Season 8 – where are they now?

Season 8 was Idol’s deepest season, and produced Adam Lambert, who might ultimately wind up as Idol’s biggest star. It produced a Miss America contender, a stand-up comedian with a national commercial, several 10 millon-plus You Tube stars, a raft of number one hits, and something called a “Roenin.”

So who are these people, and where are they now? Read on.

Kris Allen
Kris Allen

Kris Allen I make fun of Kris’s post-Idol career compared to Adam’s sometimes, but Kris is actually doing just fine. His 5th studio album came out in March and he is touring all over the country to support it, playing shows nearly every day.

His first post-Idol album sold 346,000 copies, his second album 35,000 copies, and his third album 4,000 copies. I could make a joke about the expectations for his fifth album (4 copies), but album sales in general have dropped some 90 percent since his first album, and Kris has a solid, loyal fan base. He should be able to keep his album sales in the thousands, as long as they still sell albums, anyway. A good 98 percent of the former Idols would kill for his sales figures.

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Adam Lambert

th (7)Adam Lambert  Back when he was on Idol, I predicted that Adam would be a huge, arena-filling star in five years. He’s not quite as big a star as I expected (I was thinking Lady Gaga level stardom), but he has certainly out kicked his coverage. Here are some Adam highlights, in bullet format:

  • His first album reached #3 on the Billboard U.S. album charts, and sold 863,000 copies.
  • His second album reached #1 on the album charts, though the sales dropped to 197,000 copies.
  • His third album reached #3, and sold about 60,000 copies.
  • A live DVD, released in 2011, reached #1 on the U.S. video charts.
  • He has charted 7 singles, including “Ghost Town” in 2015.
  • None of Adam’s top 10 videos by view count came from his Idol appearances. Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are the only other former Idols who can make this claim.
  • His first tour covered the U.S., Canada, Australia, Asia, and Europe – over 100 dates – and sold over 99 percent of its available tickets.
  •  Each of the six stadium shows on his 2012 tour with Queen sold out.
  • His second tour with Queen, a worldwide tour in 2014-2015, generated 68 million dollars in ticket sales and sold 96 percent of the available tickets.
  • His 2016 solo tour – in progress as of May, 2016 – has sold over 99 percent of the available tickets thus far.
  • He has 4,974,741 Facebook followers, 2,580,000 Twitter followers, and 882,000 Instagram followers.
  • His most recent chart single, “Ghost Town,” has received, as I type, 68,990,748 You Tube hits. It got another 8,000 hits while I was writing these bullet points.

When Adam performed with Queen at the season 8 finale, I facetiously speculated that he could just say “screw it,” and take over for Freddie. And then he did it.

He seemed a little bit tight during their first series of shows, in 2012. It must have been hard for the flamboyant Adam to follow a legend like Freddy Mercury, who was as loose and flamboyant as they come, without looking like an imitator. Adam chose restraint, dressing conservatively, deferring to the original members of Queen, and singing the melodies without embellishment.

By the second tour Adam had a pair of successful solo tours under his belt, though, so by the time this video was shot Adam was relaxed and loose, his old flamboyant self, strutting around and working the audience like the veteran stage performer he is. Sixteen years in musical theater, people. Don’t let anyone tell you experience doesn’t matter; nobody gets good at anything without doing it a lot.

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Adam Lambert, on the set of “Glee”

Adam is 33 now, a little older than most of the other Idols who are running around the world, making music, but in many ways he is just getting started. He is on just his 3rd solo tour, and he has’t even gotten to his first “Greatest Hits” album. He has sold out just about every concert he has ever performed, even though his first two solo tours came before he had three albums of solo material to draw on. The sky is still the limit, and this guy is still rising.

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Danny Gokey

Danny Gokey Danny always delivered. From sappy ballads about Jesus to snappy funk grooves about months of the year, Danny always delivered. Even when he tried to sing “Dream On,” and he screamed like somebody stepped on his genitals, he delivered. An apology. For sounding like somebody stepped on his genitals.

11219667_10153723968353402_6854218107540858240_nDanny is still delivering, with nearly a half a million Facebook followers and 150,000 Twitter followers. His videos don’t reach tens of millions, but they reach hundreds of thousands. His most recent video, shown below, came out a month ago and is already approaching 200,000 views.

Allison Iraheta
Allison Iraheta

Allison Iraheta I talk about her all the time, so I’ll keep it brief. Allie is now the lead singer of Halo Circus. She has, respectively, a little over and a little under a hundred thousand Facebook and Twitter followers. It’s been six years since Allie sang herself off Idol with “Cry Baby” – and she is still barely old enough to get in a bar.

