AI Aftermath: 11th place finishers - VIDEOS
by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 24th 2008 5:23PM
Welcome back to "AI Aftermath," where we explore Idol's past. Each week, as one more American Idol hopeful is eliminated from the competition, we take a look back at contestants past who were eliminated in the same week. We'll examine how they did on the show and what they've been up to since their elimination. We've relocated to Mondays with this week's installments, so in honor of Amanda Overmyer's elimination last week we'll be looking at other eleventh place finishers.
This week: 11th place finishers, featuring Charles Grigsby (Season 2), Matthew Rogers (Season 3), Mikalah Gordon (Season 4), Kevin Covais (Season 5) and Stephanie Edwards (Season 6). Season 1 broke at the Top 10 so we don't have 11th and 12th place finishers to examine.
SEASON TWO - CHARLES GRIGSBY
Charles Grigsby was one of those contestants who really flew under the radar with me. During most seasons of Idol, there were those contestants who were decent singers but were really missing that something magical to make them really good. In most cases it was substandard singing and/or dancing. For Charles, unfortunately, it was a bit of both.
He had a tendency to bounce up and down like a bobber on a fishing line getting nibbles while he performed, walking around the stage up-down-up-down-up-down. And his voice never elevated beyond decent for me. All in all, Charles was one of the more forgettable performers to appear on the Idol stage.
He did get to go on the Idol tour due to the elimination of finalist Corey Clark later in the season. Afterwards, he went straight to the studio and started recording. Charles Grigsby's self-titled debut album featured six tracks and became available in 2005.
Now going by Charlie Grigsby, or Charlie G, Grigsby has relocated to Los Angeles to try and rekindle what might be left of his shot at fame. Charles Grigsby's MySpace page remains active, though the bio updates are horrendously out of date. Nevertheless, it is a way to stay in touch with the former Idol and which him the best of luck on his attempts to get back into the music business.
I can't find any newer video of Charlie G beyond this 2005 rendition of "Amazing Grace" performed at a church. With this appearance in 2005 and his album dropping in 2005, it seems like Grigsby has spent the last three years or so off the radar preparing his next move.:
Here he is in the studio recording a little something. His tone is smooth R&B but again, it just didn't really wow me.:
Okay, now watch him here with "How Sweet It is" and you'll see what I was talking about with his stage presence. This is one of the things I remember most about Charles, his lack of charisma and his arm-waving bounce-step moves. He trotted these same awkward motions out song after song.:
Charles put a pretty good vocal on "You Can't Win." There were moments where it was downright impressive, but again those were only moments. I'm not trying to be too harsh on the guy, but honestly, there was a reason he left so early. He just didn't have that "It" factor.:
[via MySpace, CDBaby and Wikipedia and more!]
SEASON THREE - MATTHEW ROGERS
Matt, as he goes by now, was one of the most congenial and likable guys to ever grace the Idol stage. In fact, by Season Four, he was working as a field correspondent for Idol itself during that year's finale. Since then, he's gone on to appear in various entertainment and sports-related shows as a correspondent. Remember that Rogers is a Rose Bowl winner back when he played offensive line for the University of Washington in 2001.
He currently has two professional gigs. Aside from his various appearances on everything from American Idol Extra to The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Rogers hosts his own Discovery Channel show. Really Big Things takes a fun look at extremely large machinery and what it does.
And while it's a no-brainer for someone of Rogers' natural charm and charisma to go into television hosting, it's all the more admirable that he's taken on a lower profile, lower paying but far more important job guiding and helping youth. When he's not appearing on television, Rogers coaches football for Mission Viejo High School in California. While so many other Idol hopefuls have continued pushing harder and harder to get a career in entertainment rolling, Rogers managed that and still went back to coach high school football. Turns out that "nice guy" persona is the real deal.
