AI Aftermath: 5th place finishers - VIDEOS

by Jason Hughes, posted May 6th 2008 11:02AM

American Idol - 5th 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 Brooke White's elimination last week we'll be looking at other fifth place finishers.

This week: 5th place finishers, featuring featuring RJ Helton (Season 1), Trenyce (Season 2), George Huff (Season 3), Scott Savol (Season 4), Paris Bennett (Season 5) and Chris Richardson (Season 6).


RJ HeltonJust as this season saw three Davids vying for contention. The first season had EJay, A.J. and RJ. And quite clearly, RJ made it the furthest of all of them. He easily had one of the stronger voices, and those boyish good looks didn't hurt. RJ wore his religion on his sleeve during his American Idol run, and followed up his time on the show by releasing a spiritual album, Real Life, in 2004.

In 2006, Helton famously came out on a Sirius radio channel, revealing what many had already suspected; a controversial and risky move for someone in the Christian-music industry to do. Helton has nevertheless stayed true to his Christianity and found enough love and support in the community to offset any negative outcries that he's had to deal with.

Since coming out, Helton has become involved in the GLBT community, appearing at the Pride even in St. Louis this past year. Interestingly, despite coming out, RJ's MySpace page seems to indicate that he's married to Jamie, a female singing hopeful who is listed as a MySpace friend to fellow "out" contestant Jim Verraros. So either that's for other reasons or he's more on the B side than the G side. Beyond that, I couldn't find any really specific details as to what Helton is up to these days, or what projects he's working on, but at least he's sill out there singing and doing what he loves.

Performing "Forgive" recently on a Christian-based show in Texas:

2006 unreleased track with fan-made slide show featuring bride Jamie:

On Idol with "Under the Boardwalk"

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


TrenyceI believe Trenyce was the first Idol contestant to drop her last name and go the single moniker route. And yet, comparatively speaking, how many more people would recognize the names Clay and Ruben over Trenyce? Nevertheless, Trenyce knows she's sexy; she's got a bikini shot as the official Trenyce MySpace page pic for goodness sake, and she certainly had better than average vocal skills while on the show.

She rode her success on the show to the talk show circuit, and then to local celebrity in her hometown of Memphis, TN. Since then she's done a lot of stage work, including the lead roll of Ms. Deena Jones in the Indianapolis production of Dreamgirls (inspired by Diana Ross and made famous by Beyonce most recently). She even stormed Vegas, putting on her own sold-out variety show briefly.

While the doors haven't been knocked down in the industry by Trenyce, she's still out there plugging away and trying to make a go of it. She's worked with industry legends from the world of television, film and music so you can't say that she's not rubbing the right elbows. Maybe it'll all click together for Trenyce and we'll see her accepting all those awards she mentioned longing for on her MySpace page.

Here she is on a track with R. Kelly. The video is just a static image, but you can hear the track:

On Idol with "Come See About Me":

Slowing it down on Idol with "Baby Grand."

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


George HuffOne of the happiest contestants to ever grace the Idol stage, what he lacked in stage presence and performance he made up for in sheer exuberance and appreciation for every gift that had even been handed to him. As such, it doesn't come as any real surprise that Huff also found himself drifting toward the world of Christian music.

Huff was the last man standing in the third season of American Idol, being outlasted by LaToya London, Jasmine Trias, Diana DeGarmo and eventual winner Fantasia Barrino. He seemed an unlikely candidate for top male vocalist that year but his smooth vocals and likability catapulted him and has carried him on to a decent level of success in Christian music, where he's sold nearly 20,000 copies of his 2005 debut release, Miracles. Huff continues performing and singing.

Here's his video for "Miracles":

Singing "See What God Can Do" live:

On Idol with "Take Me to the Pilot":

[via Wikipedia, MySpace and more!]


Scott SavolWhen Scott Savol first appeared on American Idol I was sure he was going to be one of the joke contestants who sings so much worse than they think they can. Here was this over-sized thug with the shaved head who just looked like such a bruiser, but what came out of his mouth was just so beautiful. Even today, he's this strange juxtaposition of tough-guy exterior with a pure soulful voice.

Since his time on Idol, Savol and his family have relocated to Nashville, TN which is apparently the default home for Idol alumni as countless of them seem to have settled there. He's currently promoting a new single, available now via iTunes: Scott Savol with L'il G from Silk on "Don't Rush".

Savol has recently been involved with Temptation, a new play by Garrett Davis that's currently touring around North Carolina. A deeply spiritual person, Savol suffered a rather severe crisis of faith in late March of this year, as he details in his MySpace journal. While he doesn't say what has happened, he does talk about how deeply it impacted him. And unfortunately, this is the latest entry of any kind I can find about Savol. Hopefully things are alright with him and his family and, as he says, he can find a way to get his life back on the track he's been building.

