AI Aftermath: 6th place finishers

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 29th 2008 12:03PM
American Idol 6th Place Finishers
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 eliminations. In honor of Carly Smithson's elimination last week we'll be looking at other sixth place finishers.

This week: 6th place finishers, featuring featuring Christina Christian (Season One), Carmen Rasmussen (Season Two), John Stevens (Season Three), Constantine Maroulis (Season Four), Kellie Pickler (Season Five) and Phil Stacey (Season Six).


Christina ChristianIt shows you when the Internet began to be the purveyor of information for the new generation when I find several of the first season contestants lacking individual Wikipedia pages. Luckily, though, MySpace has stepped in to fill the void, as most of them have their own pages. Christina Christian's MySpace page is well updated and detailed. Since her elimination from American Idol, the natural beauty has found more success in print modeling and acting, thus far, than singing. She's appeared in ads for Parenting Magazine and Toys "R" Us among others and was recently cast as the young Celia Cruz in an upcoming feature-length film on her life, Celia the Queen.

Not yet signed to a label, her MySpace site is nevertheless full of various samples of her work, including her poetry in the journal section. There's a slide show YouTube video of Christina Christian's "Hypnotized," which was released as her debut single in 2007. I can't embed it here but you can follow the link to see it. It doesn't look like the album ever fully materialized, so I guess Christina is still at it. At least she has a career of some sort blooming.

This was one of her strongest performances on the show with "Ain't No Sunshine":

Remember when she performed her own original composition "Forever or Never"?:

[via Myspace and more!]


Carmen RasmussenThe first thing I remembered about Carmen when putting this together was her annoyingly fast vibrato. It sounded like a mix between a lamb bleating and yodeling, the latter of which she was quite adept. But Carmen was a high school kid way back in 2003 when she appeared on American Idol, so she's gained better control of her instrument since then. She's tried to stay in the limelight, appearing as an actress in a couple of movies and a series of commercials in the western US. She also participated in a short run on Fear Factor in 2006.

In 2007, she released a book and signed with Lofton Creek Records to record her second album, her first was a self-titled, self-produced EP. That debut album, Nothin' Like the Summer came out last summer, along with her first single, "Nothin' Like the Summer." She was on the road much of 2007 promoting the single and album, even offering fans a chance to "Hitch a Ride" on her tour bus and hang out.

Carmen Rasmussen's official website has an iTV web exclusive show but the latest update is when Idol got narrowed down to Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks. Just like Ryan Starr, it doesn't appear that there are any really current status updates as to what Carmen is up to now so either all of this has faltered heading into 2008, thus the lack of updates, or she's still at it and just too busy.

Here's her Video for "Nothin' Like the Summer":

This is Carmen performing "Nothin' Like the Summer" last summer at Idol Camp:

Here's Carmen just a couple of years ago performing "Walkin' After Midnight":

And back on her American Idol days you can hear her vibrato struggles on "Wild Angels":

via Carmen Rasmussen's official site, Wikipedia, MySpace and more!]


John StevensAh, little John Stevens. The cute little red-headed crooner who got so far out of his league in this competition but managed to smile and try his hardest all the way through. While I knew John would have to go, he was still a fun presence and had some pretty good performances throughout his run. He did eke out an album of standards, Red (get it! Get it! Because he has red hair! HAHAHA ... oh, that's classic!) that sold respectably for it's genre.

Since then, he's left Maverick Records, under which he released Red, and is currently attending college at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Stevens was only sixteen when he was on American Idol and already an accomplished performer and singer in the Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin style. In fact, he's been favorably compared to both legendary icons. While the market for that style of music isn't as big as the pop, rap or rock markets, there's nothing to say that a seasoned and even better John Stevens couldn't come out of college and do very well in that area. He's such a likable kid, how could you not root for him.

John Stevens just last year performing at a telethon for sick children:

Here's a profile put together about John around the time of Red's release:

John at his crooner best on "King of the Road":

And again with "As Time Goes By":

[via Wikipedia and more!]


Constantine MaroulisOther than his weekly appearances on American Idol Extra, Constantine continues touring and singing at intimate venues. And that much talked about sitcom based loosely on his life shortly after his ouster from Idol never materialized. He officially broke ranks with his former band, Pray for the Soul of Betty, in 2006 after the group rose to national prominence due to his involvement with Idol. Since then, Maroulis has been performing solo and under his own name.

In August 2007, Constantine, his self-titled debut album dropped. In February 2008 he hit the road in support of the album. The following month he joined the team at AI Extra as a co-host. Constantine has had some other minor successes on the small screen as well. He enjoyed a thirteen-week contracted appearance on The Bold and the Beautiful last year, He's also done some stage work as well, including a stint in the Broadway production of The Wedding Singer. I guess it's safe to say that the guy who made smoldering gazes into the camera an Idol art-form hasn't had difficulty keeping busy. And while he may not have had the break-out success yet that he's been hoping for, at least he's working in the industry he loves.

Just back in February 2008, Constantine took on "Hallelujah." See how you think it compares to Jason Castro's:

In 2007, here's Constantine performing "Cryin'":

In one of his more ambitious Idol outings, Maroulis handled Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" pretty well:

Constantine was surprisingly on with his rendition of "My Funny Valentine":

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


Kellie PicklerOnce again, the most successful finisher appears to be the one who made her niche in country music. Kellie Pickler, with her innocent naivete, became one of the all-time American Idol fan favorites, and parlayed that endearment into a national persona. Certainly she's established a foundation of personality and public recognition that can push her toward the type of career and recognition that her personal idol Dolly Parton enjoys.

