys.

    Still, "Idol" expansion can be a headache for marketers, albeit one they are willing to suffer. "There is an inordinate amount of extensions around the show," said an executive at a major agency. "Because the show has evolved, there are now more opportunities. That's where it starts to get sticky; you've got competitive issues. But you deal with that on every big property."

    http://adage.com/article?article_id=114131
    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

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    Here's another article along the same lines but with some different information...I'll only include the different information but you can click on the link if you want to read the whole article....

    Six off-net partners bask in 'Idol' glow

    For their part, Coca-Cola, Ford and Cingular will be integrated into "Idol" in similar ways to previous years, but this season they are trying to build upon viewers' interest in interacting with the show. Through its MyCokeRewards.com incentive program launched last April, consumers can submit questions that host Ryan Seacrest will ask the 12 top contestants live on-air. Each week the Idols will be asked questions chosen through a random drawing among those submitted at www.mycokerewards.com. There also will be "American Idol"-themed prizes offered through the MyCokeRewards Web site, said Coca-Cola spokeswoman Susan McDermott.

    "Idol" fans also will be offered the chance to submit their own designs for the judges' Coca-Cola cups on AmericanIdol.com. The winning cup will be featured on an episode of the show. Coca-Cola's customized in-store "Idol" promotions for its retail clients also are expected to more than double this year to about 50 nationwide.

    For the first time, Cingular will be making video clips of "Idol" performances available to its customers shortly after the show. Cingular will again enable its customers to use their wireless phones to text message their votes, participate in hosted chats with voted-off top 12 finalists, test their knowledge of "Idol" trivia and personalize their wireless phones with Live Idol Tones of the top 12 finalists' performances. Cingular will feature video clips of selected bad auditions as well as performances of the top 12 finalists via Cingular Video.

    Ford will be casting viewers who win "Idol"-themed competitions in their Ford music videos, which feature the 12 finalists and air during the show. Typically, one winner will be featured in each video, Hindle said. Ford, which took its "Idol" videos online for the first time last year, said it will be looking for such "new and fresh ways" to distribute content this season as gaming and cell phones. Ford, which will primarily feature its new Ford Edge in the videos, said it also expects its logos to be visible at the "Idol" auditions for the first time this season.

    The automaker will again give away new Ford Mustangs to the "Idol" winner and runner-up.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...43705beecfd613
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    Everyone loves ice cream....



    C'mon everyone...you know you don't have anything better to do right now () ...so go ahead and vote for your favorite American Idol ice cream....yeah, you heard it right....AI ice cream!

    Yum!Ice cream
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    Singer still pursues dream after 'American Idol'
    By RUFFIN PREVOST
    Gazette Wyoming Bureau

    CODY - Nearly a year after being featured on the popular Fox television show "American Idol," Garet Johnson still is pursuing his dream of becoming a country music star.

    Only now, instead of shooting for instant fame, Johnson is building his dream from the bottom up.

    "What I need to do now is find my feet and build my foundation," he said. "I'm not ready to be a big star yet. I need to go play the honky-tonks."

    Johnson got a taste of fame, but little fortune, when he appeared in several segments on the fifth season of "American Idol." His youthful good looks, innocence and quirky Wyoming charms made him a big hit with viewers.

    "A lot of it has to do with who you are," said Johnson, 19, who spends weekends on his parents' ranch in Veteran. "When I went on 'Idol,' I guess I had an interesting story.

    "If I had been living in a city and been another one of the nameless faces, I wouldn't have been featured," he said.

    Though he didn't make the final cut, his appearances caught on with fans, and the press picked up the story of a Wyoming ranch kid with no singing experience who got to see the ocean and fly on an airplane for the first time.

    The show later flew Johnson to New York and Cincinnati for follow-up segments, and he found himself being mobbed by throngs of strangers.

    "Everyone knew who I was. They were stopping me in the streets," he said. "A few times there was a big crowd of people mobbing me. It kind of freaked me out and was difficult at times."