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Halo Circus

Every time I mention Allison Iraheta, I am spiritually obligated to share this video. And point out the look on the drummer’s face. Musical rapture.

Matt Giraud
Matt Giraud

12670850_10153597679473462_1752793172393376862_nMatt Giraud Matt had a #1 jazz hit on iTunes in 2011, collaborating with X-Factor cont12670038_10153597690193462_3737083611207677154_nestant Anna Wilson on Eddie Arnold’s classic, “You Don’t Know Me.” He has a couple of records out, but nothing of note since 2013. Based on appearances, he is content to gig occasionally, do studio work as a pianist, write and record, and spend time with his wife and young children.

Lil Rounds
Lil Rounds

CHLF6rFUwAAqLzCLil Rounds Lil just did a show in Memphis, opening for Lalah Hathaway in March, but before that she had been under the radar outside of Memphis since Idol. She seems to be active in the local music scene, though, and the show with Lalah Hathaway is a good sign. We may get an album from Lil yet.

Anoop Desai
Anoop Desai

th (12)Anoop Desai Anoop was active, pumping out EPs like an assembly line until 2013, when he just disappeared. I can still find some of his music on You Tube with recent publishing dates, but the links are to people with no connection to Anoop. It’s if they found one of his old records in a dumpster and they are trying to sell it on EBay.

This is the most recent video I can find that shows Anoop in person. According to the comments under the video, Anoop became disillusioned, quit the business, and deleted everything. He isn’t on any social media as far as I can determine.

Wherever you go, ‘Noopdog, be well and happy. Thanks for the music.

Scotty Mac with his wife
Scotty and Mrs. Mac

Scott McIntyre Scotty’s post-Idol life reflects his supreme commitment to his faith, his music, and his causes. He co-hosts a podcast called “Two Blind Men” with Mark Dowdy, and he travels all over the place, performing in concert halls, churches, committee meetings – anywhere he can plug in his keyboard.

ChVPjPmW0AAXCUcNow 30, Scotty is a spokesman for so many charities and causes that it would take me hours to chase them all down, let alone get them listed and ensure that my list is comprehensive. Now married with a small child, Scotty underwent his second kidney transplant last year.

Megan Joy
Megan Joy

Megan Joy She talked about her issues with alcohol while she was on Idol in an interview a couple of years ago, while she was undergoing treatment. She talked about blacking out on the night of the finale and having long conversations with a number of celebrities, including Simon Cowell. She attributes her post-Idol struggles to her behavior while under the influence of alcohol; she believes she rubbed too many people in the business the wrong way.

1796998_10153850445665131_1621101513_oNow sober and remarried – to former The Used guitar player Quinn Allman – Megan is still working on her music career. She has had some mixed success; her solo career never got off the ground, but she’s been part of a couple of popular collaborations. She is the female lead voice on this Itch track, with an actress standing in for her in the video and lip syncing . The song didn’t chart in the U.S., but it reached #12 in Australia.

Megan has been active and persistent ever since she appeared on Idol, so I am sure she is out there somewhere, but her website traffic has dried up. She seems to have abandoned the name Megan Joy on social media; her last Facebook post was in early 2014, and her last tweet was nearly a year ago. I’m sure she’ll be back in the spotlight again soon; Megan has always been a moth to the show business flame.

Michael Sarver
Michael Sarver

th (14)Michael Sarver His first album, released in the summer of 2010, reached #58 on the country album chart, but none of his three released singles charted. Mike left his label shortly after the album was released, and he has turned his music career into a small business, selling his own music on a well-maintained website. He self-published a Christmas album in 2010, and his second full album of original material in 2014. This seems to be his most popular single.

The Memphis cast of “American Idiot”
Alexis Grace

Alexis Grace She works as a daytime disk jockey in Memphis, to pay the bills and keep her kids fed, but she hasn’t given up the ghost on her performing career. She starred in a regional run of Green Day’s “American Idiot” back in January and February, 2016, and – with Myla Smith – released the EP, “Give” in October, 2015.

Jasmine Murray
Jasmine Murray

th (16)Jasmine Murray I joked a lot about the so-called pageant queens who auditioned for Idol, but Jasmine really was a pageant queen, both before and after her run on the show in 2009, when she was 16 years old. She was Miss Teen Mississippi in 2006, and finished 10th in the Miss Teen USA pageant in 2007. She was crowned Miss Mississippi in 2014, and she finished in the top 10 of the 2015 Miss America pageant.

