Archuleta did not think he would be able to attend the finale because he had things scheduled in April and Idol’s finales are typically in May. “A few days before the finale was to air, I felt something tell me to look at my schedule. I realized that even though I had already said I was unavailable back in February, I saw that my schedule had changed,” Archuleta wrote on his blog. “I asked my manager if it’d be too late to still at least attend so that I could say goodbye to so many people that had influenced my life during my time both as a viewer and a participant in the show. I was happy when I got a response that despite it being just a few days before, I’d be able to go.”
Archuleta said returning to the Dolby Theatre was a full-circle moment for him. The Utah native attended the first Idol finale, between Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, when he was just 11 years old.
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As Archuleta stood backstage ready to perform the opening number -- Barry Manilow's "One Voice" -- Sparks asked with all her “bubbly energy” if he would like to say a prayer. No sooner did he say, “Yes,” than Sparks announced to everyone that she was going to lead the group in a prayer. “Colton Dixon and Danny Gokey came over to join us along with Blake Lewis, and Jordin started praying. During the prayer I felt my fears calm down. Prayers usually do calm my fears. It’s interesting how that works. When we finished the prayer and said 'amen' I heard a lot more amens then I expected,” he said. “I looked up and saw that just about everyone of the group on our side of the stage had huddled around us to join us. It was a special moment.”
White would have loved to have been a part of that moment, but according to her post on Instagram, she was not asked to attend. “I'd hoped I would be, but never got the call. Why? No idea,” she wrote. “Was I bummed? Surely."
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She added that there are positives and negatives with being involved with the show. “The Idol experience is a mixed bag: high highs and low lows, triumphs and embarrassments, moments when producers are calling you darling and giving you cheek kisses and then moments when you feel utterly invisible. Moments of pride and moments of humility,” she wrote. “You do something right, then you get it all wrong. Everyone knows your name, then they forget. One second you're flying first class, next minute you're back in the van. But that's life in the spotlight. It's on, then it's off.”
Read Archuleta's full blog post here, and see White's Instagram post below: