New Talent or Seasoned Performers: A Closer Look at the ‘American Idol’ Top 12 Men

I’m fairly new to the American Idol fad, so forgive me if I get a few things wrong. I thought the purpose of American Idol was to find untapped talent. But looking at the line up of the Top 12 men I’m not seeing a lot of freshness.

Since the end of the auditions Ryan has touted this season’s crop as “the best it’s ever been.” With the amount of experience among this dozen men alone, it’s no wonder.

Of the Top 12, at least four of them have already made an album and another four have logged serious time performing on a stage. And one contender has done both.

Only three hopefuls appear to truly be untouched gems – Danny Noriega, Garrett Haley and Chikezie Eze. And with the competitive edge their opponents have I don’t see these three lasting long.

Here’s a little closer look at the experience of the Top 12.

David Archuleta

Before this 17-year-old auditioned in San Diego, he made his Idol debut singing for Season 1 hopefuls. Then in 2003 at the age of 12, this Utah native won the Star Search Junior Singer competition. You can check out his performance in this video.

Colton Berry

Although we’ve seen very little of this Virginian in the first two phases of Idol, Colton is no stranger to performing.  Not only has this 18-year-old been active in local theater, he’s performed in France four years ago at the French-American Gospel Music Workshop Exchange. In 2005, Colton competed, but did not win, on Showtime at the Apollo when the tour visited Charlottesville.

Boyz-N-GirlzRobbie Carrico

Before auditioning in Miami, Robbie used to open for Britney Spears as a member of Boyz-N-Girlz, a pop band that got its break singing in a House of Blues in Orlando and went onto record two albums.  The 26-year-old went on to record three more albums with the alternative band Missing Picket.  Robbie must inherit his musical talents from his cousin, the legendary Patsy Cline.

Jason Castro

While Jason Catro might not have produced an album, the 20-year-old Texas is no stranger to singing in front of a crowd. You can catch a video of him performing live at The Prophet Bar.  As a drummer for the rock band Keeping Lions, Jason has opened for Cheyenne Kimball and starred in her self-titled MTV reality series.  Although I couldn’t find any albums by the band, its My Space page lists Secret Weapon Management as its record label.

David Cook AlbumDavid Cook

This Oklahoma-native had two albums with the rock band Axium under his belt before he headed to Omaha to audition for Idol. Here’s a video of the band’s performance.  Last year, David released his first solo album, ”Analog Heart.”

Chikezie Eze

As far as I can tell, this Californian’s biggest claim to fame is that he tried out for Idol last year and didn’t make it. It’ll be interesting to see how far the 22-year-old makes it this year.

Garrett Haley

This 17-year-old Ohioan remains a mystery. We know very little about him outside his San Diego audition and his Hollywood time.

David Hernadez

Although David might not have an album of his own, he’s been hanging out with Latin singer Jacob Madrid in New York. Here’s a video of the pair singing at rehearsal in New York. I’m not sure what they are rehearsing, maybe songs for Madrid’s debut album in which case David might be singing backup on this album.

Michael Johns

Before his San Diego audition, this Aussie performed with two bands – The Rising and Film – under the name Michael Lee.  While I couldn’t find an album produced by either band, Michel lists Dingo Lane as his record label on his MySpace page.

Luke Menard

Although we didn’t get to see much of this Crawfordsville, Indiana native (my hometown by the way) during the first two phases of Idol, he’s been getting plenty of stage time as a member of the a cappella group Chapter 6.  Not only has Luke toured nationally with the group, but together they have release four albums – two in college and two professionally – and have a handful of awards.

Danny Noriega

I can’t find much else in singing experience for this 18-year-old. In addition to his try out in San Diego, Danny also auditioned, but didn’t make it, last year.

Jason Yeager

Although he auditioned in Dallas, Jason has been spending his time in Branson, Missouri where he logged in some time at Country Tonite and as a back up singer for Shoji Tabuchi.

Now take a look at the Top 12 Women and their experience.

18 Responses to New Talent or Seasoned Performers: A Closer Look at the ‘American Idol’ Top 12 Men

  1. […] list is indeed correct.  Here’s a closer look at the Top 12 Men.  I’ll be posting the women later […]

  2. JD says:

    Jason Castro can also be seen as the shy boyfriend of Cheyenne on MTV.

  3. Amanda says:

    love your synopsis – check out mine at

  4. vacelts says:

    JD, thanks for the information. I added it in above.

  5. Kesler Klan says:

    Garrett may of not gotten his moments of fame or given a dramatic story to go along with his uprising but he sure did get “yes” votes from all three judges every time he sang and that is a story in itself. He just might be one of the hidden secrets to this season. We have heard Garrett sing and he is amazing. Go Garrett ! We support you no matter what !

  6. […] already gave you a peek at the Top 12 men and their experience.  Here’s a little closer look at the experience of the Top 12 […]

  7. […] first week of American Idol’s Top 24 is underway and the theme is the ‘60s.  But can the Top 12 men take some older songs and make them their […]

  8. […] A Closer Look at Top 12 Men and Top 12 Women […]

  9. […] A Closer Look at Top 12 Men and Top 12 Women Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Elite 8 Inspire on American IdolAmerican Idol Top 10 Theme was Flawed‘Idol’ In Iraq: Soldiers Slam David Archuleta, Still Suspicious Of Kris…AI Semifinals […]

  10. […] A Closer Look at Top 12 Men and Top 12 Women Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)David Cook Hospitalized, Released after Idol PerformanceDavid Cook!Want to Hear Me Sing?American Idol Season 7 Top 9 […]

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