She characterizes herself as a Christian music artist on her Twitter page, and she can back it up. Her song, “Rest of my Life,” is on the soundtrack of the feature film God’s Not Dead 2.

Jackie Tohn
Jackie Tohn

Jackie Tohn Jackie was one of my favorites going into the semifinals of season 8. I think she was the original “killer scratch” singer, but I got the killer scratch idea from watching David Cook win, so she might have been the second. She was literally the first singer gone in the semifinals, going first on the first show and getting dumped, without even a chance to sing for a wildcard slot.

th (20)Jackie has a long history in comedy, on stage, and in movies. She is besties with Kristen Bell and her husband, Dax Sheppard, and she has guested on Bell’s Veronica Mars and House of Lies. She’s had some success of her own, doing commercials and writing for others, but so far she hasn’t quite had that big break. She is getting ready to play Gilda Radner in a Netflix movie about the birth of National Lampoon.

Here’s Jackie, in a commercial I think we all might have seen a time or two.

Tatiana Del Toro
Tatiana Del Toro

Tatiana Del Toro She sells underwear on Twitter. No, we are not surprised.

Jesse Langseth Dording
Jesse Langseth Dording

12141653_10156262918600104_8823735741262866701_nJesse Langseth Now Jesse Langseth Dording, Johnny Lang’s sister says that she is still singing and recording, but she is also waiting tables and taking care of a new baby. She toured with Johnny for a couple of years before she got married, and as far as I know she still does. I couldn’t find any video of Jesse since the show, but I did find this cool picture of Jesse shredding her Telecaster.

The Kalama Brothers
The Kalama Brothers
Kai Kalama and his manager

Kai Kalama He cut off the bun and got a little gray, but he looks terrific. He and his brother gig as the Kalama Brothers, playing all sorts of different music, with the common denominator being a sense of fun, and some gentle humor. They seem like they would be a blast to hang around with.

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Mishavonna Henson
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Mishavonna’s website cover photo

Mishavonna Henson She doesn’t seem to be doing much on a big scale; her Facebook page is actually a friends page, not a public page, and she isn’t on Twitter at all. Her website is defunct, and her last You Tube video is over a year old. This video, apparently from a bar somewhere in California, was posted 2 years ago.

Mish is still really young, and she can sing; we might yet hear from her again.

Von Smith
Von Smith

Von Smith I never know what I’m going to get when I google one of these kids’ names. When I typed “Von Smith” into my You Tube channel, the top couple of videos had over 100,000 hits. I thought, “Hey, what else has he been doing?” and I clicked on the “sort by view count” button.

The place exploded. Von’s top 5 by view count each have over a million views, with the top video getting 8,731,574 views.

th (26)Why didn’t I know about this? Von was one of my favorites in season 8, with his pure tenor voice and a little bit of style, but he didn’t make the finals because he was painted as a diva, and he was a little sloppy with the ole’ intonation here and there.

Von Smith isn’t really all that famous, in the larger scheme of things, but his band is. Von is one of the regulars for Post Modern Jukebox. If you read the season 11 “where are they now” page, you’ll see that name a couple of times. Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart work with them quite a bit. Here’s Von with PMJ:

Kristen McNamara
Kristen McNamara

th (27)Kristen McNamara Now billed as Roenin, Kristen has reinvented herself a couple of times since the show, including a short stint as KMAC before the name was stolen by KMac, who spends most of his time arguing with Chris Brown on Twitter. KMAC (the blonde bombshell, not the angry rapper) put out a couple of bizarrely artistic/sexy videos that attracted a lot of interest on the ‘Tube, one of them (the artsy one) reaching nearly 700,000 hits.

This is the other one. You’re welcome.


KMAC The Blonder has a new EP out under the name Roenin, called “Gypsy.” Here’s a video from the EP.

Felicia Barton
Felicia Barton

Felicia Barton Season eight, man… no season was as deep as season eight. Felicia has co-written songs with Demi Lovato and Leah Michele, and she sang this one herself:

th (30)Felicia, who is married with children, sang several songs on the 2015 season of “Dancing with the Stars.” There doesn’t seem to be any reason why she couldn’t put out an album and tour, working her way into some big places, but she might prefer to stay a little under the radar – and sleep in her own bed.

For now.

Kendall Beard
Kendall Beard

th (33)Kendall Beard Her duo, Love and Chaos, has made several videos of almost comically amateurish but still pleasing quality while they work some pretty decent rooms around the Austin, Texas area. Their career is on hold at the moment; Kendall gave birth to her first child at the beginning of May, 2016.


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