×

‘American Idol’ Alum Danny Gokey: ABC Made ‘A Mistake’ in Nixing Funny Auditions

That "hooked a lot of people in," says the season eight finalist and Christian artist.

Fresh off his first Grammy nomination for the album “Rise,” “American Idol” season eight alum Danny Gokey has signed a new recording contract with Capitol Christian Music Group.

In a recent interview with Variety, Gokey noted that it has been 10 years since he first auditioned for the singing competition, which aired on Fox for 15 seasons. “If I can encourage anyone, I went on the biggest show in music, and then I signed with a record label and got dropped,” says Gokey. “So not everything happens in the moment you want it to happen.”

Through season nine, which aired in 2010, “American Idol” finalists were contracted to Sony Music labels via 19 recordings. Future seasons saw music released through Universal Music Group and, on the ABC reboot, premiering March 11, finalists’ recordings will be issued by Hollywood Records, a subsidiary of Disney.

Gokey was signed to RCA Nashville upon finishing third on the show in 2009. “There were a few years of silence,” he says. “And then in 2014 with my new label [BMG], I released my first song and it went to No.1 [on the U.S. Christian charts]. And in 2017 I got a Grammy nomination.”

Gokey’s drive is what attracted Capitol to come to the table. Said Brad O’Donnell, CCMG’s chief creative officer, in announcing the signing: “Danny is an artist that we have admired for some time. He’s an incredible singer, passionate communicator and has a strong sense of who he is as an artist. When the opportunity came along to work with him we jumped at the chance.”

“The passion, creativity and vision Danny brings has already brought him so much success, and we are honored to come alongside him and his team to serve his gifts moving forward,” added CCMG chief marketing officer Hudson Plachy.

With all of his good fortune, Gokey says he also makes sure to support other “Idol” alums, like fellow season 8 finalist Alison Iraheta, who is about to release a new album with her band Halo Circus called “Robots and Wranglers.”

“She was my wife’s favorite that year, I was not,” says Gokey with a laugh. “Alison Iraheta is one of the most talented people on that season.”

He also praises season three alum and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, who will play Aretha Franklin in a sanctioned movie about the iconic singer’s life. “[Jennifer] is killing the game,” he adds. “That is a big thing that she is doing. She’s been through some stuff, and it doesn’t stop her. I think that is encouragement and inspiration to all of us.”

As for future “American Idol” standouts, Gokey says he’s interested to see what ABC has up its sleeve, but is lamenting one aspect of the old “Idol.”

“I heard they are not doing the funny auditions, and if we are going to be quite honest, the funny auditions hooked a lot of people in, and then unknowingly, those people stuck to watching the show,” says Gokey. “So I think they are making a mistake not having that. But it’s a great show, and I hope that a lot of people get a chance — like myself — who wouldn’t have had a chance before.”

More TV

  • Whoopi Goldberg addresses the crowd while

    Inside World Pride's Opening Ceremony: An LGBTQ Celebration With a Tinge of Politics

    World Pride officially kicked off on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. About 8,000 people packed into the arena for a three-hour show that began with Cyndi Lauper singing her hit “True Colors.” The performance ended with a gaggle of dancing drag queens who pranced alongside Lauper as she turned the train of [...]

  • Democratic presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth

    The Messy NBC Democratic Debate Proves the Need for a Tier System (Column)

    The opening night of the first debates of the 2020 Democratic Party primaries brought — even by the standards of such way-far-out confrontations between candidates for whom the election remains a far-off dream — vastly more empty drama than new information. But then, that may have been by design. NBC News’s organization of the debates, [...]

  • Max Wright Dead

    'Alf' Actor Max Wright Dies at 75

    Max Wright, best known for playing patriarch Willie Tanner on the sitcom “Alf,” died Wednesday. He was 75. Wright’s family confirmed his death to TMZ. The actor died in his home in Hermosa Beach, Calif., after years of battling cancer. Wright was diagnosed with Lymphona in 1995. Wright is most famous for his role as [...]

  • Greyson Chance -Gabby Barrett Alejandro Aranda

    Greyson Chance, 'Idol' Alums Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda Sign Major Label Deals

    Two “American Idol” alumni — Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda — as well as viral star Greyson Chance all announced new major label recording contracts this week. Barrett, who finished in third place of the first season of the rebooted ABC version of “Idol,” has joined the roster of Warner Music Nashville. The singer had [...]

  • amazon-studios

    YouTube Head of Scripted Jon Wax in Talks to Join Amazon Studios

    YouTube’s head of scripted programming, Jon Wax, is in talks to join Amazon Studios, according to an individual with knowledge of the matter. Wax is said to be in discussions for head of genre programming at Amazon, a position held by Sharon Tal Yguado until recently. Variety reported on her exit in early May. The [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA Takes Aim at Endeavor IPO, Tells Members It Has 'Sufficient Funds' for Legal Battle

    The Writers Guild of America has gone to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its battle with Hollywood’s largest talent agencies over the issue of packaging fees and affiliated production. The guild sent a letter to William Hinman, director of the SEC’s corporate finance division, the guild accuses WME parent company Endeavor of misrepresenting the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content