David Archuleta became one of the most recognizable figures on television in 2008, when his strong tenor vocals and boyish charm helped earn him a second-place finish in American Idol’s seventh season. Although born in Miami, FL, Archuleta spent most of his childhood in Utah, where he lived with his parents (Jeff, a jazz trumpeter, and Lupe Maire, a Honduran salsa singer) and four siblings. Inspired by a videotaped performance of Les Miserables, he began singing at age six, and his talent allowed him to secure performances at the Utah Talent Competition, The Jenny Jones Show, and Star Search, where he was crowned Junior Vocal Champion in 2003.
David Archuleta auditioned for American Idol in 2007, earning his first praise from the judging panel with a rendition of John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” He advanced to the semifinals and remained with the show throughout its entire season, delivering strong, passionate performances of such pop ballads as “Another Day in Paradise,” “Angels,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” At 17 years old, Archuleta was the season’s youngest contestant, and the constant presence of his father raised some questions about David’s ability to make decisions on his own. His confident vocals did not invite much skepticism, however, as he ultimately emerged as the first runner-up to David Cook and inked a deal with 19 Recordings. “Crush,” the first single from his self-titled debut album, debuted at number two in August, while the accompanying David Archuleta followed in November.
Archuleta’s album went gold within several months, and the singer spent the first half of 2009 touring alongside McFly in the U.K. and Disney star Demi Lovato in America. He also found time to record a holiday-themed album, Christmas from the Heart, which was released later that year.