    Johnson said he turned down a couple of quick record offers in hopes of building a lasting career as a country music artist.

    "I don't want to be one-hit wonder," he said. "I want to have experience and earn my right to be an artist. I don't want to be famous just for being famous, like Paris Hilton or someone."

    That means voice and music lessons, usually four days a week in nearby Scottsbluff, Neb., he said. Johnson stays during the week with his voice coach in Scotsbluff, working at a Western wear store to earn extra money.

    Johnson said he's gotten good advice from music industry veterans who have told him to learn to read music, write his own songs and build a career by paying his dues.

    He hopes to begin playing a few small, local venues soon and is looking to move to Nashville in the summer.

    Though his "American Idol" audition was a lark, Johnson hasn't ruled out taking another shot at the show.

    "But I want to make sure I know what I'm doing, so I'll actually be in a position to win, instead of just going on to see what happens," he said.

    "Two years ago, I never would have picked this, but I know now it's what I want to do for the rest of my life, if that's possible," Johnson said. "But I have to start work on my own music. I don't want to live life around 'Idol.' "

    Cowboy Story
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    MSNBC poll

    Who was the best "American Idol" runner-up? poll
    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

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    'American Idol' finds its star rising every year

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Article:

    http://www.wacotrib.com/featr/conten...ricanidol.html



    'American Idol' finds its star rising every year

    Click-2-Listen

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    On to Broadway

    Some “American Idol” contestants have found their TV time a launching pad to Broadway. Here are some performers who’ve made it to the stage and the musicals in which they appeared.


    Diana DeGarmo — “Hairspray”

    Frenchie Davis — “Rent”

    Constantine Maroulis — “The Wedding Singer”

    By Carl Hoover

    Tribune-Herald entertainment editor

    Almost five years ago, the reality show “American Idol” debuted with music industry execs and television critics skeptical about the series’ ability to make a star from relative unknowns.

    That was then. This is now: As “American Idol” begins a sixth season at 7 p.m. Tuesday on Fox Television — with celebrity judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson back to evaluate eager amateur singing talent under the camera’s eye — the reality series can boast 22 contestants who’ve released at least one CD; three with starring roles in feature films, one earning a Golden Globe nomination; one with two Grammy Awards and three more with nominations; two with published books; three with roles in Broadway productions; and several with appearances on national television.

    America may not worship at the feet of each new “American Idol,” but it’s certainly paying attention.

    Unlike the majority of TV series that lose steam over the years, “American Idol” has snowballed over time. More than 13 million viewers tuned in for its first season’s finale in the summer of 2002. Last year, that audience had grown to 30 million viewers.

    That audience size — and the fact that its core is adults ages 18 to 49, the golden demographic for advertisers — makes “American Idol” commercial time pricey indeed. Adweek reports that a 30-second spot during “American Idol” carries a $705,000 price tag — just under one-third of what this year’s Super Bowl airtime will cost.

    While advertisers hope to recoup the commercial expense through increased sales, “American Idol’s” phone-based voting means money in the pocket for America’s telephone and cell phone service providers: Viewers cast 580 million votes through phone messages last season.

    Darren Taylor, program director for Waco contemporary hits station KWTX-FM (97.5), says the morning show he co-hosts with Chrissy gets its share of listeners’ calls once an “American Idol” season gets under way. Callers love to second-guess judges’ criticisms and comments from the night before, he said, and accelerating interest in the ultimate winner leads to considerable airtime for the winning “Idol’s” single.

    “We play that first one because it’s an ‘American Idol’ winner, but after that, the artists . . . have to be good to get played,” he said. “‘American Idol’ is still popular, but I think (the reality television show) ‘Dancing With the Stars’ has become the one that people are buzzing about these days.”

    Started with Clarkson

    Though each season brings new performers to the public, several of “Idol’s” past winners and wannabes are proving they’ve got staying power, led by the first “Idol,” Texas native Kelly Clarkson. Her two CDs, Thankful and Breakaway, have sold more than 8 million copies between them; a third CD comes out this year. She won two Grammy Awards for Breakaway.

