Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#45 LaToya London

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is LaToya London. She landed in fourth place on American Idol season 3. She was in the bottom 3 with Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia on the week of Hudson's elimination. She released her debut album, Love & Life, in September 2005 and recently completed a starring role as Nettie in the national tour of the Broadway musical, The Color Purple, which was directed by American Idol season 9 semifinalist Todrick Hall.

LaToya Renee London was born on December 29, 1978, in San Francisco, California, and raised in Oakland, California, where she had her first public musical performance when, at the age of 7, she sang in her mother's wedding. Her interest in singing began when she was just 4 years old, when she frequently sang when attending Allen Temple Baptist church. As a teenager, she sang with the Oakland Youth Chorus from 1993 to 1996. In 1996, she graduated from Skyland High School, which actor Tom Hanks and NBA player Gary Payton earlier attended, She also worked as a waitress and a bartender and even sang in a Christian rock group. She was also a backup vocalist and did frequent guest vocals for several Bay Area recording artists. At the time she auditioned for American Idol, she was the lead vocalist in a band known as All-Star Jukebox, which usually performed at weddings.

London auditioned for American Idol season 3 in Los Angeles, California. Although she seamlessly moved on through each round, she had not been featured prominently in any aired footage and was written off by many fans before the first studio performances. However, as a member of the third group of eight semifinalists, she performed "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen, and earned a standing ovation from Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and guest judge Donna Summer. . Jackson labeled her performance as "brilliant" and "what the search for a superstar is all about," Abdul called her "unbelievable" and praised her "quiet confidence," and notoriously harsh, but honest, judge Simon Cowell said she was "the best of the group" and that it was a "superb, outstanding performance." As expected, America voted her through to the top 12 with 32.3 percent of audience votes, the largest percentage for every week of the semifinals. For nine weeks, London wowed the nation with her showstopping performances on American Idol. On top 12 week, as her first performance in the finals, she performed "Ain't Nobody" by Chaka Khan, and Cowell declared her performance as "amazing" and "awesome."

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