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Life after 'American Idol': Sundance Head wins 'The Voice;' Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Jax

This was posted on Saturday, December 17, 2016 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

I had a crazy week (two words: Amanda Davis) and basically missed the Sundance Head press conference on Thursday. So I'll have to compile some quotes from others.

The charming former season 6 semi-finalist is the most successful "Idol" contestant on "The Voice," winning the 11th season on Tuesday. He spent the past nine years honing his craft and was ready to take home the crown this time.

He told that he didn't expect to win, that he thought Billy Gilman had it in the bag.

"Other contestants have more social media followers than me," the humble crooner told in an interview. "I thought it would come down to that. I knew I had performances that swung the pendulum for me. I just prayed to the Lord and asked that either way, win or lose, I'd respect the results of the path he'd have me walk."

Then again, during the press conference I missed, he knew he had pulled off some boffo performances that made him a front runner, notably "No One" and "Me and Jesus."

"I think that I did have a lot of momentum going into the last episode, especially the finale," he said. "For me, I felt like everything was lining up the way that it should, and it was the right time for me. I was being rewarded from the world, and I had been putting a lot into everything that had led up to that day, and I really felt like my hard work was finally paying off."


His country sound instilled other genres such as rock, R&B and gospel. He credited Ray Charles for defining what he does decades earlier.

NBC was able to line up his favorite band Kiss for the season finale to sing with. But he said he had a rough time in rehearsals. "I was dropping lyrics. I know all of their songs, and I could be the lead singer if I had to. But when we were standing there, I was so amazing that it was actually happening, I didn't really know where I was."

Sundance jokingly said "besides marrying my wife and having three children, that's probably the fifth most important thing that's ever happened to me in my entire life. Even more important than winning 'The Voice,' I think, was just having the opportunity to play with Kiss on stage. As ridiculous as that sounds, that's how much it meant to be. And I know that no matter what happens, if I go on to actually be famous or I don't do anything else for the rest of my life, that's a moment in my life that I will never be able to have again."

He said he really wasn't ready in 2006 on "Idol."

"I didn't really have an identity as an artist, even to myself, so that was the first major problem with the whole thing," he explained. "And secondly, I didn't realize how important it was to pick a genre of music or a style of music and really try to target a fan base and try to continually target that fan base. On 'Idol,.' I was all over the place, and really none of it was good. ... There's just so many things I did wrong on that show."

Indeed, Vote for the Worst named him their pick three weeks in a row for a reason. And he himself was his own toughest critic in retrospect:

"Really, I had no talent. I didn't really know any songs. I couldn't play guitar. I didn't know myself as a human being, much less as an artist, and I hadn't discovered my vocal abilities."

A much more mature Head, now married with three children, came onto "The Voice" with a specific strategy - and it worked.

"I was so much more prepared as a person. I knew exactly what I wanted to do going into this, exactly what kind of strategy I had. I was going to try and cover as many female songs as I could that were females that I thought were super wonderful singers with great songs. And I tried to stick to that strategy as much as possible, and it did pay off for me."


Kelly Clarkson showed up to the "Voice" finale to sing with eventual runner up Billy Gilman for her "Hamilton Mixtape" cover "It's Quiet Uptown."


From Variety: 

“Pretty Little Liars” star and "American Juniors" winner Lucy Hale has been lined up to host the New Orleans countdown as part of the “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2017.” Hale will provide celebrity and fan interviews leading up to the midnight countdown and fleur-de-lis drop to ring in the New Year.


Jax, who finished third season 14, suffered thyroid cancer after the show ended in 2014 but is now healthy and recording a new EP independently. Here's the first single:

[soundcloud url="" params="color=ff5500" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]


After an extended break, Clay Aiken is back to singing!

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.