After they're booted off American Idol, the rejects always go down promising they'll score a major record deal, despite what Simon says. Here, TVGuide.com catches up with six of last season's AI finalists, who are all still chasing the impossible dream.Jasmine Trias, 3rd PlaceAge: 18 From: Mililani, Hawaii Before Idol: She was a high school senior singing at birthday parties and weddings. Life change: "Suddenly, everybody knows who you are. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, this is so weird.' Because I was never very popular in high school — I always kept to myself." Up next: "I just did a McDonald's commercial for the Philippines. I had no idea American Idol was being watched in another country! I'm also working on a new album in L.A." Advice to hopefuls: "Stay close to your family. With all the hype, you really need people who'll keep you grounded." La Toya London, 4th PlaceAge: 26 From: Oakland, Calif. Before Idol: The wife and stepmom was working at Ralph's grocery store and going to music school in Hollywood. Life change: "I quit my job and school because the show and music became a full-time thing. Truly, it was everything that I'd ever wanted." Up next: "I've been signed to Peak Records, and my main focus is on my album. It's a stressful process because you've got one shot to show what you can do." Advice to hopefuls: "Always aim to win, but don't let that consume you. There is life after Idol." George Huff, 5th PlaceAge: 24 From: New Orleans Before Idol: He was getting a degree in music education and working as a part-time omelet chef. Life change: "Once the show started airing, I was getting calls from people I hadn't heard from in 10 years. It was all pretty darn exciting." Up next: "I did a Christmas EP and now I'm working on an LP. America is really going to hear what I can do vocally." Advice to hopefuls: "They may have heard this before, but it's true: You've got to be yourself and never give up, no matter what." John Stevens, 6th PlaceAge: 17 From: East Amherst, N.Y. Before Idol: The redheaded crooner played Fagin in his high school's production of Oliver! Life Change: "It was the greatest experience of my life. I got to meet the Sinatra family. Tina Sinatra sent me a painting of Frank that's now hanging in my room. I really love it." Up Next: "I've got a record deal with Maverick, and my CD will be out in April. It's a collection of standards, with a few modern pop songs. I hope the public likes it." Advice to Hopefuls: "Get plenty of sleep, have fun and don't take Simon too seriously." Jennifer Hudson, 7th PlaceAge: 23 From: Chicago Before Idol: She was performing on a Disney cruise ship. Life Change: "I'm constantly on the go. Being on TV is strange. My friends are always surprised by how many people know me." Up Next: "I'm writing music for an album. I'm working with one of Destiny's Child's producers. We are shopping it around. It's old school... kind of sounds like Shirley Murdock." Advice to Hopefuls: "When you come off the show, never settle. Take your time and make sure what you do is just right. Good things come to those who wait." Jon Peter Lewis, 8th PlaceAge: 25 From: Rexburg, Idaho Before Idol: He did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in summer stock. Life Change: "Well, I was dead broke before, and I'm glad that changed." [Lewis was paid for the Idol tour and CD.] Up Next: "I'm working on a solo project. I'd say it's kind of a singer-songwriter thing with acoustic guitar." [Lewis does not have a record contract.] Advice to Hopefuls: "No matter if you win or lose American Idol, you can turn it into something for yourself, so always keep in mind what image you want to present." Read tomorrow's Insider for a juicy interview with Elvis-loving Idol reject Judd Harris.
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