It’s been seven months since “American Idol’s” 2012 iteration ended, though we still feel its aftershock in everyday life, provided you own a TV or listen to the radio, therefore often hearing or seeing its most recent victor, Phillip Phillips, buoyed tremendously by hit single “Home.”
Beyond that? Well… hmm.
Though season 11 will be marked by Phillips’ taking of America (long or short as it may last) and the discovery of a potential future superstar in the young, diva-voiced Jessica Sanchez, so far it has little else to say for itself. It was the last season for judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, whose tenure on the show was marked by little more than Tyler’s odd quotations. Ryan Seacrest got punched by an elated contestant. Heejun Han stole everyone’s hearts during the Hollywood rounds. Ryan Seacrest got punched by an elated contestant.
There were finalists, too — 13 of them, in fact — as well as a score of wannabes who didn’t make it to the live shows. Here’s a look at their careers since the “Idol” ride ended.
Phillip Phillips (Winner)
Color me a cynic, but I didn’t expect this from Phillip Phillips. Did anyone really? Sure, he was a fan favorite throughout the season, and his coronation song, “Home,” is probably the best an “Idol” winner’s ever had as their take-a-bow tune. But a 2-time Platinum single that refuses to go away (it’s at No. 9 on the Hot 100), worldwide attention during the Olympics due to said song and spots on seemingly every single TV show ever, from the World Series to the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony? The man is still everywhere. His debut album, “The World From the Side of the Moon,” was released in November, debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
Jessica Sanchez (Runner-Up)
The only other singer in the competition besides Phillip who was pretty much a sure bet to have some serious support each week (except for that one week she had to be saved), Sanchez has maintained a steady diet of live appearances (Democratic National Convention), TV spots (a recurring role on the fourth season of “Glee” later in the year) and inter-“Idol” dating (she’s reportedly still with fellow season 11 alum Deandre Brackensick). After signing to Interscope Records, her debut was tentatively scheduled for November of last year, but will instead drop in the spring. Speaking recently to Billboard, she called the album “dancey” and said it will have “more of an R&B/Pop/Urban kind of feel.” Ne-Yo is confirmed to featured on one of the tracks.
Joshua Ledet (Third)
Remember when Ledet got like 100 standing ovations throughout the season and garnered praise along the lines of one of the best “Idol” vocalists in recent memory? So far, little has come of such acclaim, with little talk of an album and minimal appearances by Ledet, though he recently sang the National Anthem at the New Orleans Saints-Carolina Panthers NFL game on Dec. 28. Still, it may be that the show’s management is focusing the brunt of its attention on its top two at the moment. Further, Ledet certainly isn’t done. “My favorite number is 1… That’s what I’m aiming for on the charts,” he Tweeted Dec. 21.
Hollie Cavanagh (Fourth)
After missing out on the live shows in season 10, Cavanagh returned with a vengeance in 2012, eventually finishing fourth behind three powerhouses. Rarely was she the frontrunner, and the judges had plenty to say about her song choices, but there’s a chance that her voice will mature even further — and if so, watch out. Like Joshua, Hollie has been fairly quiet since the “Idol” tour ended, but she at least has a slightly better asset to her credit: a timeframe. In late December, she announced that she would begin recording an album in Los Angeles in 2013.
Colton Dixon (Seventh)
Colton Dixon almost didn’t even audition for “American Idol” last season but ended up making it quite far in the competition, exiting rather prematurely the week after the judges used their only save on Jessica Sanchez. Months later, he’s the season’s equivalent of Pia Toscano in that, well, he’s doing alright. He’ll release his debut, “A Messenger,” on Jan. 29 through Sparrow Records, a Christian music division of UMG, saying that he wants his music to be “faith-based” without alienating wider audiences. Promo single “Never Gone” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Songs chart, and lead single “You Are” has peaked so far at No. 22 on the same chart.
Heejun Han (Ninth)
Whatever happened to the fan favorite who became the first Korean American to enter “Idol”‘s top 13? Not much, unless you follow the guy on Twitter, which is a treat in itself (as long as you don’t mind a TON of Instagram). There’s been little talk of new song from Heejun; certainly no duets with Richie “The Cowboy” Law, at any rate. However, the 23-year-old Queens native has teased a contract signing on Twitter with some big plans ahead. What kind of contract? Stay tuned.
Jermaine Jones (Disqualified)
Jones has been busy since his disqualification from “Idol” due to concealing arrests and outstanding warrants (he pled guilty on July 31). He released “All Around the World” through iTunes on July 19, and is a part of “The North Star,” a film about an escaped slave who joins the abolitionist movement of Quakers, starring former NFL player Jeremiah Trotter. He is also planning to audition for rival singing competition “The Voice” this year, so there’s a chance redemption could be just around the corner for the gentle giant.
Johnny Keyser (Top 70)
To the surprise of many, Keyser didn’t even make it to the semifinals of the show, getting cut in the Hollywood rounds. But unlike most rejected “Idol” singers, the road didn’t stop there for the Florida native. He was approached by multiple industry execs following his elimination, eventually recording a seven-track EP entitled “From Where I Stand,” which reached No. 44 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. Apparently he’ll be back this year to try to impress the judges a little more this time around, so peg him as an early frontrunner for the live shows for sure.