This smooth, soulful singer overcame various obstacles---partial deafness, Type 1 diabetes, his parents' divorce while he was a teen and being a high-school dropout---to rise to the final three of American Idol's fifth season. (Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee placed first and second that year, respectively.) Although he had no formal singing training before Idol, Simon Cowell touted Yamin as "potentially the best male vocalist ever" on the show. The charming contestant idled in his Idol start, however. His initial audition in Boston never aired, so when he made it to the Final 12, viewers knew little about him, plus his strong vibrato managed to turn some people off. Still, this quintessential nice guy rarely hit a bum note and earned many fans, including appraiser Paula Abdul, who openly favored him to win. Yamin's music career blossomed when he signed a publishing deal with Sony in 2006, and he released no less than four CDs by 2010. He also kept his Idol ties strong, displaying a humanitarian spirit by going to Africa with judge Kara DioGuardi in 2010 for the fund-raising initiative "Idol Gives Back." But it was another event in 2010 that literally shook his world: While in Chili for an international singing competition, he survived a deadly 8.8-magnitude earthquake.
- Jodi Queen — Half Sister
- Claudette Yamin — Mother
- Scott Yamin — Brother
- Birth Name: Ephraim Yamin
- Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
- Profession: Singer, Reality-show contestant