What happened to David Archuleta after American Idol?

From Taylor Hicks of “Soul Patrol” fame to acoustic crooner Kris Allen, you could drum up a pretty comprehensive game night out of “where are they now?” American Idol contestants. And, unfortunately, at the top of everyone’s lists would be David Archuleta.

Back in 2008, the baby-faced, soft-spoken Mormon teen from Utah (only 16 years old when he first auditioned, per People) captured the hearts of America with a sweet personality and powerful renditions of songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Smooth-voiced Archuleta sailed through the competition and finished, in a surprise to many, second to rocker David Cook. But the finale broke records, drawing an astounding 97 million votes. So while Archuleta didn’t take home the crown in the “battle of the Davids,” he was essentially a household name… and a teen sensation. Younger viewers across middle America wanted to date him, and their moms and aunts wanted to just pinch those cheeks. Tell us it’s not true!

Archuleta made good on his sudden superstardom. His debut single, “Crush,” spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and his self-titled, post-Idol debut album sold 1 million units worldwide (via MTV News). He also had cameos soon after on iCarly and on Hannah Montana, singing alongside Miley Cyrus. Sadly, since then, the adorable singer’s career has gone the way of so many ’00s-era Idol winners. Hey, we’re not all Kelly Clarkson!

What is David Archuleta up to these days? Scroll down to find out! 

David Archuleta went on a Mormon mission, then returned to music

So, what has David Archuleta done since American Idol? Back in 2010, per MTV News, Archuleta’s sophomore album landed with an unfortunate thud, pushing just 60,000 units. He was dropped by his label, Jive Records, proving, perhaps more than anyone, the difficulty of maintaining post-Idol momentum. In 2012, he starred in the Filipino mini-series, Nandito Ako, and around that time, took a break from show-biz to go on a two-year Mormon mission, per Entertainment Weekly. 

But more recently, Archuleta returned to music. With seven studio albums under his belt since his well-selling debut, he still has 2 million monthly Spotify listeners. Impressive! He put out his latest, titled Therapy Sessions, in 2020. According to Tampa Bay Times, the album was inspired by mental health and hope. “I was just writing about my own therapy sessions,” the singer told the outlet. “A lot of that had to do with uncertainty, fear, having courage, feeling down, feeling lost, like, What do I do now? And now everyone is going through that.”

Ever-earnest Archuleta added that he poured his feelings about the industry, and about resilience, into the album. “The entertainment industry is based so much on your persona and how well you connect with other people,” he said. “And so it leaves you really vulnerable… You’re looked at as an object.” Well, while Archuleta may not be Idol’s biggest star today, he shouldn’t be discouraged. He’s still bringing fans joy!

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