    Clarkson even starred in a film, sharing the lead with first season runner-up Justin Guarini in From Justin to Kelly, though it sank like a stone at the box office.

    Clay Aiken, the next season’s runner-up, created a loyal and avid fan base during his “Idol” run, one that has supported his three CDs — Measure of a Man, Merry Christmas With Love and A Thousand Different Ways — to the tune of 4.5 million copies sold. Ruben Studdard, that year’s winner, also has released three CDs — Soulful, I Need an Angel and The Return — though his sales have been slightly more than half of Aiken’s.

    Fantasia Barrino, 2004’s winner, has sold more than 2 million copies of her CDs, Free Yourself and Fantasia, winning four Grammy Award nominations for Free Yourself. She starred in her primetime cable television autobiography, The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not A Fairy Tale.

    Taylor Hicks, last year’s winner, found his post-“Idol” album Taylor Hicks going gold, with more than 500,000 copies sold shortly after its release in December.

    Perhaps the most sizzling post-“Idol” showing for a winner belongs to Carrie Underwood. Underwood topped the 2005 competition and went on to release a country album, Some Hearts, that sold more than 4.6 million copies, with hit singles “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Inside Your Heaven” and “Before He Cheats.” The album and its songs earned her two Country Music Association awards, a Dove Award and two Grammy nominations in the process.

    Not everyone did well

    Not all “Idol” stars have found lasting favor in the limelight. Guarini’s three CD releases haven’t generated much attention, and 2004 runner-up Diana DeGarmo has found more success on the smaller New York stage than the national music charts.

    Perhaps the most telling indication of “Idol’s” growing star-making exposure lies in the success found by contestants who never made it to the finale. Jennifer Hudson was a semifinalist in the third season, but her performance in the film musical Dreamgirls already has earned a Golden Globe nomination and considerable Oscar buzz.

    Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler were only semifinalists in last year’s season, but each released popular CDs last year. Daughtry’s self-titled work went platinum with more than a million copies sold, while Pickler’s Small Town Girl is nearing gold status with more than 300,000 in sales. Josh Gracin, a 2003 semifinalist, also went gold with his debut Josh Gracin.

    And it doesn’t take talent to win fame — or infamy.

    Take the celebrated case of 2004 “American Idol” contestant William Hung, whose horrible cover of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” became hilarious video fodder for millions of Web sites and blogs.

    Hung made lemonade from his lemons, however: His CD Inspiration, with covers of “Rocket Man,” and “YMCA,” sold some 195,000 copies.

    choover@wacotrib.com

    757-5749


    On to Broadway

    Some “American Idol” contestants have found their TV time a launching pad to Broadway. Here are some performers who’ve made it to the stage and the musicals in which they appeared.


    Diana DeGarmo — “Hairspray”

    Frenchie Davis — “Rent”

    Constantine Maroulis — “The Wedding Singer”


    HOW THE WINNERS HAVE FARED

    Kelly Clarkson

    Winner: 2002

    2 CDs, 8 million sold

    2 Grammy Awards

    6 Top 10 singles


    Clay Aiken

    Runner-up: 2003

    3 CDs, 4.5 million sold


    Ruben Studdard

    Winner: 2003

    3 CDs, 2.4 million sold

    1 Grammy Award nomination


    Jennifer Hudson

    Semifinalist: 2004

    Co-star, feature film Dreamgirls

    Golden Globe nomination


    Fantasia Barrino

    Winner: 2004

    2 CDs, 2.3 million sold

    TV movie, The Fantasia Barrino Story

    4 Grammy Award nominations


    Carrie Underwood

    Winner: 2005

    1 CD, 4.6 million sold

    2 Grammy nominations

    2 Country Music Association awards

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    January 13, 2007


    Santa Cruzan and 'American Idol' vet Katie Webber finds a new life on the stages of Broadway.
    by claudia sternbach

    It's a cool winter morning, but the lines outside the Manhattan theater are long and the lobby is filled with ticket holders, mostly women and children, eagerly awaiting the matinee performance of "Wicked" The musical, which tells the back story of the witches of Oz, has been selling out daily for years.

