AI Aftermath: 2nd place finishers - VIDEOS

by Jason Hughes, posted May 20th 2008 6:01PM
American Idol 2nd Place Finishers
Welcome back to "AI Aftermath," where we explore Idol's past. Each installment, as one more American Idol hopeful is eliminated from the competition, we take a look back at contestants past who were eliminated at the same point. We'll examine how they did on the show and what they've been up to since their eliminations. In honor of David Archuleta's elimination in the finale, we'll be looking at other second place finishers.

This week: 2nd place finishers, featuring featuring Justin Guarini (Season One), Clay Aiken (Season Two), Diana DeGarmo (Season Three), Bo Bice (Season Four), Katharine McPhee (Season Five) and Blake Lewis (Season Six).


Justin GuariniPoor Justin Guarini. He spent most of the first season as the de facto winner in everyone's minds, much like David Archuleta this season. And in the end, he was still predicted to be every bit as successful, if not moreso, than winner Kelly Clarkson. So was it really the horrible cheesefest that was their disastrous summer musical From Justin to Kelly that derailed his career? Kelly seemed to be able to overcome that, but granted her career was already underway. Was it his supposed air of cockiness? It's hard to say why musical success has and continues to elude Guarini as he has a simply beautiful voice.

In some cases contract restrictions kept him out of the public eye until after the winner's solo project could be released. Perhaps this delayed public reception proved insurmountable. When he finally was able to come out with his self-titled debut album under RCA/19, it was during the heat of From Justin to Kelly and the fervor of the wrap of American Idol's second season, and it's incredibly popular top two finalists. It all proved too much and Guarini was dropped by RCA, severing ties himself with 19 Management as soon as he was able.

A second album of jazz standards dropped from Guarini's own independent label in December 2005 and was well received critically. Ironically, throughout his career there has never been any dispute as to his tremendous talent or marketability. He's done independent film work, and various hosting gigs on television which eventually led to him signing as co-host for TV Guide Channel's Idol Wrap and Idol Tonight. This work has led to other hosting jobs at the channel and elsewhere, and his ties to Idol brought him back to the studio for an audience appearance this year. His latest effort, Revolve, appears to be a digital release on his MySpace page that just hit this month, so that's something new to check out.

Check out some of his jazz vibe on "Did You Know That I Know Your Journey" for a different Guarini sound:

Singing "Eventually" on Idol Extra:

Remember when he sang "Get Here" back on Idol?:

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


Clay AikenThe most successful Idol runner-up ever, and one of the most successful former contestants, Clay Aiken went from geeky but brilliant vocalist to certified superstar. To date, Aiken has penned a bestselling book (Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life), executive produced and starred in a hit television Christmas special and four albums.

His latest effort, the first of original material since his debut album in 2003, debuted this past May 6th. He's also made inroads on Broadway, where he's made a name for himself as Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot, where he first started to sport the blond 'do we see up there. That run wrapped May 4th, two days before his new album came out, leaving him free to do the full promotional tour for On My Way Here. Aiken has toured constantly since his second-place finish, at one time sharing co-headline status on a tour with first season winner Kelly Clarkson. It appears he only stopped touring at the end of 2007 for that Sir Robin gig on Broadway, so he's still performing live constantly.

Aiken has even started a foundation for autistic kids, the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, and has been active in UNICEF. Honestly, it just seems that in every way this talented individual is just an all-around amazing guy. Even if his particular style of music isn't your cup of tea, his "Claymates" are almost as devoted a fan-base as The Grateful Dead's "Deadheads." And not too many artists can stake that claim.

Here he is on QVC singing from and promoting the new album a few weeks ago:

His official video for the single "Invisible":

Here's his slightly overproduced performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on Idol. He was still amazing:

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


Diana DeGarmoAfter a few detours into pop, with her debut Idol album Blue Skies, and pop/R&B which she ultimately backed out of, DeGarmo has relocated to Nashville, Tennessee to work on a country album, the genre she feels her roots are truly in. This after a successful run on Broadway in the musicals Hairspray and Brooklyn: The Musical. Keeping her public profile alive, she was recently spotted on television in commercials for Zaxby's restaurant chain.

While her first single, "Dreams," did make it to number one on the charts, continued chart success eluded DeGarmo and Blue Skies topped out at around 164,000 units sold. Country music has been very good to Idol alumni, so if she sounds genuine in the style and with her powerful voice this could be just the thing to get her recording career back on track. On a side note, while DeGarmo was by no means fat on Idol, just look at how much weight she's dropped since then.

