Post Tagged with: "Justin Guarani"

First ‘Idol’ Runner-up Justin Guarini on Life After Fame: Skips Meals to Feed Kids

From one of the times The Ashley met Justin. I cut myself out. Didn't want to scare the kiddies.

From one of the times The Ashley met Justin. I cut myself out. Didn’t want to scare the kiddies.

In the early 2000s, Justin Guarini seemed to have it all. After finishing second on the very first season of American Idol (behind Kelly Clarkson), Justin was picked up by RCA Records and immediately released the so-horrible-it’s-fantastic movie “From Justin To Kelly.” (No joke, this is legit one of The Ashley‘s favorite movies. Don’t judge me. The awfulness makes me feel all tingly every time I watch it.) He then went on to host various ‘Idol’ related shows like Idols Live and Idol Tonight, and judged the show American Juniors.

In the touching blog post on his website (which is currently down), Justin admitted that he’s struggling to meet ends meet.

“I have spent days skipping meals in order to make sure I have enough,” he wrote. “To make sure my children, and my wife have enough.”

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What Ever Happened to Those American Idol “Number Twos?”

With the original Number Two, Justin. We're aren't making the peace sign, we're making the "Number Two" sign!

Do you remember the guy who was standing next to Carrie Underwood the night she won American Idol and her career essentially took off like a bat-out-of-hell? Probably not. How about the 17-year-old who tried, in vain, to stop the barreling train that was Fantasia Barrino on the Season 3 finale night? No? Yeah, not surprising. These two people (Bo Bice and Diana DiGarmo, by the way) never came close to having the careers that the Idol that beat them out have. 

However, a few runner-ups have been able to crawl out of the pit of potential obscurity, and some have even surpassed the actual winner in popularity! 

With Crystal Bowersox joining the list of American Idol number-twos, it causes us to wonder, whatever happened to those nine almost-winners? Some, like Musical God Adam Lambert, have gone on to have successful album sales and go on national tours, while others, such as poor beat-boxer Blake Lewis, are playing the chili cook-off/church carnival circuit. 

What will be Crystal’s fate? In The Ashley’s opinion, losing ‘American Idol’ may have been the best thing that could have happened to her. We’ve all seen the crappy way that last year’s winner, Kris Allen, was promoted by the American Idol execs. (Um…he wasn’t.) However, “loser” Adam Lambert had the freedom to write his on ticket, his own way and do what he wanted and has become successful. He didn’t have the “Idol” chains that the winner had. 

Crystal is eccentric like Adam and surely wouldn’t fit into the cookie-cutter ways of the American Idol. (Although I’m still praying for a “From Justin, to Kelly” revival movie starring Lee and Crystal!) If she follows Adam’s path, she could be very successful. 

ABC News recently did a pretty cool “Where are they Now” article on the Idol runners-up, causing The Ashley to look a little deeper into what happened to these people. Here’s The Ashley’s look at who’s making money and who’s making hamburgers at McDonald’s! 

 American IdolThe Original “Number 2,” Justin Guarini: 

Justin was quick to jump on Kelly Clarkson’s coattails after she won the first American Idol title. Together, they brought us “From Justin to Kelly” and for months after that, whenever Kelly appeared on a TV show, Justin was being dragged behind her. Eventually, Kelly became a star and Justin, well…didn’t. He did pull himself out of the obscurity pit, however, by becoming an Idol news correspondent and appearing on the show Idol Tonight. While it’s not the fame and fortune Kelly Clarkson achieved, Justin was quick to see where his only meal ticket would come from, and he jumped on it. Musically, however, his CDs have been very disappointing, and he never lived up to Simon Cowell’s expectations of him. 

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Why America (Almost) Loves Crystal Bowersox…

american idol

"I ain't no Kelly Pickler, sorry."

Of all the contestants on this season of American Idol, Crystal Bowersox has surely garnered the most interest. For some reason, people want to  know everything about her, from who her baby-daddy is to why she is missing teeth.

What’s the fascintation? For years, American Idol has had cookie-cutter goodie-goodies perform on the show (Corey Clark and Jessica Sierra being the rotton apples). No scantily clad women. No songs with cussing. Nothing but good,wholesome family fun from good, wholesome kids like Justin Guarini (the original “number two”) and David Archuleta.

Then in Season 8, the Musical God that is Adam Lambert comes along in all his glam rock wonder and breaks apart the American Idol image. He smudges the barrier between male and female with his eyeliner and glitter, dangles his sexuality in America’s face and leaves the audience sitting there stunned after (most) of his performances. American Idol has changed…enter Crystal Bowersox.

A person like Crystal Bowersox would never have made it to the judge’s room during auditions in Season 2 or 3. The Idol producers would have taken one look at her dentally-impaired mouth and sent her back to singing at the subway station, while shoo-ing ahead less talented but more wholesome contestants. Not going to name names here though…(cough…cough…ahem…Carmen RasmusenJon Peter Lewis…cough cough.)

Season 1's Top 3: All-American Kids (until one goes to rehab, one pisses off her record label and one still has that unfortunate hair.)

Crystal, with her dreadlocks and seemingly rough exterior, wouldn’t have had a shot in the early seasons. The Idol idea of “controversial” was a contestant like Nikki McKibbin, who despite having a somewhat “edgy” look (if you count two-toned hair and a studded belt edgy), still sang crap-nugget songs like “I Will Survive.” Crystal wouldn’t have even been considered. (To be fair, Crystal probably would have thumbed her nose at the early Idol anyway…can you imagine her shakin’ it in short-shorts to “Turn the Beat Around” a la Haley Scarnato in Season 6? Um…no.)

"Let me show you how to do this, Crystal."


Crystal is a master at not revealing much about her past, home life or personal life (with the exception of the almost-creepy “Marry Me” proposal on Shania Twain night.) This makes her all the more intruging, and us nosy-ass Americans want to know more.

This is the reason I think she will win American Idol, dreadlocks, missing teeth and all!

Get it, girl!

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