    I have no ticket, but am not worried. I may not get to see the afternoon performance, but I will get a peek at the Land of Oz thanks to a talented young Santa Cruz woman, Katie Webber, who has left the coast of California to carve out a life for herself in the Big Apple. In the one year she has been a resident of New York City, she has taken quite a chunk out of the forbidden fruit and found it to be delicious.

    Katie has loved dancing and singing for as long as she can remember. The Harbor High graduate made an impressive showing on the third season of Fox's "American Idol" and when she heard auditions were being held in Los Angeles for the New York City cast of "Wicked," she decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a go.

    "It was my mother's idea," said Katie, laughing. Mother and daughter made it a girls' weekend adventure and headed south for the audition. She gave it her best shot and was rewarded with a callback. Every actor's dream. But then, all was silent. It was summer 2006. Months later in December, Katie's cell phone rang. She was asked if she could, and would, be in New York as soon as possible.

    The Broadway show needed her. Off she went in a tornado of emotion. She left friends, family and her hometown for a chance at making it in a place some think is as exciting as the Emerald City.

    For more than a year now, the 25-year-old has been singing and dancing eight times a week in one of the most popular long-running musicals on Broadway, playing the mother of all witches. Or at least the witches of Oz.

    While the crowds chatter outside the theater, their excitement palpable, Katie and I slip through a side door and into the building. First stop, the stage.

    "I'll show you something," Katie said, leading me off to the side. And there, behind a curtain, is a makeshift dressing room where she and her castmates do quick changes of costumes when there is no time to go backstage. The mirrors are not unlike what you would find in a fun house. One costume check may convince you that you actually are a munchkin.

    And on the stage is the yellow brick road, too tempting to avoid. Giant, brightly colored flowers are off to one side and overhead hangs a giant ring, perfect for a witch's perch. And out front, rows and rows of empty seats wait to be filled.

    In a little more than an hour, magic will happen here.

    Backstage the dressing room is filled with beautifully made costumes in a rainbow of colors: Tight-fitted jackets with braid and trim; full, puffy skirts that billow like clouds; leather shoes and boots perfect for dancing down the yellow brick road; and hats and wigs to complete each outfit.

    "I don't know if we get to keep the boots," said Katie, grinning. But she's hoping to. Although, as she is quick to admit, she may not need the custom-made footwear.

    "I spend all my money on shoes," she says, her eyes sparkling. In fact, the pair she is wearing is new to the collection. They are far, however, from looking anything like ruby red slippers. They are cute little sneakers. Much more appropriate for exploring city sidewalks.

    The Guide: What do you enjoy most about living in the city?

    KW: I'm able to do what I love to do. There's only one "Broadway" in the world, and it's great to be a part of it.

    The Guide: What has surprised you about your new home?

    KW: How hard it was to find a place to live. And I was surprised at how really nice and accepting everyone in the theater community is.

    The Guide: Most memorable moment on stage?

    KW: I came out on stage and fell down. Hard. Then just laughed.

    The Guide: You play a mother on stage eight performances a week. Any thoughts of becoming one someday?

    KW: I do see myself as a mother some day. Not for a while, but some day.

    The Guide: What's next on your dream to-do list?

    KW: My next career goal is to move on to another Broadway show. I hope to do many shows and hopefully move up the ladder every time.

    The Guide: If you could choose any song to belt out on stage, what would it be?

    KW: Wow, I don't know if I can pick my favorite song to belt. I love so many songs. One of my favorites is a song called "Life of the Party" from a Broadway show called "The Wild Party"

    The Guide: Who do you like to listen to?

