American Idol is really heating up now that we're down to the final seven. One of those finalists is Dillon James, who continues to find ways to stand out from the rest of the talented artists.
The very first time the judges met the Bakersfield, California native, they were instantly drawn to his country swag and soulful vocals.
"I think it was really just done with feeling and honesty," Luke told the artist after he had finished his audition singing Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love." Lionel also chimed in that it was a "no brainer" to send him through to the next round.
Later on in the competition, Dillon continued to wow the panel in Hollywood week and the Hawaii showcase, earning him a spot in the top 21 and, eventually, the finale. But years before his journey on Idol ever began, Dillon was struggling to find his way in his early 20s.
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"I had a good home life and kind of as I got older, I met my trials and tribulations through drugs and alcohol," Dillon explained on the show. "A lot of things happened to me that made me turn into the man [that] I am today, trying to do better than what I was doing before."
Eventually, Dillon found himself "on the street with no money" and had "pretty much lost everything."
On the show, he recalled: "I found like a big old parking structure and [I thought] I might as well sleep up there. I would put my arm and my leg off the edge of the parking structure, and sort of said, 'I'm asleep like this. If I fall off, I fall off, at least I won't have to think about it, because I'll be asleep.'"
Feeling so BLESSED, love everyone of you! Tune in next Sunday to see if I make through to top 20 or go back home. @americanidol 🙏 and if u wanna listen to some of my original music,check out my “Good Ole Boy” ep on all streamin platforms. Lmk what ur favorite song is?:) got a new record comin in hottttttttt ✊stay tuned
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With the love of his family behind him, Dillon turned it all around — and now, he's been sober for over two years. He currently works with his dad at an asphalt company to support his aspiring music career. For Dillon, music is the constant that has been there with him, through it all.
In 2019, Dillon released an EP called Good Ole Boy, followed by an April 2020 album called Unstable Pride.
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Prior to his album, Dillon was already making strides in the industry. In 2012, he won the International Modeling and Talent Association's Inaugural Songwriting Competition at the IMTA New York Convention. One year later, Dillon was cast in Lifetime's A Country Christmas Story starring Dolly Parton (which may explain why he looks so familiar) — not surprisingly, Dillon played a teenage country singer for the film.
Looking ahead, Dillon has made it clear that no matter what happens on Idol from this point forward, he's just thrilled to have the opportunity to do what he loves.
"I just wanna say how PROUD I am of all of these incredible human beings, you are all so unique and beautiful in your own ways. It has been such a pleasure to be around each of you and I’ve learn[ed] so much from you guys," he wrote on an Instagram featuring his other fellow Idol hopefuls."Truly an honor in my life."
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