Jordin Sparks

Jordin Brianna Sparks (born December 22, 1989)[1] is an American pop singer. On May 23, 2007, she was declared the winner of the sixth season of the reality television show American Idol. At 17, Jordin is the youngest winner in American Idol history.

Life and career

Early life

Sparks was born in Phoenix, Arizona, to Jodi Wiedmann,[2] and Phillippi Sparks, a former NFL football player for the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys who at the time was playing in college for the Arizona State Sun Devils. She has a younger brother PJ (Phillippi Sparks, Jr). She lived briefly in the town of Ridgewood, NJ on Orchard Place, and attended Orchard school. Sparks attended Sandra Day O'Connor High School until 2006, then she was homeschooled to better concentrate on her singing.[3]

Religious faith

Sparks is a committed Christian and attends Calvary Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona. On her American Idol biography, she thanks her parents and God for her win.[4] She also appeared on the cover of World, An Evangelical Christian news magazine. On her MySpace page, she displayed a picture of herself posing next to a sign that read "End Abortion Now." This has sparked some controversy, especially among liberals.[5]

Before-Idol

Sparks finished second overall in 2004 at the Music in the Rockies national competition for aspiring Contemporary Christian Music artists, and won the talent portion of the event.[6] In 2004, Sparks appeared in America's Most Talented Kids twice, winning in her first appearance. She was one of seven to appear in a special championship edition of the show. This appearance followed two noted auditions in 2003, one with American Juniors and the other, Star Search. Sparks has performed the national anthem at various sporting events, notably for the Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. She has also sung in such events as Country Thunder, a country music venue. She has appeared with Alice Cooper (in his 2004 Christmas show) and has twice toured with Grammy-winning Christian contemporary singer Michael W. Smith. Smith has shown support of Sparks by encouraging Idol viewers to vote for her on his website.[7][8] In 2003, at the age of thirteen, Sparks recorded a five-song album which is titled For Now, working with Matthew Ward, a legendary Christian music artist, and Gary Leach, an engineer who has worked on several of Leann Rimes' albums. She appeared in a compilation album titled Live at Mr. Lucky's in 2004. As an actress, Sparks has appeared in several plays, recently starring in a dual role as characters Deborah and Bea in Magdalene at the Plumbline Theater in Franklin, Tennessee. She's also performed several times with Vaudeville Youth Theatre Company and Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix. Her first appearance was in March 2002 as an Emerald City dancer and as a poppy in The Wiz. She also appeared in Viet's production of Cinderella in June 2002 and another production of The Wiz in August 2002.[9]

Sparks appeared on the January 17, 2007 broadcast of American Idol, earning a "gold ticket" and the right to appear in the Hollywood Round. American Idol judge Randy Jackson made the offhand prediction that "Curly hair will win this year,"[10] which he admitted was Sparks. Before going on to American Idol, she had won Arizona Idol. In 2006, Sparks was one of two winners who won the Phoenix Torrid search for the "Next Plus Size Model." She was flown to California where she was used in a number of Torrid ads and promotional pieces.[11] A full-page ad for Torrid featuring Sparks ran in the December 2006 issue of Seventeen magazine.

American Idol

Audition

Sparks first auditioned in Los Angeles, California. She was not invited to Hollywood. She returned home to compete in the Fox affiliate-sponsored Arizona Idol, which she won. The winner of Arizona Idol was guaranteed an audition with the producers of American Idol at the Seattle, Washington auditions.[12] Sparks was featured in the audition episode that aired on January 17, 2007. She sang "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion. The judges were overall impressed with her vocals, though Simon criticized her for "being too cute", but Sparks was sent on to the Hollywood rounds of the show.[13]