    KW: These days I am loving Gwen Stefani and BeyoncÚ. However, no one can touch Justin Timberlake. He is the best.

    The Guide: So, just how many pairs of shoes have you bought since moving to Manhattan?

    KW: Since I've been here, I've bought at least 15 pairs of shoes. Don't tell my mom!

    The Guide: What do you miss about Santa Cruz?

    KW: My family. Friends. Taqueria Vallarta. Actually, everything. It's the most beautiful place in the world.

    Apparently, there really is no place like home for Katie Webber.

    Cast of 'Wicked'

    Katie Webber may be the biggest name from Santa Cruz starring in 'Wicked,' but she's got some pretty famous company in her cast.

    ANA GASTEYER Elphaba
    KATE REINDERS Glinda
    DAVID GARRISON The Wizard
    CAROL KANE Madame Morrible
    DERRICK WILLIAMS Fiyero
    JENNA LEIGH GREEN Nessarose
    STEVEN SKYBELL Dr. Dillamond
    LOGAN LIPTON Boq

    Link here

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    For those that can't remember what Katie looked like:


    Dance Zone
    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

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    Anyone want any KFC????

    Forget Voting - 'American Idol' Viewers Score Chance to Win During Show's Premiere

    KFC to Give Away 10,000 Buffalo Snackers via 'Unique' TV Spot Airing
    January 17 During 'American Idol' Commercial Break


    LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Viewers who tune into
    "American Idol's" January 17 season premiere will catch more than missed
    musical notes and cantankerous comments from the judges. For one night
    only, KFC will offer these viewers the chance to win with the brand's
    latest television commercial for its popular Buffalo KFC Snacker(R)
    sandwich.

    Instead of the Buffalo KFC Snacker commercial currently airing on TV
    screens nationwide, KFC will run a slightly different version of the spot
    -- one time only -- during the show's January 17 season premiere. After the
    commercial airs on January 17, the first 10,000 viewers to log onto
    http://www.KFC.com and correctly identify the difference between the two
    commercials will win.
    Each of the 10,000 sharp-eyed Snacker fans will
    receive a $1 KFC gift check to enjoy a complimentary Buffalo Snacker (tax
    may be extra) at any participating KFC location.

    "This is a product that was originally launched with a TV commercial
    hidden message, so KFC fans expect to see the Buffalo KFC Snacker
    advertised in a unique way," James O'Reilly, Chief Marketing Officer for
    KFC. "We're encouraging KFC lovers everywhere to tune in, watch and win
    with this latest twist on our national Snacker advertising."

    A Sneaky Snacker Tradition

    Last year, KFC launched the Buffalo KFC Snacker, the first extension to
    the best-selling Snacker line of value-priced sandwiches, with the
    first-ever documented hidden message in a national TV ad. The company
    followed up by hiding the punch line to a "cheesy" joke in an ad debuting
    its Ultimate Cheese KFC Snacker. Today, KFC continues the tradition with
    this national challenge.

    The Buffalo KFC Snacker is part of KFC's best selling Snacker line,
    which also includes Crispy, Honey BBQ and Ultimate Cheese. The Buffalo KFC
    Snacker features KFC's signature, 100 percent chicken breast strip dipped
    in an authentic Buffalo sauce and is freshly prepared with crisp lettuce
    and served on a warm sesame seed bun. Visit http://www.KFC.com for more
    details about the Buffalo KFC Snacker.

    KFC
    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

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    Keeping Up With The Idols

    Sunday, January 14, 2007

    We live in the "American Idol" era of pop music. Not since Frank Sinatra vaulted off the Major Bowes talent show have amateur contests produced chart-toppers. But today's pop stars come elected by television audiences on a game show. With the yawning maw of the sixth season of "American Idol" ahead next week, we look at the fortunes of past contestants as they fan out among the ranks in the world of show business.

