Dillon James of Bakersfield, California, United States competed in the 18th season of the ABC singing reality show “American Idol.” The singer, songwriter and actor finished in the Top 5.
Auditioning for “American Idol” Season 18 was not part of James’ plans. He revealed to The Californian, “I did a performance in L.A. at Lower Deck Sessions and someone from ‘American Idol’ saw it and reached out to me.”
“I had never thought of doing a show like this before,” James continued. “‘American Idol’ offered a huge platform for me to try and help people struggling with the same things I do.”
Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, “American Idol” Season 18 aired on ABC from February 16, 2020 to May 17, 2020 with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie as the judges. Because of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the latter episodes of the show featured James and his fellow contestants filming from their homes.
Quarantined in California, James sang from his home backyard for the Mother’s Day episode of “American Idol” Season 18. He dedicated his performances of the songs “Our Town” from the Disney movie “Cars” and “Hang On, Hang On” by Amos Lee to his mother Lindy who was watching nearby.
James sang “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan in his “American Idol” Season 18 audition in Los Angeles, California and “Change the World” by Eric Clapton and “The Times They Are A-Changin” by Dylan in the finale. Here are 13 more interesting facts about the Bakesfield native:
- His real name is Dillon Galanski.
- His brother Garrett Galanski played football when he studied Physical Education in Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas, USA.
- He started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old.
- In 2012, he won the inaugural songwriting competition of the International Modeling and Talent Association at the IMTA New York Convention.
- In 2013, he played a teenage country singer in the Lifetime movie “A Country Christmas Story,” which starred Dolly Parton, Brian McKnight and Megyn Price.
- He suffered from alcohol and drugs abuse for five years.
- At one point, he became homeless.
- He has been sober for more than 2 years when he joined “American Idol” Season 18.
- In 2019, he released his first EP titled “Good Ole Boy,” which featured “Open Roads,” “Third Eye,” “Shooting Doubles” and three other songs.
- In April 2020, he released an album titled “Unstable Pride” with 13 songs including “Covered in Gold,” “Don’t Mind My Mind” and “Wide Awake.”
- In “American Idol,” he was contestant number 31,051.
- Before “American Idol” Season 18, he was a construction worker.
- Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green is one of his music influences.