Eleven years ago, memorably curly-topped contestant Justin Guarini made it to the finale of the first season “American Idol.” Though he placed second, his future still seemed bright; at the time, it wasn’t hard to imagine that he’d go on to have as successful a career as his worthy opponent, winner Kelly Clarkson.
But that was not the case. His self-titled solo album for RCA Records was a flop, selling only roughly 150,000 copies; he was subsequently dropped from the label. From Justin to Kelly was a box-office bomb. Justin went on to eke out a modest career for himself in theater and TV hosting, but he fell on hard times, revealed in a surprisingly candid new blog post on his website.
The post, which was published Wednesday, detailed a very grim downward slide since his “Idol” days — including confessions that he skips meals to make sure his wife and children have enough to eat, that he envies those who are financially stable, and that he lives in fear of a breakdown. I’m definitely calling a mental breakdown at least by Christmas.
However, in an odd twist, Justin abruptly took down his site Thursday and snapped via Twitter that his post was misunderstood. Justin went on to state saying that the media completely missed the point of his post.
Um, sure. I’d say admitting that one can’t afford to feed your family is about as close to poverty as anyone could get but this is Justin’s truth or so he says… I think he is proving our point that his breakdown is closer than we think. Next we will catch Justin in the unemployment line or at a soup kitchen. I’m sure then he will say he is “volunteering” or “giving hope” to those in need.
Judging from his conflicted post, Justin probably still wonders about what might have been — why he wasn’t as successful as other “Idol” non-winners. But he seems to be at peace with his lot in life. He will soon return to Broadway, where many “Idol” alums have experienced career comebacks, to star alongside Orlando Bloom in a new production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Only time will tell if there are any Tony’s or Grammy’s in his future. Hopefully this time people will vote for him and he can take home the win. If not there is always a government assistance agency around the corner.
By Isaiah Ross