    2002 SEASON ONE

    Kelly Clarkson (winner) The first Idol and the show's golden girl made "Since U Been Gone" the signature pop single of the new century. Her transition from "Idol" to bona fide star is complete, a long way from "A Moment Like This" and "From Justin to Kelly."

    Justin Guarini (second place) Carrot-top curly-head of the bomb "From Justin to Kelly" is peddling a jazz album on his Web site.

    Nikki McKibbin (third place) Dropped by RCA Victor after she refused to make a country record, she made some guest shots on other reality shows, such as "Fear Factor," but is still working on her first solo record (she recently cut a remake of the Mr. Big hit "To Be With You").

    Tamyra Gray (fourth place) Also dropped by RCA after she wanted to write her own material, Gray re-emerged in a recurring role on TV's "Boston Public" and the 2005 feature, "The Gospel," for which she also sang on the soundtrack. She recently married vocalist Sam Watters of Color Me Badd.

    R.J. Helton (fifth place) Came out of the closet and put out a gospel CD.

    Ryan Starr (seventh place) Although her music career stalled when RCA refused to let her make a rock record, she did eventually release her song "My Religion" as an exclusive iTunes download (where it topped the chart) and bought a $3.4 million coastline pad in Santa Monica in 2004.

    Jim Verraros (ninth place) Also came out of the closet after "Idol" and has been making dance records.

    2003 SEASON TWO

    Ruben Studdard (winner) The cuddly Velvet Teddy Bear scored three hit albums and dabbled in guest appearances on TV and movies ("Scooby Doo 2: Monster Unleashed"). He was awarded a $2 million judgment last year in a suit against his godfather and business manager, who stole his money, and lost 70 pounds on a vegetarian diet.

    Clay Aiken (second place) The enormously popular North Carolina singer, who many thought was robbed of first place by a voting snafu, saw his debut CD, "Measure of a Man," sell near 3 million. His tours and CD sales are second only to those of Kelly Clarkson among "Idol" alumni. His "inspirational memoir" landed him on the New York Times best-seller list. He continues to be dogged by questions about his sexuality and caused a ripple last year when he placed his hand over the mouth of TV host Kelly Ripa.

    Kimberley Locke (third place) The belter's debut CD peaked midchart, and her follow-up has been long delayed. But she has a lingerie line with Lane Bryant and just signed on as a Jenny Craig spokesman.

    Josh Gracin (fourth place) The ex-Marine earned three Top Five country hits and a gold album with his debut CD. His next album, "All About Y'All," is poised for release.

    Kimberly Caldwell (seventh place) Posed for men's magazine and works as a reality show correspondent for the TV Guide cable channel. Her debut album, produced by "Idol" judge Randy Jackson with songwriter Diane Warren, is still unreleased.

    Frenchie Davis (disqualified) Thrown off the show when topless photos of her surfaced on the Internet, Davis took over a role in Broadway's "Rent."

    Corey Clark (disqualified) After he was kicked off the show for failing to disclose a criminal record, Clark went public with charges that he had an affair with "Idol" judge Paula Abdul and offered various phone records and photographs as evidence. The Fox network investigation cleared Abdul. Clark released his debut CD on his own label and sold 2,500 copies.

    2004 SEASON THREE

    Fantasia Barrino (winner) Her million-selling debut album earned four Grammy nominations, and the leadoff track, "I Believe," was the biggest-selling single of 2004. Functionally illiterate, she dictated her New York Times best-selling memoir, "Life Is a Fairy Tale," which was made into a cable TV movie. She is touring with Jaimie Foxx, and her hot new album featured a first single produced by Big Boi of OutKast.

    Diana DeGarmo (second place) Her CD bombed, but she has been playing the role of Penny Singleton in the Broadway production of "Hairspray" and working on her second album.

    Jasmine Trias (third place) Her CD tanked, but she's big in the Philippines.

    LaToya London (fourth place) Oakland's own was dropped by her label after the 2005 debut CD sold modestly. She dropped "LaToya" from her performing name and is writing songs for a second album, shopping for a label and headed into a Chicago run of the Broadway musical "The Color Purple."

