From Justin to La’Porsha: American Idol’s Runner-up Rundown

While everyone wants to know what the winners are doing these days, I’m more concerned with happened to the second place finishers or as I like to call them: the Idols that could have been. Here is the rundown on every second place contestant from the famous Justin Guarini to the farewell season’s La’Porsha Renae. If you want to skip ahead, check out my Where Are They Now for Seasons 8-15.

Season One: Justin Guarini

We all remember Justin as the boy heartthrob that should have beat Kelly in season one (I was a bit biased being a girl and all). But what has he been up to since that fateful day where Kelly stole his dream away? Well, according to the Justin Guarini Official Site, he’s been quite busy. His new song Over Do It is getting tons of hits and is heavily involved in the theater/musical circuits including the Broadway play In Transit as Trent.

Season Two: Clay Aiken

It was an intense battle between the lovable good guys. Teddy Bear Reuben vs. Clay the Nerd. I was in camp Reuben all the way, so when he won I was super happy. But life goes on and it looks like Clay has found himself with a pretty sizable portfolio of life achievements. Like Justin, he too has found himself on Broadway (in Spamalot). He even ran for congress in North Carolina, but fell just short to the Republican candidate. It is also notable that he is still very much involved in activism for a multitude of causes including Ronald McDonald, Make a Wish, and the National Inclusion Project.

Season Three: Diana DeGarmo

Another girl from the south, Diana DeGarmo was always the underdog as far as I was concerned. Season Three is now best known as the season that produced now-superstar Jennifer Hudson (who finished in 7th place). After her American Idol appearance Diana DeGarmo has carved out a career similar to Clay and Justin. She’s been in two Broadway plays, released one album, and even went overseas in a USO tour. One thing she’s accomplished that the other runner ups thus far haven’t? She married another former Idol contestant: Ace Young, who finished 7th place in season 5.

Season Four: Bo Bice

Oh Bo. The first American Idol “rockstar”, Bo took season four by storm with his charming bad boy persona. Maybe I just have a thing for guys with long hair, but Bo was up there for my man crushes. His rendition of Free Bird left me crying the first time I saw it. But what of him now? For starters it looks like his chopped the hair in favor of a clean look (not a good move in my opinion). Other than that he’s released three albums and married his hometown sweetheart. Looks like things are going okay for old Bo. Listen below to one of his most recent tracks…

Season Five: Katharine McPhee

This season took place in 2006, a year that had it’s ups and downs for me. I lost some family members I really loved this year, so Idol was a very very welcomed distraction. Grandpa Taylor squeaked out the win this year, but McPhee shouldn’t be complaining. No other runner up has had as successful of an acting career as McPhee. Currently she stars in the TV show Scorpion which airs on CBS and is in it’s third season.

Season Six: Blake Lewis

While I was never a big fan of Blake Lewis, he did breathe some fresh air as a new type of contestant. He brought an indie/alternative style that hadn’t been seen in any of the previous runner-ups. The beat-boxer extraordinaire couldn’t outmatch Ms. Jordin Sparks this season and so he now joins our glamorous list. He’s produced three albums since his days on Idol, one of which reached the US Indie top 20 list: Heartbreak on Vinyl.

Season Seven: David Archuleta

The boy wonder, David Archuleta stole a lot of hearts with his childlike features. Not mine. I was a Cookie fan all the way. His performance of Sweet Caroline was a memorable one however. Today Archuleta is embracing his Mormon roots through various means. His songs are featured heavily in the motion picture Meet the Mormons, which received critical acclaim from various people nationwide. He’s also been busy with charity and philanthropy, helping out in Haiti and other disasters. What a good boy.