Rogers was a natural on "Amazed," one of his best performances of the season. His voice effortlessly pulled out just a touch of country flair that worked brilliantly with his performance.:
His charm helped him to almost pull of "Hard to Handle," but in the end the song was just too wrong for his style of singing.:
Even from the beginning, Matt's larger-than-life personality always stole the stage away from his vocals. That's not to say that he couldn't sing, as shown here in his very impressive initial audition.:
[via Wikipedia and more.]
SEASON FOUR - MIKALAH GORDON
Another contestant who moved forward more on personality than vocals was Season Four's Mikalah Gordon. Most often throughout her run on the show, she was compared to Fran Drescher, because of her nasally, whiny speaking voice. That nasally sound even carried into her singing, which always reminded me a bit of Barbara Streisand. Nevertheless, Mikalah was silly and funny and always brought a smile to your face during her banter with Ryan and the judges on the show.
So, like Matt Rogers before her, Mikalah wound up in correspondence and hosting roles. Specifically, she's currently the co-host for FOX Reality Channel's American Idol Extra. Meanwhile, she continues working as an occasional correspondent for The Tyra Banks Show. Mikalah Gordon's new single, "Baby," is making waves at IdolWaves.com having just broken into the Top 25. And just as when she was on the show, the infamous Idol site VoteForTheWorst.com is urging its readers to support Mikalah's latest musical exercise.
As long-time readers of TV Squad know, Mikalah Gordon blogged American Idol for us last season, proving herself to be both smart and fun with her insider take on the season. And she's back at it again;she just blogged the latest episode of American Idol for US Weekly. This multi-talented Idol alumnus has managed to find a perfect little niche for herself in the entertainment world and all of this without yet making it as a legitimate musician.
Oh, and thank god her niche isn't in acting. Those comparisons to Fran Drescher lead to an appearance as Fran's cousin on Drescher's then-current show, Living with Fran. While she did sing in the episode, overall her acting chops could best be described as atrocious. That said, she did look and sound a lot like Fran, so there's that. Luckily, she was smart enough to realize that outside of drag shows there's probably a very limited future in looking and sounding like Fran Drescher. Unfortunately, I couldn't find video of her appearance to embed here, but you can follow this link to see Mikalah Gordon on Living with Fran.
There were always these really good moments during Mikalah's performances where I could get past the nasally Streisand-like sounds and hear a good voice. I think she did a really good job with "God Bless the Child" here, though the vibrato was a bit overwhelming at times.:
It's funny but while I was looking up video for Mikalah, I found several testaments from gay guys just praising her, and most referenced this performance of "Young Hearts Run Free." I guess like Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, Mikalah is poised to perhaps be a gay pinup queen.:
Again, like Matt before her, Mikalah showed off more personality than singing chops in her initial audition. In fact, I wasn't nearly as impressed with her vocals here as the judges appeared to be.:
[via MySpace, Wikipedia, Google and more!]
SEASON FIVE - KEVIN COVAIS
Kevin Covais followed in Mikalah Gordon's footsteps as a VoteForTheWorst contestant. The teenager, dubbed "Chicken Little" by Paula during his run because of his resemblance to the cartoon movie star, remained optimistic and geekishly "cool," reveling in his "sex symbol" status and generally having a good time with his whole Idol experience.
Like fellow Season Five finalist Elliott Yamin, Covais is Type 1 diabetic, receiving regular insulin injections. As such, post-Idol, he's been heavily involved in promotions and campaigns for awareness and pushes to find better treatments and ultimately a cure for the disease.
While he would have liked to be on TV for Disney, telling TV Guide's Shawna Malcolm after his elimination, "You'll see me on TV again. If Disney comes calling...." Covais had to settle for an appearance at the Disney World holiday concert in 2006.
Most recently, he has a co-starring role with Drake Bell in the R-rated Lionsgate film College, which hits theaters April 11, 2008. He also appears to be involved with someone (Nikki) based on her placement in his friends list and her main picture, which features her kissing him on the cheek. Her page is set to private so no snooping. They're just kids!
