Allison Iraheta

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Allison Iraheta
Allison Iraheta.jpg
Iraheta in March 2010
Background information
Born (1992-04-27) April 27, 1992 (age 24)
Glendale, California
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Pop rock
Occupation(s) Singer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active 2006–present
Associated acts

Allison Iraheta (born April 27, 1992) is an American singer from Los Angeles, California, who was the fourth place finalist on the eighth season of American Idol.[2] Prior to Idol, Iraheta won the Telemundo competition Quinceañera: Mamá Quiero Ser Artista.[3] Following the conclusion of Idol, Iraheta was signed to a record deal with 19 Entertainment and Jive Records.[4] Her debut album Just Like You was released on December 1, 2009.[5] She is currently the lead singer in the band Halo Circus.


Iraheta was born in Glendale, California, to Salvadoran immigrants who moved to the United States before she was born.[3] She is the youngest in the family, with two older siblings, Jacki and Carlos Iraheta.[6] According to her family, she has been singing since she was a toddler.[7] In 2001, she began taking voice lessons with Raphael Enriquez at the Los Angeles Music and Art School, a non-profit community school of the arts in East Los Angeles.[8] Before rising to prominence, she was a frequent performer at the local Latin Electronics Store La Curaçao and the Los Angeles Music and Art School's annual benefit concert, Stars for the Arts.[6] Iraheta attended Los Angeles' Animo Ralph Bunche Charter High School.[9]

Quinceañera: Mamá Quiero Ser Artista (2006-09)[edit]

In 2007, Iraheta won the reality show, Quinceañera: Mama Quiero Ser Artista” (Sweet Fifteen: Mom, I Want to be an Artist), a reality TV singing competition that was produced and broadcast in 2006-2007 on Telemundo, where she sang in both English and Spanish.[3]

On the show, a group of teenage girls such as Olivia Bonilla, Brissia Mayagoitia, and others of Hispanic and Latino American background competed in a singing competition for the main prize of $50,000 and a record deal.[10] Iraheta was the first (and only) winner of the competition and received the grand prize, but due to legal problems of the show the recording contract was never finalized and the production of the show was closed.[11][12]

Week # Song choice Original artist Result
Unknown "Antología" Shakira Advanced
Unknown "La Muerte Del Palomo" Juan Gabriel Advanced
Unknown "Crazy in Love" Beyoncé Advanced
Unknown "Kiss and Say Goodbye" The Manhattans Advanced
Unknown "Volverte a Amar" Alejandra Guzmán Advanced
Unknown "Sin él" Marisela Advanced
Unknown "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos" Gianluca Grignani Advanced
Unknown "Cielo Rojo" Lola Beltrán Advanced
Finale "Total Eclipse of the Heart" Bonnie Tyler Winner

American Idol (2009)[edit]

Iraheta auditioned for the eighth season of American Idol in San Francisco in 2009. She sang "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin and made it to the Hollywood audition rounds.[13] The judges unanimously agreed to put her through to the semifinals, with Simon Cowell saying "keep your eye on that one" and Paula Abdul predicting that Iraheta would be a "dark horse" in the competition.[14]

Judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson declared Iraheta to be "one to watch in this competition"[15][16] after her rendition of Heart's "Alone" during the semifinals. For her performance, Iraheta earned unanimous praise from the judges, with Abdul praising her for being able to "sing the telephone book".[17] Iraheta was the top vote-getting female of Group 2 and, along with Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, advanced directly from the semifinals.[18]

Iraheta kicked off her run in the finals with a well-received performance of Michael Jackson's "Give In to Me".[19] Once again, Abdul praised Iraheta for being a "rock star," with the rest of the panel in agreement.[19] The following week, Iraheta performed "Blame It On Your Heart" by Patty Loveless. Iraheta received rave reviews from the judges, but landed in the Bottom 3 for the first time.[20] On Motown Night, Iraheta performed a cover of the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone".[21] The performance earned a standing ovation from mentor Smokey Robinson, as well as further praise from the judges. DioGuardi enthusiastically lauded Iraheta for having a voice that "comes from can't teach that! You sing like you've been singing for 400 years!"[21]

Iraheta performing during the American Idols Live! Tour 2009.

