Updated: ‘Idol Rejects Tour’ kickoff at Fat Fish Blue postponedWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: Toledo Free Press has learned that the May 2 performance has been postponed. We will update when the appearance is re-scheduled.
Every year after the show’s end, the top finalists from “American Idol” go on tour, giving fans a chance to see their favorite performers live and in person.
But what about everyone else? “Idol” fans are annually introduced to dozens of performers beyond the ten finalists who get to go on the tour. Many of the eliminated performers are talented and have memorable stories of their own. But fans rarely get a chance to see any of them.
That changes this year. On May 2, the “Idol Rejects Tour” kicks off at Fat Fish Blue in Perrysburg. The event will feature performances from three “Idol” contestants who each made a great impression on fans this season, despite being eliminated in the early rounds: Chris Medina, Rob Bolin and Tim Halperin.
“At first, it was just gonna be a radio tour. Go to different radio stations, maybe play a club. And the idea became a little more grandiose, bigger,” Medina said .
But these shows won’t just be about getting to meet and perform for fans. “Idol has done this ‘Idol Gives Back,’ and so we thought of that, and seeing as how none of us Rejects were going to be on the ‘Idol Gives Back’ tour, we decided to make one ourselves,” Bolin said.
Bolin said every show on the “Rejects Tour” will be a benefit. Toledo’s performance will raise money for Project iAm, a local charity which distributes money to families of autistic children. Other stops on the tour will raise money for Medina, who, as fans of “Idol” know, is the primary caregiver for his fiancée Juliana, who suffered brain damage after a car accident in 2009.
“We saw an opportunity to give back — especially with Chris’s situation, and with Autism Speaks, because we have a platform,” said Tim Halperin. “We have a platform right now from ‘American Idol,’ and we want to make sure we’re using it for good.”
Chris Medina: ‘I feel like I won the whole thing’
Despite the fact that he didn’t make the top 24 on ‘Idol,’ Medina can’t speak highly enough of what the whole experience has meant to him — and what it means he can also do for others.
“One of the things I’ve been saying throughout this whole experience is that I feel so blessed. People are just giving, giving, giving. Now that I’m actually in a position where I can actually earn some money, but also give back to another cause that is far greater,” Medina said.
Despite his passion for music, he speaks of nothing more lovingly than Juliana. The two were engaged to be married in December of 2009. Two months before that, however, came the accident that would change their lives. “I always told her, ‘You make me a better man.’ I used to tell her that even before her accident. ‘You just make me a better guy. When I’m around you, I feel like I wanna do the right thing.’”
He hadn’t even planned on going out for “Idol” until a week before his first audition. He had already made it through the first few rounds before being confronted with a decision: Should he share his — their — story? He finally decided to do so.
“The day after it aired on TV, we got so much help — so many people wanting to help donate a wheelchair, or donate a car, or donate hospital equipment, or their services — people wanting to be caretakers. It was wonderful.”
And though Medina is obviously disappointed that he didn’t make it further, between his appearances on the “Rejects” tour, a new single titled “What are Words” and the outpouring of support from “Idol” fans, he remains incredibly grateful for the whole experience.
“I might have gotten kicked off before I made the top 24, but I feel like I won the whole thing.”
Rob Bolin: ‘I knew that wasn’t me’
A native of Traverse City, Mich., Bolin admits he’s an odd candidate for “American Idol” fame. He cites as his influences artists like Jim Croce, James Taylor, Harry Chapin and Otis Redding — storytelling artists whose music is immortal, but seem an ill fit for “Idol”’s pop-centric focus.
His path to national television exposure began a few years prior, on another show, with another contestant whose on-again-off-again relationship with Bolin would be the centerpiece of their time on “Idol” — Chelsee Oaks.
“Chelsee and I were on a TV show on TNT called ‘Can You Duet?’ a few years back.
“We had done that, and one of the editors from ‘Idol,’ who had become a friend of ours, called me and said, ‘Hey, man, we got auditions in Nashville. You should go try out,’” Bolin said.
Oaks received a similar call, and had already tried out earlier in the day at the same audition — and been rejected. Bolin made it through, and was asked to talk a little bit about his life.
“And I said, the girl I was gonna ask to marry me brought her boyfriend here today. And they said, ‘Did she audition?’ I said yeah. And they said, ‘What’s her name?’ And I said, ‘Chelsee Oaks.’
“I go downstairs to fill out paperwork, and I’m sitting next to the cast coordinator. And upstairs calls downstairs to the cast coordinator, and all I hear over the phone was, ‘Call Chelsee Oaks back.’ And I look at Maggie and I said, ‘You guys aren’t seriously gonna call Chelsee Oaks back, are you?’ She looks at me and says, ‘Are you her ex-boyfriend?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ She said, ‘Welcome to TV.’”
They had gotten back together again by the time a second round of auditions came about, and were once again no more when a third round occurred. By that point, however, their story had been prominently featured on the show. Bolin said he had a lot of misgivings about whether he was a fit for the ‘Idol’ mold.
Bolin has released a new EP in recent months, copies of which will be available at the Perrysburg show. He’s still grateful for the chances being on ‘Idol’ has given him — “If I hadn’t done that, then none of this would be happening right now” —but in the end, he’d be lying if he didn’t say he wasn’t a little happy to leave when he did.
“I had thought about ‘Idol’ long and hard, and I thought, if this continues to go, I’m gonna have to go, like, take a dump on the corner of the stage to get out of it,” he joked.
Tim Halperin: ‘I honestly wasn’t sad’
Tim Halperin made it the furthest of any of his fellow “Rejects” — lasting into the Top 24 when an early massacre eliminated many, Halperin included. But despite increased exposure, he said that there are difficulties when you’re planning a career after ‘Idol.’
“I think the biggest challenge as an artist, after leaving the ‘American Idol’ stage, is to turn the TV fan into a music fan,” Halperin said.
He’s never known a time when music wasn’t a part of his life, and cites Coldplay as a major influence in his decision to do this for a living. His path to ‘Idol,’ however, came not onstage, but through a webcam.
“I wasn’t gonna do it — I’m not a big ‘American Idol’ watcher or ‘American Idol’ fan, and I was working on a full-length CD at the time. And my buddy contacted me and said, ‘You know, ‘Idol’ is doing MySpace auditions this year, might as well throw your name in the hat and do a webcam audition.’ And so I did.
“One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was in front of the judges in Los Angeles.”
Despite his elimination, Halperin maintains a positive attitude about the experience.
“I honestly wasn’t sad. I honestly felt so privileged to be a part of that top group, among the finalists this year. Out of 125,000 people,” Halperin said. “So, I walked away knowing that, hey, I’ve been in front of 25 million people on a weekly basis for the past couple of months. I need to use that momentum and move forward.”
He’s maintained his momentum by releasing a track entitled “The Last Song” for free on his website, in advance of the CD dropping in September. He has also become a regular fixture on the Kidd Kraddick radio show out of Dallas, where he takes part in a segment titled “Idol Got It Wrong.”
And like all his fellow “Rejects,” Halperin promises Toledo a great time at Fat Fish Blue on May 2. “It’s gonna be a fun show, it’s gonna be a good evening, and I think it’s cool for people to engage with somebody who was just on ‘American Idol,’ especially if they’re big fans of the show.”