Former “American Idol” finalist Elliott Yamin never imagined his life changing so quickly after his third-place finish on Season 5 of the hit television series.
Yamin will perform Thursday at Skye Lounge in Peoria and sing tunes from his two successful albums.
“This is still a dream to me,” said Yamin, calling from Los Angeles. “Not in a million years did I have a clue that I would be here right now.”
The Virginia native said he’s appreciative of the reality competition that launched his career. Yamin added that “American Idol” gave him a crash course in show business.
“Everything from the studio sessions and rehearsals to the photo shoots, I learned from the show and that helps when you’re trying to have a life like this,” Yamin said.
In 2005, Yamin auditioned with thousands for the Fox TV show and became one of the top 12 finalists. His season included Chris Daughtry of the band Daughtry; singer-actress Katherine McPhee; Grammy nominated gospel artist Mandisa and the winner, Taylor Hicks.
He remains in touch with some of those contestants and others from various seasons.
“It’s like an eternal fraternity that we’re all a part of because we’ve gone through the same thing,” Yamin said.
After the show in 2007, Yamin released his debut self-titled album, which hit No. 3 on the Billboard 100 Albums chart and No. 1 on the independent charts.
The album produced the hit single “Wait for You” and holds the record for the largest debut of an artist on a independent label.
And he won’t forget it, since his mother framed the chart for him.
His mother, who died in 2008, was often shown on “American Idol” in clips or in the audience.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, and I’m very happy that she had the chance to see me live out part of my dream,” Yamin said.
In addition, Yamin said she would be happy to see his younger brother graduate from college and become a pharmacist.
Five years ago when he competed on the show, “American Idol” was one of the very few televised singing and talent contests. But now, there are more than enough similar series, such as “X Factor,” “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent.”
And Yamin said there’s room for everyone.
“When I started there weren’t as many opportunities and social media wasn’t strong, but that’s different now,” he said. “I think these shows have helped so many people to have real shots and chances. A big part of being a recording artist is making any impression you can to help your career.”
Even though he loves the recording process, Yamin said he always enjoys live performances and can’t wait to hit the stage at Skye Lounge.
He describes his sound as soul, “because there is nothing really poppy about me.”
“You can expect a lot of energy from me and some top-notch musicians in the band,” Yamin said. “I’m going to be ready to jam and sing my face off.”