Vanessa Denae Olivarez (born February 3, 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American singer best known as the first finalist to be eliminated on the second season of the television series American Idol.
Olivarez auditioned for American Idol's second season with a rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in 2002. Paula Abdul was not present for Olivarez's audition, but both Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson were impressed by Olivarez and put her through to Hollywood. Olivarez impressed the judges once again during a round where contestants had to write their own songs. Olivarez wrote a song called "The Only Thing Special About You Is Me." She was then placed in the top 32 contestants of the season.
Olivarez performed for the first time in front of America on February 18th, 2003. She sang Irene Cara's "Out Here On My Own." The judges were impressed, but Cowell told Olivarez that she needed to lose weight. Olivarez responded by shaking her rear at him and saying "it worked for J-Lo!" She received encouragement from Abdul and Jackson, and was voted into the top 12 by America. Olivarez performed once again on March 11th, singing The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On". The comments from the judges were mixed. They didn't think Olivarez performed badly, but they said it was "pitchy" in spots and that it wasn't her best. Controversy began here when host Ryan Seacrest interviewed Olivarez after the performance and she made a comment which many viewers thought to be somewhat rude. Seacrest later reminded viewers that Olivarez's comment was previously scripted, but many believe that this still hurt Olivarez's chances in the competition. Olivarez landed in the show's bottom three and was eliminated on March 12th, 2003, after receiving the lowest number of votes from America.
Olivarez was the only finalist of the group not invited to participate in the group musical tour following the end of the series, aside from Corey Clark who had been eliminated due to an ongoing criminal case in which he was involved. She was also not on the compilation album All-Time Classic American Love Songs.
After American IdolEdit
Olivarez was eventually contacted by Canadian songwriter/actor James Collins and he brought Vanessa to Toronto, Canada to write and record some new music. Her first single, a song called "The One," (written by Olivarez, James Collins and Dave Pickell), with "I'm In Love With My Best Friend's Ex" as a B-Side, reached #9 on Canada's single charts & Top 30 on the Canadian BDS airplay chart. Although another of her songs, entitled "As Vain As You"(also co-written with Collins & Pickell), ended up on a "Girls Night Out 3" compilation, Olivarez did not release any albums in Canada. She did, however, star in the 7 month 2004 Toronto production of Hairspray, in the lead role of Tracy Turnblad. It was for this role that Vanessa was nominated for a Dora Award in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Principal Role-Musical.
Olivarez returned to the United States after the production ended. She has since appeared on On Air With Ryan Seacrest and joined a musical group called Butterfly Stitch. The group has released an EP as well as a live album and plans to release a full studio album sometime in 2006. In April, the group reached #2 for three straight weeks with the poignant Americana ballad, "Radical Love". Other songs that have made the Idol Waves Top 15 include "California Red", "Good For Me" and "Miami".
Olivarez also co-wrote a song for Sugarland called "Sugarland", which appeared on their Enjoy the Ride album.
Olivarez is also a former lead singer of a country act South 70.
|Ruben Studdard · Clay Aiken · Kimberley Locke · Josh Gracin · Trenyce · Carmen Rasmusen · Kimberly Caldwell · Rickey Smith · Corey Clark · Julia DeMato · Charles Grigsby · Vanessa Olivarez|