About American Idol 5 Contestant Elliott Yamin
(Age 27) From Richmond, VA (Auditioned in Boston) – Elliott began singing at the ripe age of 5. His mother, who was a professional singer, is his inspiration and biggest fan. For Elliott, being on American Idol has allowed him to pursue his dream of singing professionally.
American Idol' finalist has ties to Glendora
By Nisha Gutierrez Staff Writer
GLENDORA - Claudette Yamin said before making it to "American Idol," her son Elliott was not the type of person to sing in front of a crowd.
"He was really a closet singer," Yamin, 64, said Monday. "If his friends would ask him to sing, he'd only do it if they turned off the lights."
No stranger to the San Gabriel Valley, Elliott Yamin, who now lives in Richmond, Va., made his way to Hollywood in February to sing in the finals of the "American Idol" competition.
His mother followed closely behind.
"Being in Glendora and staying here with my friends has been great," Yamin said. "It's been my home away from home and it's nice to be back."
Elliott Yamin, 27, was born in Los Angeles and raised in Pasadena before moving to Virginia while in middle school with his family.
Claudette Yamin said before reaching the coveted stage of "American Idol," her son faced a number of obstacles.
At 16, Elliott Yamin was diagnosed with diabetes, he dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, earned his GED and worked as a disc jockey and pharmacy clerk.
"He was a lost little boy," Yamin said. "He was really trying to find himself and I think he finally has."
She said Elliott Yamin has had no professional training and only sang in karaoke bars a few times. She said seeing how his life has changed since the competition started is unreal.
"I still can't believe it because it crept up on us," Yamin said. "I still look at him on stage and ask myself, who is this person? He's in the top five and it's absolutely amazing."
Although Elliott Yamin has been exposed to red carpets, autograph signings and millions
of people rooting for him each week, Claudette Yamin said her son has managed to stay the same person he was back in Virginia.
"Above and beyond his talent, Elliott has such a kindness about him," she said. "People come up to me and tell me he is so gracious, and then they say, `Oh, and by the way he's a great singer too.' That makes me feel good because I had a part of that, I raised him to always be grounded."
Vicky Guerrero, 25, of El Monte, said Elliott Yamin's personality is one of the reasons so many people vote for him every week. "He is very humble in his performances and every time you see him on TV his personality doesn't seem to change. He takes both criticism and compliments very well," Guerrero said. "He's like the average guy who's getting further than people expected."
Elliott Yamin will be performing on American Idol at 8 tonight on Fox 11, along with Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Paris Bennett and Taylor Hicks.
"Elliott is the underdog, he has raw emotional talent," Claudette Yamin said. "He sings from his heart, because he loves it and he feels it and I hope he continues to do well."