Week #Song ChoiceOriginal ArtistResult
Top 24"Give Me One Reason"Tracy ChapmanSafe
Top 20"Reflection"Christina AguileraSafe
Top 16"Heartbreaker"Pat BenatarSafe
Top 12"If We Hold On Together"
from "The Land Before Time"
Diana RossSafe
Top 11"I (Who Have Nothing)"Tom Jones/Shirley BasseySafe
Top 10"Hey Baby"No DoubtSafe
Top 9"On a Clear Day"Tony BennettSafe
Top 3
Top 8"Rhythm Is Gonna Get You"Gloria EstefanSafe
Top 7"A Broken Wing"Martina McBrideSafe
Top 6"You'll Never Walk Alone"Rodgers and HammersteinSafe
Non-Elimination Week
Top 6"Livin' on a Prayer"Bon JoviSafe
Top 4"To Love Somebody"
"Woman in Love"
Bee Gees
Barbra Streisand / Bee Gees
Safe
Top 3"Wishing On A Star"
"She Works Hard for the Money"
"I (Who Have Nothing)" (Encore)
Rose Royce
Donna Summer
Shirley Bassey
Safe
Finale"Fighter"
"A Broken Wing" (Encore)
"This Is My Now"
Christina Aguilera
Martina McBride
Jordin Sparks
Winner

Semi-finals/Finals notes

Sparks was never in the bottom 2 or 3. Sparks is one of 4 contestants to have won and never been in the bottom 2 or 3, joining Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Hicks. (Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard was in the bottom 2 once, and season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino landed in there twice).[14]

Weight controversy

MeMe Roth, of the National Action Against Obesity group in the U.S., said of Sparks, "When I look at Jordin I see diabetes, I see heart disease, I see high cholesterol. That's what's so sad about this - she is not the vision of health - she is the vision of 'unhealth'. Her extra weight is a reflection of today's society and a culture where many of our children have compromised health due to unhealthful food choices and inactivity ... We have to stop with the 'baby fat,' 'curvy,' 'goddess' euphemisms and own this child health crisis."[15]

As a result of these and other statements, Roth has been the victim of hate-mail and death threats. Some see Roth's opinion about Sparks' weight as irrational and unfair. However, criticism notwithstanding, Roth continues to stand by her statements.[16]

Post-Idol

Sparks'songs from the American Idol have been on sale at the iTunes Store and the American Idol official website as Jordin Sparks - EP (called a "bundle" on Idol official website) shortly after the finale of Idol, along with other songs that did not make the EP's cut that are being sold as individual singles. According to SoundScan figures posted in USA Today, Blake Lewis sold more digital singles than Sparks, but her mini album sold more than Lewis'.[17]

After the finale of Idol, Sparks has made several appearances on television shows. She performed the finale song, "This Is My Now"on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Early Show and The View. Sparks had also appeared on Total Request Live, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet with the runner-up of Idol, Blake Lewis, Larry King Live with contestants who made into the top ten of American Idol.[18][19][20] and 106 & Park. On July 4, 2007, Sparks performed "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful" on Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular with Lewis and Melinda Doolittle.[21][22]

Along with television and radio appearances,Sparks has been on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and World and featured in VIBE, TV Guide, Glamour and other publications.

Sparks took part in the "American Idols LIVE! Tour 2007" from July 6 to September 23, 2007, along with other contestants in the top ten. She revealed in an AOL interview that the concert will be more group collaborations and duets as well as bringing along her acoustic guitar.[23]

Jordin Sparks

On August 17, 2007, it was announced Sparks had signed to 19 Recordings/Jive Records, becoming the first Idol winner to join the label group. Along with the lable announcement, the first single was revealed to be "Tattoo", which was released to U.S. radio on August 27, 2007. The song was produced by the hit-making duo Stargate (who wrote songs for Beyoncé, Ne-Yo, and Elliott Yamin) and co-written with Amanda Ghost, whose credits include James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" and "Beautiful Liar" with Beyonce and Shakira.[24] Her debut album is due out on November 20, 2007.

Sparks is the first artist to sign with the Zomba Label Group — all past Idol winners and runners-up have signed with the RCA Label Group’s J (Fantasia, Ruben Studdard), Arista (Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks) or RCA (Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken, Katharine McPhee) labels.

