Whatever happened to Justin Guarini?

92239__justin_lGhosts of the Brian Dunkleman era continue to rise from beyond. First came the announcement that first-season reruns of American Idol will surface in syndication this fall. Now comes word that vanished Season 1 runner-up Justin Guarini is alive and well and putting out a second album. Talking to MTV News, he seems remarkably not bitter and says he still watches AI every week just like you do. He’s also recorded a new album, Stranger Things Have Happened, whose sound will come as a surprise to fans of the curly-haired crooner’s previous pop sound: It’s an album of lounge standards, with Justin backed by a serious acoustic jazz quartet playing tropical-tinged arrangements. It’s not bad; you can hear some of it at his website, where he’s distributing the album himself until he can get a label to pick it up.

Could Guarini make a comeback as a Michael Bublé-style jazz act? Stranger things indeed.

addCredit(“Justin Guarini: Amy Graves/WireImage.com”)

Comments (26 total)
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  • John

    Remember in the early 90’s when we got super groups made up of the members of other failed rock groups? We’re just a heartbeat away from a pop supergroup made up of Guarini, Ashley from O Town, Lance Bass, and a Backstreet Boy to be named later. If a repackaged pop super-group is a comeback, welcome back Justin. Welcome back.

  • Doug

    Wow…from the website samples…if I’m being honest…not good enough. The arraingements are a mess and his voice is lightyears from polished enough to carry off that type of music. Back to the garage(band) with ya’, boy!

  • Stephanie

    John, are you refering to “Damn Yankees” or “Temple of the Dog”? “Damn Yankees” was geriatric cheese, but “High Enough” was a decent song that was just over played. Temple of the Dog” ( Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell ) was a one time stunt to pay tribute to late grunge singer Andrew Wood. Actually one of my favorites spliced groups from the late 80’s, early 90’s was “Electronic” which was The Smiths/Pet Shop Boys/New Order. Anyway about Justin, he was bad when he was on Idol, and still is. He can’t act, sing, and looks like Al Jarraeus grandson. No offense.

  • Anda

    Justin G. was serenading the Georgia state assembly yesterday. We’d like him to go away now.

  • Ep Sato

    I still can’t get over how he cut off the locks. That hair was totally part of his charm and he cut it off! Kinda like when Lenny Kravitz got rid of the hair, he sort of had to disapear for a few years. IMHO, he jumped into the extreme makeover a little too fast.
    As for lounge albums, that scene was really hip a decade ago, you know, back when Vince Vaughn and John Favreau were still in decent shape and looked young? Worst thing to do is release an album in 2006 and hear everyone say “that is soooo 1997″.

  • kosmo vinyl

    I saw him do a brief appearence last year at a private event in DC with the Commadores and two other recent AI runner-ups and he was already moving towards doing standards. I knew his career had truly tanked then, as starting to do standards is the last gasp at trying to sell records. Why do people snap this stuff up?

  • mereed3929

    Justin’s album is absolutely fabulous, as anyone would know who has actually LISTENED to it. Its getting wonderful reviews, and is a completely new take on jazz standards that haven’t been heard in a long while. So its not the same old, same old,its something entirely new. It contains truly great songs by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and the other masters of songwriting, like Rodgers and Hart. There’s one original song on the album, by Greg Gordon Smith, and it fits right in, its that good.
    And Justin’s voice is gorgeous on it … like buttah baby. He’s truly amazing. Anyone who says he can’t sing is just spouting AI propaganda (just like they want you to do, lemmingsss! lol), and doesn’t have a clue about what they’re talking about.
    Of course one would not expect readers of EW to appreciate really good music. But this could be a start for you folks. You can order the cd at Justin’s new website http://www.JustinGuarini.com.
    Then you might, you know, actually know what you’re talking about in these comments, instead of just spouting the usual hot air. What a concept! lol.

