Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#104 Jim Verraros

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is Jim Verraros. He got 9th place on American Idol season 1 in a double elimination with EJay Day. He is one of the most talked about American Idol contestants ever. He is signed to Koch Entertainment. He is not on the Los Angeles Times American Idol power rankings list of May 31, 2010.

James Conrad Verraros was born in Crystal Lake, Illinois, on February 8, 1983. Because he was raised by deaf parents, he is fluent in American Sign Language. He is the son of a father who is of Greek descent and a mother who is of German, Irish, French, and English descent. Verraros unexpectedly excelled in singing and acting at a very early age so much that the school's music teachers explained his talent to his parents who were unaware of his talent.

Verraros quickly became a celebrity in the American gay press due to a controversy that erupted when it was rumored that FOX forced him to remove his online journal that included a discussion of his homosexuality during summer 2002. However, he stated that "it wasn't because I was gay. It was because they thought I was trying to gain more votes and have that little extra edge." While Verraros was out to fellow American Idol contestants and Idol personnel, he did not mention his homosexual in the broadcast of American Idol season 1. Following the end of American Idol season 1, and the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2002, his homosexuality was revealed to the public in an article in the magazine The Advocate. On September 6, 2009, he joined in a civil union with Bill Brennan in a private ceremony in Illinois. The union was made legal on July 24, 2011, in New York City.

After his stint on American Idol, Verraros won the hearts of many fans across the United States when he participated in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2002, which played to sold out arenas in 30 venues across the United States. Verraros was also a contributing artist on the RIAA certified Gold "American Idol: Greatest Moments" compilation album alongside two-time Grammy Award winner and American Idol season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson.

Verraros released his freshman album Unsaid and Understood in 2004 through an independent record label, Red Queen Music—Sound Axis. It won the 2004 Outmusic Award for Outstanding New Recording – Debut Male. The album was revamped and picked up by Koch Records and retitled Rollercoaster in 2005. Verraros' mainstream debut album, which garnered several dance floor hits, including the Top 25 Billboard Hot Club/Dance Chart hit "You Turn It On." The album was produced and co-written by Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Gabe Lopez and features four songs co-written by American Idol semifinalist Angela Peel. The album had a limited release deal through Koch Records.

Verraros is an avid fan of the Chicago based professional sports team franchises.

Next up on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 103 American Idol finalist. He is the youngest of season 3's top 12. He auditioned for season 3 in New York City with the song "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra. He currently sings with the Beantown Swing Orchestra.

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