Despite her sixth place finish, Idol's 19 Entertainment knew star quality when they saw it and signed her to a contract. And Pickler has rewarded their support by winning CMT Awards in all three categories for which she was nominated earlier this month. Her debut album, Small Town Girl, sold nearly 80,000 copies in its first week and has since gone gold. She's been nominated for countless awards and won several, including the three mentioned above.

Despite what many see as a lack of intelligence, as famously displayed on her Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? appearance wherein she thought Europe was a country, Kellie has proven herself an adept business woman and a talented songwriter. She's actively involved in charity and after a stint opening for Brad Paisley on a nationwide tour, Pickler even went overseas with the USO to entertain US troops in Iraq. Currently in the studios working on her second album, it doesn't look like a sixth place finish has slowed this blonde beauty down at all.

One of Kellie's CMA Awards came for "Performance of the Year" for this performance of her hit "I Wonder" at the 2007 CMA Awards:

Here's that infamous Fifth Grader appearance:

Here she is back on the Idol stage last year with "Red High Heels":

Back in her Idol days here's Ms. Pickler with "Fancy":

[via, MySpace, Wikipedia and more!]


Phil StaceyI hate to say it, but Phil was always one of those contestants who sounded better than he looked. With the sunken eyes and bald head, he always looked kind of like he was suffering from some severe illness. But if you could get past that, he had some pretty amazing vocals throughout his run on American Idol. Just in time for this article, Phil Stacey's self-titled debut album drops Tuesday, April 29, 2008 (how about that?!). It's flattering to think that he scheduled his release around my article (yeah, right!). You can check out Phil Stacey's MySpace page to hear some samples from the album before you head to the store.

His debut single "If You Didn't Love Me" is enjoying prominent airplay both in radio and with the video on television. Suffice to say, in the short year since Phil Stacey's time on Idol came to an end, he's managed to position himself very well. It doesn't hurt, apparently, that he's settled into the world of country music with this debut album. It's a genre that he says he's always felt most comfortable with. Time will tell if the warm initial reception to the single and album will translate into long-term success for Phil. Perhaps by next year, we'll be writing about all the awards Phil won at the CMT Awards.

Here's Phil's video for "If You Didn't Love Me":

Here Phil sings "I Could Not Ask for More" to his wife:

Channeling a rock/country cross Phil took on Jon Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory":

And again in his country music comfort zone with "Where the Black Top Ends":

[via MySpace, Wikipedia,


Carly SmithsonThere's no reason to think that you don't have a shot at a real career by placing sixth on American Idol. If nothing else, Kellie Pickler is proof of that. And with the stigma of the show all but gone in the recording industry, and let's face it with the state of the industry as it is now they'd be fools to still try and discriminate against Idol alumni, Carly is in a pretty solid position. She's already familiar with the ins and outs of making an album, if not promoting it effectively.

Someone once thought she had the makings of a star and thousands of Americans have already proven they agree by keeping her in the running this long. And honestly, at this point with the remaining finalists, it's not necessarily a statement of her talent or lack thereof that she was cut. In fact, in most seasons the sixth place cuts were a little odd leaving weaker contestants alive. Maybe we suffer Idol fatigue about this time. Nevertheless, Carly's 24 years old, still beautiful and still possessing of that amazing voice. The industry would have to be foolish to pass her by ... again!

We take a look at the fifth place finishers, including RJ Helton, Trenyce, George Huff, Scott Savol, Paris Bennett and Chris Richardson. See you there!

7th Place Finishers
8th Place Finishers
9th Place Finishers
10th Place Finishers
11th Place Finishers
12th Place Finishers

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Judy Yescalis

Thanks so much for the links to Constantine's music. I saw him perform in a lead comedic role on Broadway in a huge glitzy Tony nominated show and then at the Zipper theater in the hugely acclaimed Jacques Brel - and was astounded at the range of not only his voice but his acting talents, so I jumped at the chance to see him perform on his current acoustic tour.
I was in the audience for the performance of Hallelujah at the World Cafe Live in Philly that you have linked here and can truthfully say that he is one of the best entertainers I've seen in my lifetime.
He will be performing again- this time on the west coast- on May 6th at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood and I encourage anyone who is/was a Constantine fan and has not seen him on stage live to get to one of his current acoustic shows. He is simply outstanding.

April 30 2008 at 1:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nicely done, fair and respectful article. I think it's important to note that until Season 5, 19 and RCA weren't offering record deals to anybody but the winner and 1st runner up. And, even then, some were forced to put out albums that didn't play to their strengths (witness poor Bo Bice, Season 4) and ultimately failed. Idol doesn't know how to package and market singers who don't easily fall into a popular genre like country or pop. It doesn't pay to come into the competition a good, versatile singer without sticking to an easily identified market niche. Idol won't know what to do with you after. Which speaks to the young David Archuletta this year. He's easily the best singer on the show. But, who is he musically and can Idol appropriately "package" him and market him to an audience who will buy after he leaves the show? Unless it's country or he's made into the male equivalent of Miley Cirrus, I don't see him becoming one of their top sellers. Idol is not a developer of young talent. They want to see their post-show market while he/she is on the show so they can capitalize on it immediately afterward.
Also, even for the best selling Idols like Carrie Underwood, the huge tv audience for Idol doesn't translate into high percentages of music buyers. Just because people like to watch the competition on tv
and even vote for you, doesn't mean they will remember you and buy what you put out after. The Idol audience isn't the primary music buying consumer.

April 30 2008 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Simon Says

Even though she finished 6th place in voting, I've never thought of Kellie Pickler as a 6th place finisher. She finished 6th on the same season Chris Daughtry finished 4th, and Simon Cowell picked and predicted both for top 3 or to win. Season 5 was the most competitive on the stage and in voting. I've always seen Kellie and Chris as winners. Looks like their great albums, concerts, sales, awards wins and nominations agree.

April 29 2008 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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