Wednesday, February 21, 2007
7 News Features: Tuned Out
They sang their hearts out and hoped for the best. But, after they got the boot, America tuned out.
WSVN -- These guys never had a chance.
But a few who made it through did find a following on Idol.
They had high hopes for stardom.
"I remember Simon saying anyone in our top ten ought to be able to get a record deal."
But here's the brutal reality: Jessica Sierra hit the power notes on Idol -- now she's pounding the pavement as a Hooter's girl.
Jessica Sierra: "I'm not the kind of person to sit behind a desk and or the computer. Boring. So, I thought, what better place than Hooters? You get to interact with people, it's fun, cute outfits."
Like Jessica, many former Idol hopefuls found out when the Idol spotlight went dark so did their fans.
Justin Guarini: "They boot you, and they don't want you anymore. Go out and get yourself a publicist. Go out and get yourself an agent. Use what you got to get what you want."
Justin Guarini was runner-up to Kelly Clarkson in Season One.
While she went platinum, he went to oblivion.
But he's still singing and touring with some other "Almost Idols" -- including Anthony Federov who's still trying to find his footing.
Anthony Fedorov: "I think, unless you win the show, it's generally hard to break through. Because everybody says 'Oh you're that kid from American Idol' and nobody wants to take a chance on that."
Season Four's Nikko Smith's says it best.
Nikko Smith: "If you're not the American Idol or the runner up, it's going to be hard going for you."
Other "Almost Idols" agree.
Latoya London: "I thought life would be rosier, and I learned it was a struggle. I learned that, 'Wow, I have to hustle for me in this big industry world."
Matt Rogers: "It's a short-lived life. But it's fun. It's fun while it lasted."
And, for the Idols still struggling, it's hard to watch others succeed.
Matt Rogers: "It is a little aggravating. It's like what am I doing wrong? What can I do to be out there like them and having my own album."
But the hardest reality check has been for Nikki McKibbin.
Nikki McKibbin: "It was hard. It was like nothing I've ever experienced before."
After finishing third in Season One, a chance at fame fell in her lap.
RCA offered her a six-record deal with a $375,000 signing bonus.
But Nikki -- said, "No."
Nikki McKibbin: "And they wanted me to do country, and I was like, 'Do I look like I sing country music?' Like, really, come on."
Opportunity didn't knock twice.
And she went downhill fast.
That's what happens with life. You mess it up sometimes."
She had a breakdown before this appearance on a Fox morning show and couldn't get it together.
Nikki McKibbin: "Apparently I woke up very very angry and crying and, 'Oh, my God!'"
But, like a lot of former Idols, she's back in the studio cutting an album and shooting videos and still believes the sky's the limit.
Nikki McKibbin: "It's looking up. Everything's looking up right now, and it feels good."
And that sense of hope is still alive for the Hooters girl as well.