American Idol season 7 alum, and Australian native, Michael Johns, is dead at age 35, reportedly from a blood clot to his ankle. It’s shocking news and a tragic loss. Prayers go out to his wife, Stacey, and the rest of his family and friends.
If we’re remembering Michael, we need to take a dive into his remarkable performances over the years. The man had a soulful, gritty rasp, and a way with emoting a lyric. He didn’t become a superstar after he was eliminated from Idol–many would say shockingly–in 8th place, but he kept at his career, releasing some beautiful music.
One of his last tweets was on July 10th, in which he shared his enthusiasm about a song he was working on in the studio. I hope he finished it, as one last performance for his fans.
Headed to the studio to work on new song called ‘Reckless’ been waiting a long time for this one
— Michael Johns (@michael_johns) July 10, 2014
He was in the studio on July 3rd, with his puppy in tow.
Michael had an incredible sense of humor. I loved that he took to the cheesy (but awesome) Idol group numbers with RELISH. Check out the EPIC chest bump with season 7 winner and BFF, David Cook, at the 1:11 mark during a performance of “Right Back Where We Started From” from the Top 10 results show.
Remember The Four Horsemen? That would be Michael, David, Luke Menard and Jason Yeager who all made the Top 24 together.
During the summer tour, Michael and David would throw in something a little extra during the finale number, and it was always hilarious. Here’s a compilation of awesome “Mavid” moments during the 2008 summer tour. Eventually, TPTB put a stop to the 0ff-script shenanigans, but they were back after long and loud complaints from the fans.
During the competition, Michael caught the judges attention with an impressive rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” That performance cemented him as a competition front runner.
Michael’s heart rending performance of “It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright” for Dolly Parton week at Top 9 was arguably his best performance of the competition.
Randy and Simon slammed this performance. But they were wrong. Michael’s aching rendition of “Across the Universe” for Beatles week, Top 11 was underrated, and one of my favorites. Paula was right.
David performed with David Foster and had a cut on the producer’s compilation, Hitman. Here’s Michael performing “She’s a Beauty/Man in Motion” Live at one of Foster’s concerts.
Michael and Carly Smithson had returned to American Idol to mentor the Season 8 hopefuls at a Hollywood Week “bootcamp.” The footage wasn’t used, but they did get to return to the first results show of the season to perform a duet of “The Letter” together. They smashed it, of course.
After American Idol, Michael released a single, “Heart on My Sleeve” co-written by James Morrison. Here’s a lovely acoustic version of the song.
Along with “Heart on My Sleeve”, “Fools Gold” was from his post Idol debut, Heart on My Sleeve. Here’s an acoustic performance from an Australian radio appearance.
Michael wrote a song called “Life is Ok” and in 2009 invited fellow Season 7 alum, Brooke White to duet on it. The duo even toured together that year. Here’s an acoustic version of the song from their mini-tour.
In October of 2012, I was invited to attend the Little Kids Rock Gala as a member of the press! One of the highlights was meeting Michael and his wife. I videod Michael performing the Steven Van Zandt song “Salvation”