Sparks has stated that she recorded some songs for the album but the bulk of the recording will be done in Los Angeles after the tour is over.[25] She said the album would be "Top 40, radio-friendly, uplifting stuff" hopefully mixing "the pop rock sound of inaugural Idol Kelly Clarkson with the R&B edge of Beyonce".[26][27]

Discography

Albums

Album information
Jordin Sparks[28]

Compilation albums

  • Live at Mr. Lucky's (2004) "He Thinks I Still Care"

EPs

Album Cover Album Information
For Now
Album Cover Album Information
Jordin Sparks - EP (U.S. Billboard Top Digital Albums): 2
(U.S. Billboard Hot 100): 15

Songs

Before appearing on Idol, on Sparks' old website, new songs were released. The first three co-written with Gary Leach. However, it is unknown whether or not these songs will be added to Sparks' upcoming debut album.
  • "The Inside"
  • "When The Pain Goes Away"
  • "Just Me"
  • "Crazy"
  • "Give Me One Reason"
  • "Reflection"

Singles

Year Title Album Chart positions
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. Pop 100 U.S. Digital CAN Hot 100 ARC
2007"This Is My Now"Jordin Sparks - EP151346638
"Tattoo"Jordin Sparks55302227

Awards

A list of awards and honors that Sparks has received in the course of her career.
  • Coca Cola Rising Star 2002
  • Family Night Talent Show Five-time 1st Place Finals Winner at Mr. Lucky's in Glendale, Arizona, 2003
  • Glendale Youth Fest 2003: Teen Talent Show, 1st Place
  • GMA (Gospel Music Association) Academy, Washington, D.C., Overall Spotlight Winner & Country/Southern Gospel First Place Winner, 2004
  • Country Thunder Young Guns Second Place Winner, 2004
  • The Proof Is In The Pudding Talent Winner, Phoenix, Arizona, 2004
  • NBC/PAX America's Most Talented Kids, 2005
  • Colgate Country Showdown, Arizona state title, 2006.
  • Runner-up in the 2007 Drug Free AZ Superstar Search. Tempe, Arizona www.drugfreeaz.com
  • Plus-size model search winner for Torrid[29][30]
  • Winner of KSAZ Fox 10's "Arizona Idol" contest, giving her a guaranteed chance to audition in front of the judges.
  • American Idol Winner, May 2007

Footnotes

1. ^ ''Staten Island Advance "Contrary to popular belief, this 'American Idol' is not from Island" June 17, 2007
2. ^ ''Staten Island Advance "Contrary to popular belief, this 'American Idol' is not from Island" June 17, 2007
3. ^ [1]
4. ^ [2]br> 5. ^ [3]
6. ^ GMA Music in the Rockies winner takes a shot at Idol, cmcentral.com, Retrieved March 14 2007
7. ^ [4]
8. ^ [5]
9. ^ [6]
10. ^ NYPost.com
11. ^ [7]
12. ^ [8]
13. ^ [9]
14. ^ [10]
15. ^ [11]
16. ^ NBC 11 Obesity Expert Takes Heat From Sparks Fans
17. ^ Barnes, Ken (July 18, 2007). "Monitoring the 'Idol' Buzz: Who's Selling the Most Downloads?". USA Today. Retrieved on 2007-07-18.
18. ^ "The Winner of American Idol!" (video). The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet (May 25, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-06-21.
19. ^ "'American Idol' Finalists" (transcripts). Larry King Live (May 25, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-06-22.
20. ^ "Encore Presentation: 'American Idol' Finalists" (transcripts). Larry King Live (May 27, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-06-22.
21. ^ Weinstein, Farrah (July 5, 2007). "Starry, Starry Night". New York Post. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.
22. ^ "TV's Top 5! Macy's Fireworks Spectacular - 'Idol' Top 3 Perform" (video). AOL.com (July 4, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-07-06.
23. ^ [12]
24. ^ [13]
25. ^ Graff, Gary (August 13, 2007). "Season Six Idol Stars Prepping Debut Albums. Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-09-20.
26. ^ Graff, Gary (July 2, 2007). Idol Sparks Juggling Touring, Recording. Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-09-20.
27. ^ [14]
28. ^ [15]
29. ^ Torrid Model Search winner
30. ^ [16]

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