  • JMS

    I am loving Justin’s new CD, Stranger Things Have Happened. His voice is smooth and soulful and he has an incredible range. The musical arrangements are awesome. Justin and all the wonderful musicians(Greg Gordon Smith, Katisse Buckingham, Ian Martin and Jamey Tate) on this CD sound like they have been playing together for years. I am glad Justin didn’t let the naysayers stop him from doing what he was born to do-sing. I am so glad he is making a comeback. The world has been denied his talent for too long. I applaud him for persevering and not giving up in spite of the negativity that has followed him. Everyone loves a comeback story so head over to his website:www.JustinGuarini.com. and purchase a copy of new CD. Don’t knock it until you listen to the entire CD, the clips on the site don’t do justice to the magic that the full songs convey. Welcome Back Justin Guarini!!

  • Livin

    Justin Guarini has found his groove. It’s Jazz. His new cd is more than worth purchasing. Anyone who knows anything about good music and loves it… especially the standards… will love Justin’s smooth, soulful rendition of “Night and Day”, “My Funny Valentine”, “Sing”…just to name a few.
    He is accompanied by Greg Gordon Smith tickling the Ivorys, Jamey Tate on Drums, Katisse Buckingham on Flute, Tenor Sax and Soprano Sax and Ian Martin on Bass.
    The musical arrangement of this cd is fabulous with Justin’s beautiful voice blending as if it were another instrument. Truly a great Jazz cd. I recommend it highly to those who appreciate and know wonderful music
    when they hear it.

  • Sandra

    I purchsed Justin CD and “it’s not bad” at all actually, it’s great!! His smooth, silky voice is on full display here with a unique interpretation of these classic standards, breathing new life into them. The other musicians are equally talented and together they create magic. I’m glad to see Justin back where he belongs because his talent justifies it!!

  • pat

    I love Justin’s new cd “Stranger Things Have Happened”!
    It’s true, the brief snippets on the website don’t give an accurate picture of how wonderful the cd. in its entirety is. Each song is like a unique little jewel, sung beautifully, creatively, evocatively and from the heart. I wasn’t a jazz fan before, but the more I listened to this wonderful cd. the more I got to know the songs and appreciate them and now I thoroughly enjoy each song.
    I can’t even pick a favorite because they are all different and all terrific! What a great cd to listen to on the long drive home, or relaxing in the evening.
    Good Job Justin!
    The only thing better will be getting to hear Justin and the band perform these songs live in concert.
    What a treat that will be!

  • Carly

    I’ve missed Justin Guarini and am so happy to see him back. I went to his website and listened to some of the clips, and I love it! This is real music, with real musicians, not one speck of all the other studio gadgets that so many of the current singers employ to make themselves sound good. I miss hearing these types of songs on the radio. This music, these musicians and Justin’s smooth vocals suit him perfectly. Welcome back Justin!

  • Anna

    Well obviously a few of you don’t get jazz! The musical arrangement was very professional and I enjoyed Justins take on most of these old standards. I especially enjoyed the title cut and Sing. I bought the Cd and did not hate any of the numbers and that is saying alot. Usually I truly only like 2-3 songs on most cd’s.
    Several of my friends have bought it and say they love it altho they are usually into rock. I think some of you need to take a second listen and with an open mind this time!

  • wondergirl

    Justin’s album is spectacular. His voice is like a soft breeze on a cool, spring day. The arrangements are terrific and the musicians flow well with Justin’s voice. He’s always been the most talented from American Idol and continues to be. Hope he goes on tour with this album. I’d love to hear these songs in a small club.

  • Jarrett S.

    I’ve heard Guarini’s album and it’s actually very good. I was prepared not to like it because I thought it might be old fashioned, but it’s not. There’s a definite modern jazz twist to the music. Plus, Guarini is fantastic. The music and vocals are front and center, so there’s no hiding anything. Both Guarini and the musicians handle it with ease. The album’s artistic without being stuffy.
    As for him performing for the Georgia assembly, I read he got a standing ovation.
    I wish him well. I think he’s a unique natural talent.

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