‘Voice’ Standout Jamar Rogers Discusses His Past with HIV, Addiction & ‘Idol’
Speaking to Reality Rocks this week, Jamar reveals that while "Idol" producers knew about his drug-addled past, they didn't know his whole story. "I did talk to them about the drug use. I was very candid; as a matter of fact, I was under the impression that they were going to use that as a part of my story. But they didn't," he begins. "But I was not in a comfortable place to talk about being HIV-positive. Man, I was petrified. I was just scared s***less. I was worried that the producers would find out, and I hadn't come to terms with it myself. I wasn't at a place I could talk about it, and the best thing that they could have ever done for me is eliminate me, because I was able to move to New York and from there get the counseling that I needed to come to grips with everything. I got to a place where I had to just stop running from myself. I had to finally just stand up and face the music. And one of the ways I did that was by volunteering at some amazing organizations in New York that dealt with people who were living with HIV, and I began to see other human faces for it, and it began to change my own prejudices."
Season 8 was not Jamar's only run only "Idol": He tried out way back in Season 3, but it was not meant to be. "The only time they actually showed me singing was when I was messing up, which is quite funny," laughs Jamar. "But that when I was at the height of my drug use, and it was actually a huge blessing in disguise that they cut me back then, because there was no way I could've handled it." Jamar also gave "Idol" a final try in Season 9, but he says that time he voluntarily walked away from the show. "I did audition again, and I made it to the judges' round, but I didn't show up. I dropped out," Jamar reveals. "And the reason I dropped out is when I was going through the audition rounds again, for the third time, I knew the executive producers, we were on a first-name basis, and they were still just saying things that made me feel really crappy about myself. Like, 'The judges don't really like repeaters, we don't even know why you came back.' And the thing is, they asked me to come back! I felt like they were already knocking me down before I even got to sing for the judges, and I was like, 'You know what? I'm good.' My heart and emotions could not take this for one more season, so I said screw it and packed up and moved to New York. And the rest is history."