October 2, 2005By Rachel Kipp
Gannett News Service
Two seasons and two "American Idol" episodes later, some fans of the hit Fox program still are debating the fates of season three contestants LaToya London and Jasmine Trias.
But while television viewers and the media discuss who got voted out too early, who stayed too long and who has the most staying power, London says the only thing for her to do is laugh it off.
London's album, "Love & Life," was released Sept. 20, while Trias' self-titled album came out earlier this summer.
They enter an arena where season one winner Kelly Clarkson scored critical and commercial success with her award-winning second album, season two winner Ruben Studdard received a Grammy nomination, and the runner-up from that season Clay Aiken gained a rabid fan base. Even also-ran Josh Gracin became a rising country music star. But then there's also Justin Guarini and Diana DeGarmo, second place winners in season one and three respectively, who saw their CDs fade quickly upon arrival.
Other Idols who have released albums include George Huff, Tamyra Gray, Kimberley Locke, and even one who failed to be a finalist -- William Hung.
"I kind of had a vision for myself," Trias, 18, says when asked about the influence of those who came before her. "I wanted to have an album out and to make it R&B and try to make it into the mainstream and continue to do what I'm doing and never give up. The other American Idols, maybe they don't try too hard or something goes wrong, but I really don't want to be in that case where I'm not given the chance."
Post-Idol Trias, who was born in Hawaii to a family with origins in the Philippines, has been back and forth between her home state and that country, performing and doing endorsements. But she says the most fun was recording the album.
"I had a great time recording and working with the producers," Trias says. "I really got to work with great producers, and different producers with different work ethics."
London has made several appearances this summer, including singing the national anthem at the Taste of Chicago festival. One of the most exciting experiences for her was meeting the R&B group Jodeci at a summer festival near her hometown in East Oakland, Calif.
"I freaked out," London says. "I was so excited, I met all of them."
She describes "Love & Life" as having a "classic" sound, with plenty of the belting that made her an audience favorite on "Idol."
"I wanted to bring back that big, ballad type of music that we used to love so much," London says. "Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, when they first came out, that's what I grew up singing."