Friday, September 23, 2011

#103 John Stevens

Next on my American Idol finalist is John Stevens. He got 6th place on American Idol season 3. He is vocally inferior to Jennifer Hudson, who was eliminated before him. He was ranked at number 88 on the May 31, 2010, Los Angeles Times ultimate American Idol power rankings list.

John Bassat Stevens IV was born in Buffalo, New York, on July 28, 1987. He resides in East Amherst, New York. He attended Willamsville East High School and sang in a select jazz group.

Stevens auditioned for American Idol season 3 in New York City singing "That's Amore" by Dean Martin. Then the judges asked him to sing in his normal voice. He heeded the judges' advice and performed "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra (which would later be performed by Michael Lynche on top 5 week of American Idol season 9) and he advanced to the Hollywood round.

Stevens was a member of the last semifinal group. With his performance of "She's Always a Woman" by Billy Joel, he got first place with America's vote among his semifinal group, garnering 28% of the vote. At the age of 16, he has been the youngest finalist of American Idol season 3.

Stevens is vocally compared to his favorite artist Frank Sinatra, who born in 1915 and died in 1998. He was nicknamed "Teen Martin" because of his Dean Martin impersonation and the ability to croon at such an early age. Stevens' musical style is not traditional American Idol fare, and that caused him to struggle with unfamiliar music genres during the competition.

During top 12 week, Stevens performed "Lately" by Stevie Wonder. During top 11 week, he performed "King of the Road" by Roger Miller. During top 10 week, he performed "My Girl" by The Temptations. During top 9 week, he performed "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John. During top 8 week, he performed "As Time Goes By" by Dooley Wilson and from the film Casablanca, but he was in the bottom 3 with season 3 runner-up Diana DeGarmo and my number 108 American Idol finalist Jon Peter Lewis who got elminated that week. During top 7 week, the week of Jennifer Hudson's elimination, Stevens performed "Mandy" by Barry Manilow. Top 6 week was "Latin week" as a tribute to Gloria Estefan. He performed "Music of My Heart" and Simon Cowell commented that Stevens was "taking every bullet thrown at you like a man." The next night, he was eliminated coming in 6th place despite receiving over four million votes.

Stevens was signed to Maverick Records and released his debut album called Red on June 28, 2005. It was produced by Steve Tyrell and executive produced by Canadian record producer David Foster. It features covers of The Beatles' "Here, There and Everywhere" and Maroon 5's "This Love", both arranged in a relaxed jazz and lounge fashion. Its first week sales placed it into the top 10 of the Billboard jazz charts. As of March 2006, it sold 18,000 copies, and after that he parted ways with Maverick Records.

Stevens graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts in May 2009 and released a Christmas CD "Home for Christmas" on November 1, 2009. He currently sings with the Boston-based Beantown Swing Orchestra, focusing on big band arrangements originally performed by Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin.

Next up on my American Idol finalist countdown, from my least favorite to my most favorite, is my number 102 American Idol finalist. He was the first finalist to be eliminated on American Idol season 1. He was a last minute replacement for Delano Cagnolati, who was disqualified for lied to escape American Idol's age cut off, which was then 24, but now 28.

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