America's Favorite Finalists
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America's Favorite Finalists

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The best kept secret in music


"Idols Open In Branson"

“American Idol” past-contestants Scott Savol, Haley Scarnato, RJ Helton, Vonzell Solomon, Brandon Rogers and Carmen Rasmusen all take a bow to enthusiastic audience that gave them a standing ovation for their opening performance at the Grand Palace in Branson Friday evening. The show was hosted by another “American Idol” contestant, Jason Yeager. BDN photo by Donna Clevenger

By Donna Clevenger
BDN Staff Writer

Six young performers, who were thrust into the world of fans and fame as “American Idol” contestants, sat and talked about their personal goals, their fears and their faith with about 40 guests at the Radisson Hotel on Friday before their show opened at the Grand Palace.

These six past Idol contestants will be performing through the end of June. A parade of Idol contestants will make up the “American Idol” show at the Grand Palace through Oct. 26, on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

A crowd of Branson fans opened their arms Friday night to the contestants they had cheered on during each American Idol season.

The real idols are just that ... real.

Promoter Steve Drummond said he wanted to bring something young, something fresh to Branson. He promised the small gathering they were in for a fantastic show. Then he let them all talk to each other.

How did being on American Idol change your life?

“I just want to share my heart with the world. I’m honored to be on the show with them,” RJ Helton, who made it to the top five in the first season said about the other Idol contestants.

“It opened so many doors — I’m here in Branson about to open a show with other Idol contestants,” season six contestant Haley Scarnato said. “It’s really been a blessing. It opened so many doors. We get to perform now, and people will listen to me.”

When the six of them started talking about blessings, they all wanted to share.

Vonzell Solomon, a season four contestant, placed behind third runner-up Bo Bice and winner Carrie Underwood.

“We were like a family back stage,” she said. “We were all going through the same things. When we got on the tour, the stress factor was gone, so it was like let’s have a good time.”

She added that getting together with others from different seasons was easy — like they already knew each other.

“We all had stuff in common and could get together and talk about it,” she said.

Brandon Rogers, a season six contestant, said the first show after Idol, they could all relax.

Vonzell said they would all get together and pray.

RJ said he’d been instructed not to talk about religion, politics, but when a fan asked how he got through the audition he said, “I prayed.”

Carmen Rasmusen, who was originally cut from the top 200, but later given a second chance on the Wild Card show along with Clay Aiken, commented that coming to Branson, they felt welcomed.

She announced Friday to the group of fans and media that she and her husband are expecting a baby around Christmas Eve.

“Now we’re able to open up and talk about (God),” she said.

Scott Savolm, a top five performer in season four, said he never went looking for fame. He simply wanted to do what he loved best — sing and perform for others.

“When I let God do it, it turns out better than when I do it,” he told the group.

Rasmusen said the best thing about being on the show was to have someone come up to her and say, “My daughter looks up to you.”

“That has meant more to me than any amount of money or fame — to know that maybe I’ve influenced someone in the way that I’ve lived my life. Some people might say they don’t want to be in an example, but like it or not, we are in the spotlight. To me that’s the neatest thing,” she said.
- Branson Daily News

"AMerican Idols at Grand Palace"