On Top Downloads night, Iraheta performed No Doubt's "Don't Speak" while accompanying herself on the guitar and ended up in the Bottom 3 again.[22] For her performance during Top 8 week, Iraheta sang Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me", for which she received much acclaim.[23] Jackson compared her to first season winner Kelly Clarkson, and DioGuardi commented, "You know what? Let's go make a record!"[23] After covering "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" during Movie Night, Cowell boldly stated "We can see you all the way through the end now. You are the girls' only hope [of winning this competition.]"[24] Abdul compared her to fellow contestant Adam Lambert, saying that the two possessed the same "special sauce."[24]

During the second Top 7 Night (due to the judges' save of Matt Giraud), Iraheta performed a rock-infused version of Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff".[25] Emerging on a glowing, red staircase, Iraheta was praised by Cowell for delivering "a brilliant performance".[25] DioGuardi also praised Iraheta by saying, "That was like a 9–10 for me!"[25] The following night, Iraheta again landed in the bottom 3 for the third time, and Lil Rounds was eliminated from the competition, leaving Iraheta as the last remaining female contestant.[26] The next week, Iraheta performed a widely acclaimed cover of "Someone to Watch Over Me" as part of the Rat Pack theme.[27] Jackson compared her vocal ability to Pink, "but with 9,000 more octaves", while DioGuardi remarked, "you converted some fans tonight... If that doesn't land you in the finals, I don't know what will!".[27] During the subsequent results show, it was revealed that Iraheta was among the Top 2 vote-getters (along with Danny Gokey) for the night.[28]

The following week, Iraheta performed a solo version of "Cry Baby" and closed the show with "Slow Ride", a duet with Adam Lambert.[29] Regarding her performance of "Cry Baby", Cowell remarked that her growth throughout the competition was "staggering", and praised her for her "complete confidence and terrific vocals".[29] Her duet of "Slow Ride" with Lambert received further praise from the judges, with DioGuardi describing her as a "rock goddess".[29] Mentor Slash commented that Iraheta possessed a better voice than most women "twice her age".[30]

On May 6, 2009, Iraheta was eliminated from the competition in 4th place.[2][31] Slash tweeted that "Alison [sic] didn't deserve to be voted off AI so soon, she has amazing potential."[32] Similarly, American Idol music director Rickey Minor was "absolutely shocked" at her departure.[33]

Week # Theme Song choice Artist Order # Result
Audition Auditioner's Choice "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" Aretha Franklin N/A Advanced
Hollywood First Solo [Not aired] N/A Advanced
Hollywood Group Performance [Not aired] N/A Advanced
Hollywood Second Solo "Because of You" Kelly Clarkson N/A Advanced
Top 36/Semi-Final 2 Billboard Hot 100 Hits to Date "Alone" i-TEN 5 Advanced
Top 13 Michael Jackson "Give In to Me" Michael Jackson 7 Safe
Top 11 Grand Ole Opry "Blame It on Your Heart" Patty Loveless 2 Bottom 31
Top 10 Motown "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" The Undisputed Truth 10 Safe
Top 9 Top Downloads "Don't Speak" No Doubt 4 Bottom 31
Top 8 Year They Were Born "I Can't Make You Love Me" Bonnie Raitt 6 Safe
Top 7 Songs from the Cinema "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" – Armageddon Aerosmith 1 Safe
Top 72 Disco "Hot Stuff" Donna Summer 4 Bottom 3
Top 5 Rat Pack Standards "Someone to Watch Over Me"
Gertrude Lawrence 2 Safe
Top 4 Rock and roll Solo
"Cry Baby"
"Slow Ride" with Adam Lambert
Garnet Mimms
  • ^Note 1 Iraheta was saved first from elimination.
  • ^Note 2 Due to the judges using their one save to save Matt Giraud, the Top 7 remained intact for another week.

