John Stevens (singer)
Stevens is originally from East Amherst, New York. Stevens auditioned for the third season of American Idol in New York City singing "Amore" as an impersonation of Dean Martin. After the judges asked him to sing in his normal voice, he then performed "The Way You Look Tonight" and was put through to the next round.
Stevens was a member of the fourth group of semifinalists. He was the top finisher among his group of eight semifinalists, earning 28% of the popular vote.
Stevens' favorite singer is Frank Sinatra, to whom his vocal style has been compared. His vocal style has also earned him the nickname "Teen Martin" because of his Dean Martin impersonation and ability to croon at such a young age.
Stevens was the source of much controversy when the results of the top seven show ("Barry Manilow Week") were broadcast. Conventional wisdom said that LaToya London, Fantasia Barrino and Jennifer Hudson were the most talented singers of the seven, yet "The Three Divas" all ended up in the bottom three. Racism was alleged to be a factor, but more likely, the three black women, who were competing for the same demographic, ended up splitting the vote. Another key factor was possibly Stevens' appeal to teenage girls, who are more likely to vote hundreds of times, whereas adults are more likely to vote only a few times. Regardless, after Hudson was voted off, Ryan Seacrest reported that Stevens told Hudson that "it should have been me." Many critics of the show, from late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to singer Elton John, heartily agreed, suggesting that Stevens' success only proved that American Idol viewers based their votes on what they saw instead of what they heard.
April 27th, 2004 was "Latin Week," a tribute to the music of Gloria Estefan. Stevens gave a heartfelt performance of "Music of My Heart," and Simon Cowell credited Stevens with taking every barb and criticism like a man. Then he went on to tell the teenaged crooner that he and Latin music went together "like chocolate ice cream and an onion." The next day, Stevens was voted off the show, coming in sixth place despite receiving more than four million votes.