The Clay Aiken doppelgänger sang on the show's May 24 finale and got the surprise of his life when Aiken joined him onstage. But after his big moment, Sandecki (who got rejected at his first Idol audition) did some soul searching. "I kind of got thrown into the spotlight. I had to question myself: Where do I fit in? Who am I?" he says. Now the Phoenix-based Sandecki, 22—who does clerical work for an on-line school—has changed his look so as not to be mistaken for Aiken. Still, he's not giving up his dream. "I eat, live and breathe music, and I'm going to make it somehow," says Sandecki. "But now I just want to be Mike."
THE LITTLE DIVA
After being kicked off Idol, the brash wannabe promised, "I will be talked about." Turns out she was right. Last summer, Gethers, 26, replaced the lead singer of the Bomb Squad, a funk-rock band that won an American Music Award for Best New Music in 2003. "I feel so grateful," says Gethers, a former health-care-firm coordinator who lives outside Boston. Hey, what happened to the attitude? "That was just one side of me," says Gethers, whose Idol reputation remains larger than life. "I get recognized every day. People think I was Top 3, [but] I only made it to Top 20."
THE CRYING COWBOY
Since getting booted from [Idol], Johnson, 19, is making out just fine. "I've kissed, I don't know ... 25 girls, I'm guessing," he says. And before [Idol]? "Besides my mom?" he asks. "None." When he's not breaking hearts, Johnson works on his family's Veteran, Wyo., ranch. He's still hoping for a music career, but no rush. "I need more seasoning first," he says. "I don't need to be a big star yet."
DERRELL & TERRELL BRITTENUM
The identical twins, 29, had their [AI] stint cut short when they got arrested (they used another man's identity to buy a car). They had to pay court costs and restitution and perform 96 hours of community service. Cooking for, feeding and, yes, singing to retirement-home residents taught them some better values, says Derrell. "Being a helping hand makes you feel really good inside," he says. Up next for the pair? The March release of their R&B CD [Here I Am].
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