Just Like You (2009-2012)[edit]

After her elimination, Iraheta made guest appearances on Live with Regis and Kelly,[34] The Ellen DeGeneres Show,[35] The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien,[36] Larry King Live, as well as local Fox television affiliates[37] and numerous radio stations across the country.[38] She performed on the Grand Finale of American Idol season 8, including a group medley of "So What" and a duet of "Time After Time" with original artist Cyndi Lauper.[39]

On June 9, 2009, following weeks of speculation, it was officially confirmed that Iraheta had signed a record deal with Jive Records and 19 Recordings.[4] Since Iraheta finished 4th place in American Idol season 8, she participated in American Idols LIVE! Tour 2009, performing "So What" by Pink, "Cry Baby" by Janis Joplin, "Barracuda" by Heart, and "Slow Ride" (with Adam Lambert) by Foghat.[40] Iraheta also performed "Barracuda" by Heart on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on July 15, 2009 to promote the tour.[36][41] In September 2009, Allison concluded the 50 city tour with her fellow Idol contestants, during which she began recording her debut album, Just Like You, under Jive Records, working with Kevin Rudolf, David Hodges , Tommy Henriksen and Max Martin[42] In April 2010, it was announced Iraheta would be opening for Adam Lambert on his 2010 "GlamNation Tour".[43]

Iraheta's debut album was released December 1, 2009. The lead single "Friday I'll Be Over U", produced by Max Martin, debuted on October 5, 2009 and was made available through digital distribution on November 3, 2009. According to Rolling Stone, Jive expected Allison to sell 75,000 copies of her album in the first week.[44][45] The album sold approximately 32,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number 35 on the Billboard 200 album chart.[46] Approximately 7,000 of the copies sold in the first week were sold digitally,[47] resulting in a debut at number 14 on the Billboard Digital Albums Chart.[46] Allison's song "Pieces" was featured on the January 13th episode of American Idol.[48] Allison performed her second single "Scars" on American Idol's Season 9 Top 24 results show on February 25, 2010.[49] Allison joined Orianthi on Adam Lambert's Glam Nation tour.[50] In a July 2010 interview with Beatweek Magazine Iraheta stated that she would be writing more material for her second album and that it would be much more 'personal'. She stated, "So I think I'm gonna get more personal when I start writing."[51][52] Iraheta was dropped by record label Jive Records in September 2010, due to her debut album underperforming. She was also dropped from 19 Entertainment.[53] She is currently writing music for her second album.[54] On March 1, 2012, one of Iraheta's new songs, titled "Self-Control", was featured in a video for Skaist-Taylor.[55]

Halo Circus - Formation and Debut Album (2013-Present)[edit]

On January 3, 2013, Iraheta announced on her Twitter account that she had formed a new band called Halo Circus. The band consists of Iraheta (vocals), Matthew Hager (bass, keyboards), David Immerman (guitars) and Valerie Franco (drums). The band marks a change of musical direction for Iraheta following a hiatus in 2012, a time which she used to "regroup, find myself and rediscover my voice." Halo Circus played their first gig at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, California on January 26, 2013. Iraheta eloped with bass player, Matthew Hager the next day, January 27, 2013.[56] They played their second gig at Whisky a Go Go on April 17[57] and their third gig at the Hotel Cafe on May 21, 2013.[58] On May 30, 2013 footage from their Hotel Cafe performance, along with an interview with Iraheta and Hager was featured on the NBC Latino website. In the interview, Hager said "Allison happens to be one of the finest vocalists I've ever heard on every level".[59] It was announced on June 14, 2013 that Valerie Franco would be leaving the band.[60] On June 25, 2013 Veronica Bellino was announced as her replacement on the Halo Circus Facebook page.[61] In July 2013 the band signed a deal with the Manimal Vinyl label.[62] They released their first single, "Gone", via iTunes on October 8, 2013.[63] On July 15, 2014, Halo Circus released their second single, a cover of Duran Duran's "Do You Believe in Shame?". This release was met to very positive reviews from critics, and is set to be included in an upcoming Duran Duran tribute album.[64] Their debut album, Bunny, was released on June 23, 2016.[citation needed]

