January 26, 2009 01:00 PM by Paulene Hinds
Justin Guarini, the first American Idol runner-up, didn’t make it big in the music world like the season winner, Kelly Clarkson did, but the cute singer with the curly mop top is still connected to American Idol and after a bumpy ride he still continues to work in the business.
After placing second on American Idol, Justin recorded his first disc in 2003, which failed to make it on the Billboard charts. Even his movie debut in From Justin to Kelly, a movie-musical, wasn’t met with much interest and actually hurt his career more than it did boost it. Kelly Clarkson however, seemed untouched by the production of the rough version of High School Musical and continued to climb her way up the music charts.
Justin Guarini developed a rocky relationship with RCA for wanting more input into the creative side of his first album and after the record failed to make it big, RCA dropped him. Justin Guarini then ended his relationship with 19 management, well known for handling the American Idol singers.
Justin Gaurini said, “I think it was just the fact that the first season was a guinea-pig season. And to make it worse, I didn’t know what I wanted as an artist. That’s just a combination for disaster.”
Justin Guarini is still around though and you may be surprised to hear that he is still connected to American Idol in a big way. He is on the other side of the show now and spends time interviewing thejudges and contestants for the TV Guide channel and blogging American Idolepisodes. Justin Guarini also posts weekly text and video blogs, giving the viewers an inside look on the new contestants.
“The whole (Idol) experience itself has been surreal,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “But I think what’s more surreal to me is, six years later, having stepped way, way back from the industry and then gotten back into it, I’m still steadily working.Justin Guariniadded, “Idol the brand has, in part, kept me working.”
Even though Justin Guarini hasn’t always had a great relationship with American Idol, his step back to regain his own identity,made him realize that he had to get back in there. “Those of us who are smart, and who like to work, eventually come back to the brand,” he said.
Besides American Idol blogging, Justin Guarini has been keeping up with his own musical interests. He released a jazz album in 2005 and issued a rock-soul EP last year which were both well received by his fans. On top of that, he is launching a variety web show which will feature music, interviews and comedy in February on justguarini.com. He is even a celebrity participant on the third season of CMT’s show, Gone Country.
Justin Guarini has definately flown under the radaras compared tomost of the American Idol stars, he has hostedmovie premiere specials, and on-air coverage of the Grammy Awards and Emmy Awards. He is also a recurring commentator for such shows/networks as the Today Show, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, Style Channel, and Comcast.
With all of his success in the business, Justin still looks back at his experience on seasonone of American Idol with a sense of awe.
“Good grief. Wow,” Justin Gaurini says. “The thing that stands out to me the most is the finale. The fact that it was just the two of us, and we were bone tired, yet we managed to make it through those last two shows without completely breaking down. That stands out to me.”
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Photo Credit: Fox