Saturday, September 17, 2011

#108 Jon Peter Lewis

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 108 finalist Jon Peter Lewis. He got eighth place on American Idol season 3. He is affectionately known as JPL by the host Ryan Seacrest, the judges, and his fans. He was ranked at number 37 on the Los Angeles Times American Idol power rankings list of May 31, 2010.

Jon Peter Lewis was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on November 7, 1979. Therefore, he is one day older than me. He resided in various cities across the U.S. with his nomadic family before leaving the nest immediately after graduating from Central High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1998. He starred in the lead role of Thorin Oakenshield in a theatrical adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit in a local youth club the summer of 1997. He performed in many other theatrical productions and was a member of various rock and roll groups throughout his time in high school and college.

At the age of 23, he cashed his college loans to audition for American Idol season 3 in Honolulu, Hawaii, alongside Jasmine Trias, with the song "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison. He was praised by judge Simon Cowell for "very, very good voice." He went on to display an uninhibited stage presence and personality that won Anerica's affection. Simon Cowell heralded him "the dark horse to win the competition", and he was pegged as an early favorite by Rolling Stone magazine. Elton John praised Lewis for having "excellent pitch and phrasing."

Lewis was a member of the third semifinal group, and he performed Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." After performing "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis Presley, he was chosen for the top 12 by public vote, receiving 22% of the votes cast. On top 12 week (Soul week), he performed "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray, On top 11 week (Country week), he performed "She Believes in Me" by Kenny Rogers. On top 10 week (Motown week), he performed "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" by The Isley Brothers. On top 9 week (Elton John week), he performed "Rocket Man" by Elton John. On top 8 week (Movie songs week), after performing "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley, he was eliminated in eighth place. During the competition, he had displayed a three-octave vocal range and developed a strong fanbase. As he made the top 10, he participated in the 50-city American Idols LIVE! Tour 2004.

After his stint on American Idol, Lewis decided to work on his own musical style and create original music rather than taking business offers to use his stint on the show to release a pop EP. From late 2004 to 2006, he spent most of his time recording original music working closely with Alex Gibson of Henson Recording Studios (formerly known as A&M studios), the studio where the original and 2010 versions of We Are the World were recorded, as well as other notable personnel in Hollywood. "Turn to Grey" was among the first songs Lewis wrote. He composed while participating in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2004. He recorded part of the song as an homage to my season 3 favorite Jennifer Hudson after she told him that she loved singing in her home.

Lewis has been a contributor to MTV, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone magazine, The L.A. Times, and AOL Entertainment. He continues to be a recurring guest of national television and top 20 radio markets. He released his self-titled EP in 2010.

Members of JPL's band have included Sky Elobar, Andrew Synowiec, Ian Hendrickson, Craig Macintyre, Stuart Johnson, Blake Mills, Austin Nicholsen, Adam Range and Tyler George Beus. Lewis and his band are on tour across the U.S.A.

Next up on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 107 finalist. He was not originaly chosen for American Idol season 9, the most embarrassing season in the history of the show. He was chosen for that season as a replacement for Chris Golightly, who was disqualified on February 17, 2010, over an old record deal.

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