American Idol kicks off their 14th season this week! It’s not all about the winners. Chris Daughtry, Kelly Pickler, and Jennifer Hudson lead the pack of American Idol contestants who didn’t win the competition but went on to huge success on their own. In the fifth season of A.I., a curly haired, diminutive, blue-eyed soul singer named Elliott Yamin reached the top 3 with Taylor Hicks and Katherine McPhee. When the final votes were counted it was almost a dead even race between the three artists, Idol proclaimed it was their closest vote to date, but Elliott was eliminated. Yamin’s rendition that season of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You” was voted as the 16th greatest performance ever on Idol by Entertainment Weekly magazine. Whatever happened to Elliott Yamin after the show?
“A SONG FOR YOU” Elliott Yamin
Elliott is the rare combination of Iraqi and Jewish parents, born 90% deaf in one ear and a Type I diabetic, early on the cards were stacked against Elliott but he persevered and made his love of a music a reality. After his exposure on Idol, Yamin released a highly underrated pop debut album. His lead single “Wait For You” went Top 10. He toured the world even opening for his personal idol, Whitney Houston, on one date. His 2nd album “Fight For Love” never caught the imagination of the public like his first post-Idol work. Despite the addition of producers as acclaimed as Jermaine Dupri, the new material was less memorable and more radio friendly. The Japanese audience loved Elliott but by the end of the album’s promotion, Elliott was dropped from his U.S. record label.
“WAIT FOR YOU” Elliott Yamin
It’s now been five years since Elliott’s last American released CD. He did put out a third studio album called “Gather ‘Round” but it was released in Japan. He has since turned his attention to promoting causes close to his heart. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the Life For A Child Program (provides insulin to children in poor countries), and The Diabetes Hand Foundation are just three of the charities that Elliott Yamin has played a key role in helping over the years. With a heart as big as Elliott’s, a compassion for others, and that beautiful blue-eyed soul voice, let’s hope Yamin makes a comeback in 2015. He deserves it!
“HOTEL CALIFORNIA” For the Urban Surf 4 Kids charity