You’re Going to Hollywood: Top 7 YouTube Musicians Who Once Competed On ‘American Idol’


You’re going to Hollywood baby!

In the audition room for “American Idol,” before the critical eyes of judges Simon, Paula and Randy, singers from all across the country have come to stand with the hope of receiving the golden ticket.

Many prominent YouTube musicians who have graced the stage of “American Idol” during the early parts of their careers have gone on to establish themselves as prominent artists in the online music community. Since its creation eight years ago, YouTube has changed the game for musicians and made it possible for anyone with a passion for music to be successful without a record deal.

Some YouTube musicians’ subscriber numbers exploded directly after competing on “American Idol.” For others, “American Idol” was just one of many experiences that influenced their gradual rise to fame. Looking back from where they started to their success now, for these seven musicians, “American Idol” was only the beginning.

7. Michael Castro

Following in the footsteps of his big brother Jason Castro, Michael Castro shyly auditioned for the show in Kansas City, a mere 20 days after he started singing. But three weeks of singing was not enough to keep him in the competition, and Michael was eliminated shortly after receiving his ticket to Hollywood.

Since his appearance on the show, Michael has continued to develop his musical talent on YouTube and occasionally collaborates with his brother Jason. He uploads a new music video every Monday and has released several albums on iTunes including “My Way” and “Fly Away.”

6. Danny Noriega

After being cut early on during season six, Danny Noriega decided to audition again for “American Idol” season seven, and then made it into the top 16 before getting the axe.

Now 23-year-old Noriega fills his YouTube channels with vlogs about his life along with comedy videos filmed as his drag persona, Angel Baby. Last year, Noriega auditioned for season five of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” but sadly did not make it onto the show.

5. Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson auditioned for “American Idol” in numerous cities, numerous times, for multiple seasons. While most the time he just showed up to auditions without any preparation, in June 2007 he reached out to his YouTube fans asking for song recommendations. Sadly, none of his audition videos can be found online but Chris did create the YouTube video “Your American Idol Survival Guide” to reveal little known truths about the audition process.

Now with close to 300,000 subscribers on his channel, Chris remains incredibly active on YouTube, filling his channel with cover videos of popular songs and comedy vlogs about his daily life.

4. Andrew Garcia

Tori Kelly wasn’t the only YouTube musician auditioning during season nine of “American Idol,” but was followed by Andrew Garcia, who sang “Sunday Morning.” Praised by all the judges — even Simon, who stated that Garcia was a “genuinely good singer” — Garcia made it into the top nine before being eliminated.

Following his elimination on “American Idol” in 2010, Garcia was featured on the American Idol Live! tour where he sang “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 and “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul. Garcia has continued to pursue his music career on YouTube and often collaborates with other musicians such as Chester See, Andy Lange and AJ Rafael.

3. Tori Kelly

Auditioning for season nine of “American Idol” in 2010, Tori choose to serenade the judges with her rendition of “Gravity” by John Mayer. While Simon quickly stated that he found Tori’s voice to be “annoying,” the other three judges couldn’t get enough of Tori’s California girl look and infectious smile, sending her along to Hollywood. Tori made it a week in Hollywood before being eliminated.

Following her “American Idol” elimination, Tori immediately began filling her YouTube channel with original songs and covers. Now, her channel has close to 500,000 subscribers and many of her videos have been viewed millions of time. Tori is currently looking forward to her upcoming United States and UK tour that begins on July 18 in Los Angeles.

2. Todrick Hall

Wowing the judges with an original song written just for the season nine audition, Todrick Hall made it into the top 16 — alongside YouTuber Andrew Garcia — before receiving the boot.

“American Idol” was only the beginning for Todrick, who has since become an internet sensation with his viral music videos and flash mob dance routines. He is currently under the management of Scooter Braun and recently announced that he will be partnering with IconicTV Family to continue to grow his presence on YouTube.

1. Taryn Southern

In 2007, 17-year-old Taryn Southern auditioned for the third season of “American Idol,” making it into Hollywood and into the Top 50. But upon her first nationally broadcast performance, Taryn forgot her song lyrics — an experience she later laughs about in her “Draw My Life” video.

Six years since her appearance on “American Idol,” Taryn has made a name for herself as a singer, actress and comedian on YouTube. The Tina Fey of online video, Taryn’s greatest YouTube hits include “Coffee Make Me Poo,” “Wrong Hole: The Untold Story,” “I Think I Farted” and “Keep It In Your Pants.”

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