The Original ‘American Idol’ Top 10: Where Are They Now?

After the premiere of the second American Idol (see more about that with Sting7’s recap on RealityNewsOnline), we have a half-hour look at the ten people who were a big part of the biggest phenomenon of 2002 – the top ten of American Idol, chosen by America. They brought of some incredible television moments, some good, some bad. Fox, never one to miss an opportunity to beat a dead horse, brought us up to date on the big 10.

Tamyra Gray, winner of RealityNewsOnline’s 2002 Award for Most Shocking Moment on Reality TV, seems to have rebounded very nicely from her startling defeat to Nikki McKibbin. She’s currently appearing on Boston Public, and she says she is working with Babyface on her first album! Of the ten, I would say she is the safest bet to achieve world fame. Of that moment, she waxes philosophic that “everything happens for a reason.”

A.J. Gil was voted one of the 25 Most Beautiful People in the Northwest (who else was there, Tonya Harding?). Even though he reeked of sour grapes when he was voted out, he says the experience has been wonderful and he thanks everyone involved. He is weighing offers from Jive, BMG, and RCA Records at the moment.

Ryan Starr says she is getting lots of acting offers for some reason. Modeling, too. (Of course she is, look at her!) She is focusing on writing songs, getting better at guitar, and working on her album. She is trying to create a new form of music, non-traditional songs. She says she has never been in love, so it wouldn’t make sense for her to pretend she knows what it feels like. She’s also looking at starting a fashion line. She is thankful that her family, who was not supportive of her singing career, got the chance to see her perform on AI. Let’s hope it wasn’t “You Really Got Me.”

Christina Christian, whose dismissal was the second most shocking thing from AI last year, is as beautiful as ever. She’s the inside reporter for TV Guide and another television outlet. She is working on her own recording deal, and trying to squeeze time for her burgeoning career, her family, fiancé (grrr!), and her dogs.

RJ Helton has been making lots of guest appearances, and is thankful for the experience. What does he think of Simon, really? No comment. No surprise.

There was the Old Navy commercials you have surely seen by now, that Tamyra, Nikki, Christina, RJ and Ryan did. Ryan says that was, for her, the most fun of the aftermath of AI. Tamyra says her friends saw it so many times they got sick of it (that’s usually the way it works with Old Navy commercials).

Nikki McKibbin’s karaoke business is booming since her national exposure. She still loves doing that, and she too is working on songs for an album. Nikki says she will take as long as it takes to make a good album, because there may be no tomorrow if she rushes it. Amen to that.

Justin Guarini is also making lots of appearances, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and, of course, working on From Justin to Kelly, the ill-advised American Idol movie. Justin is amazed that he put his goals on paper when he was broke and struggling and they are all coming true for him. “You may not win on American Idol, but you don’t lose!”

Kelly Clarkson we know plenty about. Fastest selling single in history. Beat the Beatles for biggest jump on the Billboard Charts, from 52 to 1. She has From Justin to Kelly to look forward to (or dread), and her own album this Spring (although they continue to be a bit vague with the details).

Curiously, Fox gave us nothing about Jim Verraros or EJay Day.

Sting7 can be reached at stingseven@yahoo.com.