Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#93 Ace Young

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is Ace Young. He got 7th place on American Idol season 5. The Los Angeles Times ranked him at number 35 on their top 120 power rankings chart of May 31, 2010. He is of German and Irish descent. His music genres are pop, R&B, blue-eyed soul, and rock-and-roll.

Brett Asa "Ace" Young was born to Jay Young and Kay Whitney on November 15, 1980. He hails from Denver, Colorado. He is the youngest of five boys, with his older brothers being Josh, Duff, Marc, and Ryan. He was named after his maternal great-grandfather Asa and after baseball player George Brett. His family called him Ace since his childhood and did not know his legal name until the age of six. He has been singing since the age of nine. He took voice lessons and performed at local shopping and recreational venues during his adolescence. He performed at various venues in Colorado and other western states, most notably at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. During his school age, he participated in athletics, choir, and  International Baccalaureate classes. 

After graduating from Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado, in 1999, Young opened for R&B acts Brian McKnight (one of my favorite R&B soloists) and my favorite band New Edition. He performed The Star Spangled Banner at the Denver Nuggets games. His first published song, "Reason I Live" was featured in the 2000 New Line Cinema film The Little Vampire, which stars Jonathan Lipnicki, Richard E. Grant, Jim Carter, and Alice Krige, and directed by Uli Edel.

Young relocated to Los Angeles, California, in 2003, where he initially worked as a salesman and in home renovation. During this time, he guest-starred in an episode of the American sitcom Half & Half, which aired on UPN from September 23, 2002, to May 15, 2006, playing a character named Ace Blackwell.

Donning a tuque beanie, Young auditioned for American Idol season 5 in Denver, Colorado, singing "Swear It Again" by Westlife, and he was unanimous put through to the Hollywood round. Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul approved of his entry, with Jackson noting that Young was one of the best singers he had seen audition. Simon Cowell disagreed with Jackson and Abdul but also approved of Young, with a slight "Yes." He was introduced as Brett Young, with the name 'Ace' marked in quotations. Later, he told them he preferred to be called Ace, and the quotes were removed from his credits. During top 24 week, Young performed "Father Figure" by George Michael. During top 20 week, he performed "If You're Not the One" by Natasha Bedingfield. During top 16 week, he performed "Butterflies" by Michael Jackson. During top 12 week, he performed "Do I Do" by Stevie Wonder, but he was placed in the bottom 3 with Lisa Tucker and my number 101 American Idol finalist Melissa McGhee who got eliminated that week. During top 11 week, he performed "In the Still of the Night" by the doo-wop band The Five Satins, which was formed in 1954. During top 10 week, he performed "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)" by the rock band called Train, which was formed in 1994. He was placed in the bottom 3 with Katharine McPhee and Lisa Tucker, who was eliminated that week. During top 9 week, he performed "Tonight I Wanna Cry" by Keith Urban. He received fairly positive feedback from the judges . Jackson said it was living proof that Young was single, and Abdul said the song was perfect for his range and that he sang an adequate rendition of a contemporary country music hit. Cowell thought Young had made a good song choice. Kenny Rogers also gave him very positive reviews, and later Young said he got the best advice from Rogers, During top 8 week, he performed "We Will Rock You" by the British rock band called Queen, which was formed in London in 1971. He was in the bottom 3 with Elliott Yamin (my season 5 favorite) and Bucky Covington who got eliminated that week. During top 7 week, he performed "That's All" by Nat King Cole.  For this performance, Young had his hair tied back and was dressed up in a McQueen designer suit. Jackson commented that Young stumbled in the middle, but did well overall. Abdul commented that she liked the "new Ace" and called it "a magical night." Cowell said "it wasn't bad," but while he said the middle was a bit nasally, he called the performance "charming." The following night Young was placed in the bottom 3 with Chris Daughtry and Daughtry Bennett and was eliminated, finishing in 7th place.

After his stint on American Idol, Young performed as a guest on Total Request Live. He has also appeared at the grand opening of The Camden House of Beverly Hills (an event showcasing rising stars under the age of thirty), was invited to attend the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association dinner, sang the U.S. national anthem at a summer Colorado Crush game and hosted a solo concert at the Pepsi Center. Young continues to perform at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  He was named one of People magazine's "Hottest Bachelors" on June 16, 2006.

On October 20, 2006, he released his first single "Scattered," with help from friend Elvio Fernandes, a musician in Rochester, NY., as a digital download on iTunes Store. He helped write the chorus to Daughtry's debut single "It's Not Over", from the album Daughtry.

Young appeared and sang on the 2006 Walt Disney Christmas Day Parade alongside fellow American Idol season 5 finalists Paris Bennett, Kevin Covais, and Mandisa.

On December 6, 2007, the 50th Annual Grammy Award nominations were announced and Young was nominated for Best Rock Song, alongside Gregg Wattenburg, Mark Wilkerson, and fellow American Idol season 5 finalist Chris Daughtry, for his songwriting credit in Daughtry's self-titled debut album lead single "It's Not Over." He lost the award to Bruce Springsteen's "Radio Nowhere."

In January 2008, Young was named a Celebrity Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), where he spent time assisting the charity with events and raising awareness for neuromuscular diseases. On April 15, 2008, Young released his second single, "Addicted", as a digital download on iTunes and Amazon. On May 12, 2008 he appeared on FOX's hit scripted crime drama show Bones, which premiered on FOX on September 15, 2005, and created by Hart Hanson, alongside American Idol season 6 finalist Brandon Rogers. He played the part of a karaoke singer who ends up murdered and sang Nickelback's "Far Away".

Young appeared on TNA Impact on Thursday May 29, and debuted a new version of his "Addicted" music video, and also came out ringside with So Cal Val to support Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt in their match.

Young  most recently starred as Berger in the West End Broadway revival of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. He succeeded Tony Award nominee Will Swenson beginning March 9, 2010 and remained with the production till its closure on June 27, 2010.

On April 18, 2011, Young was featured on a song titled "Picture Me" on British rapper Chipmunk's sophomore album "Transition", which was released in Great Britain on April 15, 2011. Young's vocals are present during the chorus and bridge of the track.

Next up on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 92 American Idol finalist. She is of Irish, Scottish, and German descent. Her father is a TV producer. Her mother, known by the stage name of Peisha Arten, is a vocal coach and accomplished cabaret singer. Before her stint on American Idol, she struggled with eating disorders.  During her stint on American Idol, she lost 30 pounds due to a better diet as part of her treatment. She is married to man 19 years her senior. She sang "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly on top 3 week. She auditioned in San Francisco, California, with the song "God Bless the Child" by Billie Holiday. She was involved in the 2010 remake of the 1985 charity song "We Are the World" alongside 75 other aritsts, including fellow American Idol finalists Jennifer Hudson from season 3 and Jordin Sparks from season 6, and American Idol judge Randy Jackson. She was ranked at number 14 by The Los Angeles Times power rankings chart of May 31, 2010.

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