Backing band[edit]

  • David Immerman – lead guitar, backing vocals (2009–present)
  • Matthew Hager – bass, keyboards (2013–present)
  • Valerie Franco – drums, backing vocals (2009–2013)[60]
  • Liz Anne Hill – bass, backing vocals (2010)
  • Gerry Mattei – Keyboards, backing vocals (2010)


Studio albums[edit]

Studio albums as a solo artist[edit]

Year Album details Peak positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
2009 Just Like You 35 14
  • US sales: 103,000[65]

Studio albums as lead singer of Halo Circus[edit]

Year Album details Peak positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
2016 Bunny TBR TBR


Year Single Peak Album Sales
2009 "Slow Ride" (with Adam Lambert) 105 American Idol performances 34,000[66]
"Friday I'll Be Over U" Just Like You 54,000[67]
2010 "Scars" 20,000[67]
"Don't Waste the Pretty (feat. Orianthi)" 4,000[65]
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos[edit]

Year Title
2009 "Friday I'll Be Over U"

Songs in other media[edit]

Year Title Type Song
2010 American Idol TV series episode: "Atlanta Auditions" "Pieces"[48]
Audition Online PC Game "Friday I'll Be Over U"[68]
Monster High TV animated special "Friday I'll Be Over U"[69]
"Scars" "Theme song "[69]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Presenter Award Result
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Tour (shared with American Idol Top 10) Nominated


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  2. ^ a b Johnston, Lauren (May 7, 2009). "Call it 'American Scandal'? Fans say Allison Iraheta robbed, and Danny Gokey still getting pity vote". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
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  10. ^ Kaufman, Gil (April 14, 2009). "Will Adam Lambert Win 'American Idol'?". MTV. Retrieved March 11, 2011. in addition to taking the top prize on the 2006 Telemundo reality show "Quinceañera," which landed her $50,000 and a recording contract. 
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  34. ^ Ghosh, Korbi (May 11, 2009). "Allison Iraheta on 'Regis' & 'Ellen". Zap2it. Retrieved March 13, 2011. 
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  55. ^ " presents: "Self-Control" featuring Theodora Richards for Skaist-Taylor". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  56. ^ "'American Idol' Alum Allison Iraheta is Married". The Hollywood Reporter. May 21, 2013. 
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  58. ^ "Allison Iraheta and Halo Circus at the Hotel Cafe". May 22, 2013. 
  59. ^ Rubio, Norma (May 30, 2013). ""American Idol" contestant Allison Iraheta finds her voice". NBC Latino. 
  60. ^ a b "Halo Circus Valerie Tweet". Twitter. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  61. ^
  62. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (July 29, 2013). "Exclusive: Allison Iraheta & Halo Circus Sign a Record Deal!". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  63. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (October 8, 2013). "Video Premiere: Allison Iraheta & Halo Circus, "Gone"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved Jan 12, 2014. 
  64. ^
  65. ^ a b Mansfield, Brian (August 18, 2010). "No 'Idol' albums in the Top 40 this week.". USA Today. Retrieved August 28, 2010. 
  66. ^ Mansfield, Brian (June 3, 2009). "Kellie Pickler, Daughtry buck American Idol sales decline". USA Today. Retrieved March 13, 2011. 
  67. ^ a b Mansfield, Brian (March 4, 2010). "Bonus numbers! Kelly Clarkson, Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, more". USA Today. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  68. ^ "About Allison Iraheta". Redbana Corporation. Retrieved July 1, 2010. 
  69. ^ a b "Mattel Unveils New Monster-Themed Franchise". June 4, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2010. Mattel will develop a 30-minute animated special with music from Allison Iraheta, season eight “American Idol” star, whose pop-goth style is a natural fit for the brand. Iraheta’s songs “Scars” and “Friday I’ll Be Over You” touch on the challenges of “fitting in,” a recurring theme within the Monster High property. The special is set to air this fall on a variety of mediums including online, broadcast and mobile. (Fall 2010) 

External links[edit]