I don't want to mention names, but thanks to certain people (ahem, me) we know what happened to the contestants from American Idol season one. Some of them became famous singers, others found success behind the music. American Idol season two, the sophomore year, produced even better results. Not only have Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, and Kimberly Locke – first, second, and third place winners respectively – enjoyed success on the airwaves, but many other contestants have also gone on to great fame in music, stage, and television.
Josh Gracin: Due to previous obligations, Josh Gracin returned to Marine life immediately after he was voted off American Idol. His military commitment prevented him from touring with the other American Idol contestants. This, however, did not hurt his chance for fame. With the help of Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, Gracin was signed to Lyric Street Records and released his first album in July of 2004. This was a certified Gold Record.
A few months later, Gracin was honorably discharged from the military; the government gave him permission to put down his ammunition and pick up a microphone for good. He sang on movie soundtracks and on a Jim Brickman album in 2005 and produced both a single and his third child in 2006. His newest album, All About Y'all, is set to be released in spring 2007. There is also speculation that Gracin may replace the lead singer of the band Lonestar, who is allegedly leaving sometime this year.
Frenchie Davis: Despite being one of the better known idols from season two, Frenchie Davis was disqualified before the finals after photos of her posing topless surfaced on the Internet. Regardless of this, Davis was able to stick a proverbial tongue out at Idol producers by finding her own fame. After getting the boot on American Idol, Davis found her feet, first on the red carpet and then on the stage.
In 2003, she served as both the Grammy correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and a cast member of the musical Rent where she sang solo and with an ensemble in various acts. Davis then went on to find fame in the stage production of Dreamgirls. Though she has since returned to her role in Rent, it is rumored she will leave in May, 2007.
Kimberly Caldwell: After America rewarded her with seventh place, Kimberly Caldwell went on to pose for Maxim, and served as a Fox news correspondent for 54321, a short-lived extreme sports show. Becoming well versed in the correspondent’s role, she also procured a job as an American Idol reporter for Fox News Live, Ryan on Air, Showbiz Tonight, and the TV Guide Channel. Rumors are circulating that Caldwell has her hopes set on becoming an anchorwoman for the Fox network.
Though Caldwell's life as a correspondent has seemingly taken her away from making music, this is not necessarily the case. In 2004, she began recording her debut album, one produced by Randy Jackson and containing songs written by Diane Warren. It has, however, yet to see the light of day.
Carmen Rasmussen: After making it back into American Idol’s good graces during the Wild Card round, Carmen Rasmussen was eventually eliminated with sixth place under her belt. The youngest Idol finalist of the season, Rasmussen went from singing to acting, procuring a role in Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-day Comedy. But, she didn’t cut her chords, vocal or otherwise, and released an EP entitled Carmen in 2004.
The year 2005 saw her marry the son of Utah’s lieutenant governor, while 2006 saw her make three appearances on NBC’s Fear Factor; she finished in second place. Rasmussen then went back to her musical roots and signed with Lofton Creek Records in February, 2007. Her first album is scheduled to be released in spring of 2007.
Vanessa Olivarez: Amid controversy, Vanessa Olivarez became the first finalist eliminated from season two. Some speculate that her elimination came as a result of her making a rude comment, one that was scripted by network writers. Nonetheless, once eliminated, Olivarez did away with American Idol, and for a time, America — she moved to Canada.
While in Canada, Olivarez continued to pursue music and released a single that reached number 9 on the Canadian charts. She was also cast as lead in Hairspray, a Toronto production in which she received rave reviews. After returning to the United States, Olivarez reunited with the host of American Idol by appearing on On Air With Ryan Seacrest. She also joined two musical groups, Butterfly Stitch and South 70.
Like the contestants from the first season, many of those from American Idol season two were able to use their exposure and experience as a way to get their foot into the music and entertainment industries. This is a trend not likely to stop anytime soon; once people discover talent, they tend to find a place to put it.