Here's Scott performing "Superstar" live:

And again live with "Dance With My Father":

On Idol with "Against All Odds":

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


Paris BennettBennett came to Idol with a celebrity pedigree (her mother was with Sounds of Blackness), a big old singing voice and an itty-bitty speaking voice. The diminutive powerhouse nevertheless wowed the judges by singing seemingly beyond her seventeen years week after week. "Princess P" was quickly picked up by a label and shortly thereafter dropped her debut album, Princess P, in 2007.

Despite modest sales on the album, Bennett has continued working and has been heavily involved with the folks at Disney, performing on their cruiselines with other Idol alumni as well as appearing on the Walt Disney World Christmas special and being a featured artist on Radio Disney.

She's currently in the studio working on a more classical jazz sound for her second album. Meanwhile, she's been appearing as a correspondent on American Idol Extra and will continue her Idol love by stopping by the Idol Camp this summer to help the kids learn about music and the industry it spawned.

Paris' official video for "Ordinary Love":

On Idol with "Fever":

On Idol with "The Show Must Go On":

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


Chris RichardsonI'm not going to lie to you; I feel we're too close of friends for that. I was never a huge of fan of Richardson. Despite very few good performances, I always found his vocals lacking and his head-bopping performance style annoying at best. That said, I did enjoy the below video of his debut single "All Alone," and am impressed with how involved he's been in helping his fellow Idol alumni get their careers going. As a pianist and singer/songwriter, Richardson may have benefited greatly from the expanded creative expression allowed on this season's Idol.

He has written songs for Blake Lewis, Phil Stacey and Jordin Sparks and collaborated with Chris Sligh as well. Reportedly, according to Sligh, both are currently working on major label debuts. And while "All Alone" was officially released as a single via iTunes, there is still no clear word on when an album might be forthcoming, or even if Richardson is signed.

Some of his most recent work has been with Melinda Doolittle, in a joint promotion with Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Ice Cream. You can watch them perform on the website though the promotion ended April 29, 2008. Still, it's fun to see them having a good time together and working.

Performing on Idol Extra his debut single, "All Alone":

On Idol with "Wanted Dead or Alive":

On Idol with "Geek in the Pink":

[via Wikipedia, MySpace and more!]


Brooke WhiteBrooke brought something special to the competition, even though Jason Castro brought something very similar. Both seem to be channeling the best of '60s and '70s singer/songwriters in their performances and presentation. Brooke's purity and joy of life came through in her every moment, and when she wasn't talking (you know those few rare precious moments) she's a beautiful girl; even if I do want to force-feed her a basket of fries to put some meat on them bones.

The fifth place finishers are an eclectic bunch, and while none of them appears to have achieved super-stardom, yet, perhaps Brooke's charm and style will be just the unique twist needed to push her over the top. I still think that with a mellow sound, a guitar and a piano she could be an amazing folksy singer. And if she can write in that genre as well as she sings in it, she could be the next Carly Simon, or Jewel (but please god no poetry) or whomever else you want to trot up there to compare her to.

We take a look at the fourth place finishers, including Tamyra Gray, Joshua Gracin, LaToya London, Anthony Federov, Chris Daughtry and LaKisha Jones. See you there!

6th Place Finishers
7th Place Finishers
8th Place Finishers
9th Place Finishers
10th Place Finishers
11th Place Finishers
12th Place Finishers

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Correction: Diana Ross may have been the inspiration for Deena Jones, but she never played Deena Jones. Ms. Ross is on record as not particularly liking the show. Sheryl Lee Ralph played Deena Jones on Broadway.

May 06 2008 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to khia213's comment

I knew what I meant and typed what may have happened in some alternate reality. I can always count on you guys to keep me on the straight and narrow. Corrected and thanks!

May 06 2008 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"We take a look at the fourth place finishers, including Tamyra Gray, Joshua Gracin, LaToya London, Anthony Federov, Chris Daughtry and LaKisha Jones... And hopefully David Cook!"

Not going to happen. Too bad for you.

May 06 2008 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Paris left the show too soon; Richardson, a month or two too late. I had forgotten about Savol; he wasn't bad.

FYI: You mentioned Chris Sligh. I just read this morning that his debut CD -- in the Christian contemporary genre -- drops today.

May 06 2008 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick cokely

We take a look at the fourth place finishers, including Tamyra Gray, Joshua Gracin, LaToya London, Anthony Federov, Chris Daughtry and LaKisha Jones... And hopefully David Cook!

May 06 2008 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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