    George Huff (fifth place) His gospel album didn't sell well, and he was a Katrina refugee later that year.

    Jennifer Hudson (seventh place) "Dreamgirls" made her a star. Her new album is due, and she could well win the Oscar.

    William Hung (auditioned) The UC Berkeley student's off-key Ricky Martin cover, "She Bangs," made him a star/joke for a moment, but he hasn't quite gone away. He is planning a fourth album, was crowned Artichoke King at last year's annual fete in Castroville and is doing gigs at malls this month in the Pacific Northwest.

    2005 SEASON FOUR

    Carrie Underwood (winner) The former beauty pageant contestant made Faith Hill furious when she won Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year. Her debut album sold more than 4 million copies -- the biggest-selling "Idol" record debut -- and she could be seen last month cuddling with her new boyfriend, quarterback Tony Romo, on the sidelines of the Cowboys-Eagles game.

    Bo Bice (second place) The Southern rocker featured a guitar solo from Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora on his first single, appeared with Trey Anastasio of Phish at the Bonaroo Music Festival, took the stage with Willie Nelson at Farm Aid and sang on the latest album by Carlos Santana.

    Vonzell Solomon (third place) Landed a cameo in an unreleased independent film and a track on a Christmas compilation and last year put out her own CD, "My Struggle."

    Anthony Fedorov (fourth place) The Ukrainian immigrant who sings like Richard Marx finished second in a special reality-TV edition of "Fear Factor" and served as a judge on MTV's "Little Talent Show." He sang the anthem at a recent Raiders game and is said to be releasing his debut album this year.

    Constantine Maroulis (sixth place) After a brief run last year in the MTV Broadway musical of "The Wedding Singer," Maroulis just entered the cast of the off-Broadway production of "Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris." He landed his showstopping rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" from "Idol" on a Queen tribute album.

    Anwar Robinson (seventh place) The former New Jersey public school music teacher and the only openly gay finalist made the U.S. tour with the other season four finalists and is said to be working on a debut album.

    Mario Vazquez (resigned) Apparently having second thoughts, the former child prodigy quit the show in the semifinals. His first post-"Idol" single got radio play but never caught fire. His album made the chart at No. 80 and disappeared shortly thereafter.

    2006 SEASON FIVE

    Taylor Hicks (winner) His debut single, "Do I Make You Proud," hit No. 1, and his album has sold 500,000 copies since it was released last month. He tours theaters in the South and East through April. The husky-voiced Alabaman, named People magazine "Hottest Bachelor" last year, has already been the subject of a Weird Al parody and several "Saturday Night Live" skits. His ghostwritten memoirs will be published in April.

    Katharine McPhee (second place) The Valley Girl who inspired McPheever will release her hotly awaited debut album Jan. 30. She has toured with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and admitted to problems with bulimia, a severe father and a reading disorder.

    Elliott Yamin (third place) Released a Christmas song on AOL Music and plans to put out a full album next month.

    Chris Daughtry (fourth place) Last season's "rocker" released his debut album in November and has already passed the million sales mark. He played Times Square on New Year's Eve.

    Kellie Pickler (sixth place) Her album, "Small Town Girl," topped the country charts the week it was released in October. A TV sitcom built around her dingy, unsophisticated character is in development.

    Bucky Covington (eighth place) The backwoods blonde from North Carolina released his first single this month to country radio, with an album due in April from the same label that brings you Rascal Flatts. His twin brother and father still paint cars at Covington Body Shop in Hamlet, N.C., as Covington himself did before "Idol."

    Terrell and Derrell Brittenum (disqualified) The talented twins wound up jailed on forgery, theft and weapons charges after appearing on the first two episodes of the season. The first offenders pleaded guilty in May and were fined $1,000 each and placed on probation. In August, they appeared at a back-to-school event for the DeKalb County (Ga.) solicitor's office.


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    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

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