While he hasn't yet done anything with his singing, which was always just "okay" for me, he hasn't ruled that out yet. But for now, he'll have to settle for a feature film debut in a starring role, which isn't too shabby. The last Idol to have one of those wound up with an Oscar.
Based on the scenes I've seen, I don't think Kevin has Oscar-gold in his future, but nevertheless it looks like a fun college kid movie. Here's a scene from College featuring our own "Chicken Little":
The character doesn't seem to be much of a stretch. And Covais has a lot of musical theater background from high school to pull from. And he does better than Mikalah's major acting debut linked above. Here's another short scene from College:
Sorry that none of those scenes featured very much Covais love, it's what was out there. For one of Kevin's weirdest performances, check out Special K kicking it old school with "Baby Got Back" on Talkshow with Spike Feresten!:
By this stage in the show, Kevin was loving his "adorable" status, accepting kisses from the girl contestants and enduring Paula's weekly fawning. I thought Kevin showed some fun to his personality by "playing up" his "sex symbol" status on the show with his performance of "Part Time Lover":
Kevin's rendition of "When I Fall In Love" was one of his better vocal performances. Again, like many of these contestants, it just didn't have that wow factor. Kevin's appeal was based on his cute nerdiness more than anything else, which is why he wasn't able to make it much further than this. Still, that persona is serving him well, so like some of the others on this list, Kevin is smart enough to go with what works.:
[via Kevin Covais' official site, MySpace, Wikipedia and more!]
SEASON SIX - STEPHANIE EDWARDS
Where the hell did Stephanie Edwards go? Stephanie was one of the stronger vocalists on Season Six, and her elimination in 11th place, before of the likes of Haley Scarnato (of the long legs) and Sanjaya Malakar (of the long locks) was seen as a travesty by many, myself included.
In 2007 Stephanie Edwards' single "On Our Way," was released as a charity single available on eBay, with sales benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. You can here the single here. It sounds great, she looks great and hopefully she keeps riding whatever waves of momentum she can find. She's just too talented to give up.
Stephanie appeared live in New York at the Black Heritage Festival's Grand Festival Day just a couple of months ago and performed her original song "Moving On." She's sassy, spirited and confident here, but I can't say as I think the song itself is a big winner. Still, she's out there forging ahead, so good for her.:
Last year, during her Idol days, Stephanie delivered a sultry performance of "Love Hangover." There's just no way that the girl who can sing like this should have been voted off so soon. Honestly, sometimes America just confuses the hell out of me.:
This was an earlier stage of the competition, and again Stephanie just killed on "How Come You Don't Call Me?" Sass and attitude, a la Mary J. Blige, fits Stephanie to a 'T,' which could explain the tone of her original piece up there, "Moving On.":
And how about the raw power on display here on "Sweet Thing." I'm sorry, but this girl was the real thing. Even Paula was up and dancing!:
[via Wikipedia and some more but not much else ... where are you, Stephanie?]
SEASON SEVEN - AMANDA OVERMYER
And now, joining their ranks, is Season Seven's resident "rocker chick," Amanda Overmyer. Amanda was certainly a volatile presence with the fans. Many chided her as a one-trick pony, while still others came to her defense listing David Archuleta as a one-trick pony too, albeit a different pony (his being ballads while hers is screechy rock).
Personally, I liked Amanda Overmyer, though I concede that she's not for everyone, nor was she a particularly good fit for this show. American Idol forces diversity with their various "themes," in their effort to find the best, well-rounded singer, and Amanda overtly indicated she had no intention of showcasing any diversity. For more, you can check out our "Farewell to Amanda Overmyer."
NEXT TIME ON AI AFTERMATH
We take a look at the tenth place finishers, featuring EJay Day, Julia DeMato, Amy Adams, Jessica Sierra, Lisa Tucker and Chris Sligh. See you there!
12th Place Finishers