Grand Palace hosts production
full of American Idol talent

By Nancy Smith
Some of America’s favorite Idol finalists
will be coming to Branson to
perform at the Grand Palace from June
20 through Oct. 26. All of the stars of
the production “America’s Favorite Finalists,”
reached at least the top 12
level from previous year’s American
Idol contests.
The show’s six cast members will
perform for two to four
week periods, and rotate
with other finalists
throughout the summer
and fall. The whole performance
schedule will
be available soon. The
initial cast in the production
consists of the following
From season six
(2007 season,) Haley
Scarnato, a San Antonio,
Texas, native, placed
eighth on American Idol.
She started singing at
age 12 with a troupe of
other young singers and
dancers. The experience
gained there helped her
develop her singing
craft. Scarnato had also
pursued gymnastics, but
because of injuries had
to move on to other interests.
Of her American Idol
experience she said that
“it just motivates me to succeed.” She
has been gaining experience by becoming
a freelance singer, performing
back-up vocals with the Josephine
Theatre, and singing in The Oh So
Good! Band. She even sang the National
anthem for the Final Four basketball
tournament. Scarnato recently
released a country album which contains
her first single “Girls Night Out”
on Talent House Entertainment.
Also from season six, Brandon
Rogers will soon be taking the Grand
Palace stage in Branson. A native of
North Hollywood, Calif., Rogers started
his music career at a very early age and
has been captivating audiences ever
since, capturing 12th place in American
In high school, his choir was chosen
to perform with Michael Jackson in the
Super Bowl XXVII half-time
show. He attended the University
of North Texas College of
Music where he performed in
the UNT Jazz Singers with fellow
student and future superstar
Norah Jones. During his
professional career, Rogers has
performed as a background
singer on Justin Timberlake
and Christina Aguilera’s 2003
Justified and Stripped Tour,
Usher’s 2004 Truth Tour, and
European superstar Anastacia’s
2005 Encore Tour.
Since leaving Idol, he has
been a traveling correspondent
for the TV Guide Network, had
a guest appearance on the FOX
hit show Bones, and signed an
independent record contract
with Authentic Artists. Rogers
has recently written and produced
his first powerful single,
“Broken” which will be released
this summer.
Scott Savol, a native of
Shaker Heights, Ohio (near
Cleveland) finished fifth in Season four
of American Idol (2005.) He started out
singing at a very early age, but was
shy, so sang his music while sitting
under the kitchen table where no one
could watch him. Other than high
school choir, he had no other vocal
training, but two decades after hiding
while performing, the popular television
show gave him a worldwide platform,
and brought him instant notice.
the show,
he endeared
himself to
Idol fans
by being
and deeply
to the
table. Prior
to Idol,
worked as
a corrections
at an
county jail.
His brand new single “Don’t Rush” featuring
L’ll G from Silk is now available
via iTunes. He will also be featured on
the upcoming Temptation soundtrack.
Placing third behind runner-up Bo
Bice and winner Carrie Underwood in
season four of American Idol (2004)
was Vonzell Solomon, another of the
initial cast members at the Grand
Palace. Sometimes known as “Baby V”
Solomon, she was born in Baxley,
Georgia and grew up in Fort Meyers,
Florida, where she enjoyed playing
softball, cheerleading, and participating
in other sports.
She holds a black belt in semback
martial arts. Solomon attended Cypress
Lake Center for the Arts, majoring in
music, and in April of 2004 locally released
a critically acclaimed CD, “My
Struggle.” She was the Celebrity
spokesperson for the United States
Postal Service for the Holidays and has
recorded a Christmas song on a compilation
CD “Dear Santa Holiday Collection.”
Besides making lots of
appearances on talk shows and award
shows since her Idol success, Solomon
completed a feature role in a movie
called Still Green.
During the second season (2003) of
American Idol, Carmen Rasmusen, born
in Edmonton, Canada, ended up in
sixth place. She was still a senior in
high school. She and eventual second
place winner, Clay Aiken were originally
cut from the top 200, but were later
chosen as judges’ favorites on the Wild
Card show. Multitalented, Rasmusen
can not only sing, but also plays piano
and guitar, and is a prolific song writer,
composing both music and lyrics for
her vocal style.
After elimination from the show, she
released an EP called Carmen featuring
her first single, “Photograph” and has
See Idol, Page 6B

• Idol Continued from Page 5B

A favorite among Idol fans, Carmen Rasmusen sings
“Nothin’ Like Summer” which she co-wrote for her first
full length album of the same title.
since signed a record deal with an independent
record label, Loften Creek Records. Her debut single,
“Nothin’ Like The Summer” was released in 2007.
Rasmusen has also written a book called “Staying in
Tune?” about her experience on Idol.
Rounding out the initial line-up at the Grand
Palace, will be RJ Helton from the first season. Born
in Cumming’s, Georgia, Helton was thrust into the
spotlight with his top five finalist performance. He
was one of the featured performers on the American
Idol cast album which went Gold and reached #1
status on the Billboard charts in the Soundtrack category.
He also participated in the national radio and
media promotional tour. Helton has a passion for
positive, uplifting music and finding comfort in faith,
which led him to a natural home at B-Rite
Music/Zomba Records, where he released his debut
album Christian oriented Real Life which made the
Billboard Christian Top 20. Since he co-wrote much
of his own material on Real Life and is now working
on his sophomore album.
The Idol finalist show will be holding an area appreciation
for Stone and Taney County residents on
June 20 through June 26. With a valid driver’s license
from either of the two counties, the ID holder can
see the show for only $10 and a guest with the resident
is $20. Also through July 20, two paying adults - Tri-Lakes Tribune


Each artist has released solo projects since performing on American Idol. Please search you tube and my space by the aritst name for more information on their solo projects.



“America’s Favorite Finalists,” starring Top 12 on air finalists from American Idol’s first seven seasons, is one of the most powerful vocal and musical shows ever assembled and already a proven crowd pleaser to thousands of fans.

Six of your favorite performers from the #1 smash-hit television show “American Idol” will be featured in a high energy two hour stage production guaranteed to get everyone on their feet.

In all, the current format offers the audience twenty two (22) incredible cover and original songs that were performed on American Idol or recorded for one of the respective artists’ solo projects.

These incredible songs cover almost all genres of music including, contemporary, pop, blues, R & B-Soul, classic rock and inspirational.

The newest and most exciting entertainment experience in the country is now available to perform at your venue, Casino, corporate event, special occasion or charity benefit.