Gifted with a voice that was too big to be ignored, Season 7 "American Idol" runner-up David Archuleta was always meant to become a star. Born on Dec. 28, 1990 in Miami, FL to a jazz musician father and a singer mother, Archuleta started singing when he was just seven years old. At age 12, he competed on the long-running talent show "Star Search" (CBS, 1983-1995; 2002-04) and won the title of Junior Singer Star with his rendition of "You're All I Need to Get By" (1968), and a grand prize of $100,000. A few years later, he was put under vocal rest so he could recover from partial vocal paralysis, a condition that likely gave his voice a unique, airy quality to it, according to his former singing coach. In late 2007, Archuleta beat out millions of singing hopefuls in San Diego, CA and nabbed an opportunity to audition for the popular reality competition series "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ) during its seventh season. In front of "Idol" judges Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, Archuleta belted John Mayer's hit song "Waiting on the World to Change" (2006), and in spite of forgetting some of the lyrics, the judges deemed his voice strong enough to send to the semi-final rounds in Hollywood.
Archuleta quickly stood out from the pack of contestants who all vied for the chance to become the country's biggest pop star. Week after week, he wowed the judges and audiences with his soulful renditions of classic songs such as John Lennon's ballad "Imagine" (1971) and Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (1974). In addition to his amazing vocal range, Archuleta's boyish charm helped him gain a huge fan base of mostly preteen girls that, undoubtedly, sent him all the way to the finals. During the show's highly anticipated finale - dubbed the "Battle of the Davids" - Archuleta more than held his own against the other remaining contender, rocker David Cook. But in spite of Archuleta's best efforts, Cook garnered the majority of the votes and was declared the winner. Yet, Archuleta parlayed the national exposure into releasing his self-titled debut album in 2008, featuring the Billboard chart-topping pop single "Crush," performances on major award shows, sold-out concerts, and guest stints on teen sitcoms like Nickelodeon's "iCarly" (2007- ) and Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" (2006- ), where he appeared as himself. While Archuleta continued to make news in 2009, his dad Jeff also scored his own headlines after being arrested for patronizing a prostitute at a Salt Lake City, UT massage parlor. His father, who reportedly acted like a typical "stage dad" while his son competed on "Idol," was ordered to take a class and pay a fine. In October 2010, Archuleta released his album The Other Side of Down, which debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 charts.