Kelly Clarkson was the official winner of the first-ever season of American Idol, but we all know from the years that came after that that finding post-Idol fame is rarely that simple. Just ask Justin Guarini, Clarkson's runner-up, who did not pull a Clay Aiken by becoming the more famous one, and who largely fell off the radar post-Idol. But he's fine, you guys! Justin Guarini's on Broadway now, and the Tonys reminded us of that!
To a certain sect of people between the ages of 22 and 40, the buoyant and boyish Guarini rocked throughout his Idol days is a wonderful, vaguely traumatizing reminder of the early 2000s. So is, for that matter, From Justin To Kelly, that movie he made with Clarkson immediately following Idol to best capitalize on their fame. It was...not amazing. Let's just say there's a reason there wasn't one starring Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard.
Guarini joined the cast of the Broadway production of Wicked this past February; he's playing Fiyero, love interest to Elphaba and crush to all. And what he was doing immediately prior to this was pretty cool (and weird), too: He was playing Paris opposite Orlando Bloom's Romeo in Broadway's Romeo & Juliet. Oh, and he'd like everyone to know the rumors of his post- Idol poverty were greatly exaggerated:
My money troubles were really sensationalized by the media [Guarini posted a personal blog in fall 2013 that mentioned skipping meals]. It’s not even remotely the truth. What I really wanted to get across is that I wasn’t facing poverty or even close to poverty, but that I was humbled by life now as opposed to what it was 10 years ago. Ten years ago I was a millionaire and I didn’t know what to do with it. And I thought that type of money was always going to be there for me. And here I am 10 years later still very well taken care of, but I have three kids. Ten years ago it was just me and I could spend the money however I wanted .
Alright, you go be fancy at your Tonys, Guarini — but we'll always remember From Justin To Kelly. We don't have the power to forget.