Sorry for the low audio, but it's still a chance to see what DeGarmo's been up to, performing "Once Upon a Time" from Brooklyn: The Musical:

From that debut album, here's a "sort of" video for "Dreams":

Having some fun back on Idol with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough":

[via Wikipedia, MySpace and more!]


Bo BiceBo, too, found his way to Nashville but for him it was more a chance to make a true southern rock album rather than straight up country. Again, like DeGarmo and many Idol top two finishers, Bice's debut album wasn't necessarily of a style that he was particularly comfortable with, and as such he wasn't particularly satisfied with it. And despite a modest Adult Contemporary hit with "The Real Thing" he immediately began to look for a way that he could put out an album that he would be proud to call his own.

After he parted ways with RCA, he took the opportunity to start his own label under which he released See the Light in late 2007. The first single from that effort, "Witness" spent the end of 2007 at the top of VH1's Top 20 Countdown proving that interest in Bice remains strong. He spent the early part of this year performing in Kuwait and Afghanistan for American troops, where he will return this fall. In the meantime, he appeared on American Idol a few weeks ago where he announced that he and his wife are expecting their second child.

Here's that latest single, "Witness" and it's video:

Performing "The Real Thing" live with his band SugarMoney:

His amazing a capella performance of "In A Dream" on Idol secured him a top two finish at the least:

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


Katharine McPheeThis Friday, McPhee will be appearing in a star-studded one-night only show in Mandalay Bay called "David Foster & Friends." She'll be performing with Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Peter Cetera and Andrea Bocelli in the show. I wonder if this is an indication of the direction she sees herself going musically.

After her Idol run was through, her debut double-single, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny" stayed on the Hot Singles Sales chart for over a year. When her album finally came out in early 2007, it immediately sold over 100,000 copies but peaked at around 370,000 failing to go gold. Despite this her first single "Over It" did very well on the charts, and her classic beauty kept her on magazine covers and topping internet search engines for quite awhile.

Her latest effort is a duet with Elliott Yamin on Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1. The audio of that track can be heard in my "AI Aftermath: 3rd place finishers" post under Yamin's entry. She's parted ways with RCA Records, dropped a new single to airplay with "Real Love" due to its popularity on iTunes, gotten married to long-time lover Nick Cokas and signed a two-year deal with Neautrogena. She's working on her sophomore album and seeks to have it out by the end of this year, featuring power ballad type songs like Celine and Whitney sing.

Katharine teaches us how to make a cheesy video with "Love Story," her latest single::

Her video for "Over It":

Her infamous performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from Idol:

You could see what kind of a performer McPhee might become when she performed "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" toward the end of Idol:

[via Wikipedia, MySpace,


Blake LewisBlake Lewis brought beatboxing to the Idol stage, though apparently fellow finalist Chris Richardson is adept at the skill as well. One of the most innovative contestants ever on the show, his remix of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" remains one of my all-time highlights from the show and at 119,000 copies sold via iTunes, it clearly resonated with fans at home as well as it claimed the title of highest selling single of the entire season by any contestant.

His debut album A.D.D. (Audio Day Dream) was released at the end of 2007 to solid reviews and has led to two singles thus far. He performed the second, "How Many Words" on American Idol this season as part of his promotional tour in support of the album. He hopes to begin touring this September.

Performing his new single "How Many Words" on Idol Extra:

It's just Blake beatboxing:

Here's that rendition of "You Give Love a Bad Name":

And in a more traditional performance on "This Love":

[via Wikipedia, MySpace, and more!]


David ArchuletaWith such a polished and impressive voice at only seventeen years old, the sky is the limit for little Archuleta. He showed something impressive in the finale when he performed with One Replubic on "Apologize." Unlike his disastrous Chris Brown performance a couple of weeks ago, he jammed on a current hit tune and sounded great doing so. Give this kid some time to polish his stage presence, which has improved during the season, and with his rabid fans and "cute" factor, he should be just fine.

We take a look at the past American Idol winners, including Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks and Jordin Sparks. See you there!

3rd Place Finishers
4th Place Finishers
5th Place Finishers
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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I've really enjoyed these trips down memory lane. Even though I didn't start watching until season 5 I was familiar with a lot of these names just from watching TV and such. It's always nice to revisit and see how people are doing. Thanks for all your hard word on this!

PS--wasn't Bo Bice pretty sick there for awhile? That might be something worth mentioning.

May 21 2008 at 8:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am no Degarmo fan but my God, could you have selected a less flattering picture? Ugh.

May 20 2008 at 7:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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