EJay Day

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EJay Day
EJay Day on MS Veendam (Close-Up).jpg
Day singing on the MS Veendam cruise liner in 2012.
Background information
Birth name Earl Day Jr.
Born (1981-09-13) September 13, 1981 (age 36)
Origin Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States
Genres R&B, pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 1999–present

Earl "EJay" Day Jr. (born September 13, 1981) is an American singer and songwriter, who placed tenth during the first season of American Idol. Originally not chosen to advance into the voting rounds, Day was brought back to replace another contestant who had lied about his age. After being voted through the semi-finals into the top ten, Day became the first finalist in American Idol history to be eliminated from the competition. Prior to appearing on the Fox reality series, Day helped write the song "Pure Love" for Raven-Symoné's album Undeniable and placed in the top 20 on Popstars: USA.

Day went on to participate in the 2002 American Idols LIVE! tour and throughout the following year made several appearances at charity events. He toured again in 2003, as part of a promotional campaign called Coca-Cola's Behind the Scenes With American Idol – a tour in which various American Idol finalists performed in select shopping malls throughout the country. A recording of Day singing Edwin McCain's "I'll Be" is included on American Idol: Greatest Moments. This compilation album of all the season one finalists was released in 2002 and reached #4 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Although Day has never released a full album, he collaborated with his fellow American Idol season one finalist A.J. Gil on a single in 2003. The song, "Calling All Angels", was written for and released through the charity organization Give Kids the World. Day and Gil first performed this song in Pasadena, California's New Year's Day Rose Parade. Later that year, Day released his own single, "Come Into My World", which attained limited airplay in Atlanta, Georgia. A full album of the same title was set to be released around 2006, but has never been made available.

Leading up to and then following his run on American Idol, Day has had a career performing on cruise ships – most notably ones operated by Royal Caribbean and Holland America. Day has also been cast in several stage productions over the years. His social media accounts contain several original songs that have never been commercially released.

Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Earl Day Jr., known professionally as EJay Day,[1][2] originally hails from Lawrenceville, Georgia.[1][3][4][5] The youngest of four children,[2] his parents, Earl Sr. and Gilda, were employed by Corporate Environments at the time of their son's American Idol appearance.[6] Day took to singing in church at an early age.[2][7] He would later credit this experience with helping to develop his vocal abilities, saying that it taught him how to "sing parts and harmonies".[7] Before long, Day began performing in larger venues.[2] He signed with a talent agency known as Hot Shot Kids/Teens in Atlanta, which also represented Tamyra Gray and Diana DeGarmo, two other local artists who would also go on to become American Idol finalists.[7] At the age of twelve, Day sang the National Anthem before an Atlanta Braves game.[2] According to the bio on Day's (now-defunct) official website, he had found a large audience by the age of fifteen, performing for several notable officials and celebrity figures, such as President George Bush, former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Hank Aaron, Andre Agassi, and Muhammad Ali. Day purportedly performed for Ali numerous times, "at book-signing events and other receptions [held in Ali's] honor."[4]

In 1999, Day graduated from Central Gwinnett High School.[8] The same year, he shared songwriting credit for the track "Pure Love" on Raven-Symoné's album Undeniable.[4][9][10] At the time of his American Idol audition, Day was employed as a singer and dancer at Six Flags Over Georgia.[11][12][13] He also found work singing on a cruise liner[6][14] and was cast in multiple musicals.[14] Prior to appearing on the Fox reality series, Day participated in the second season of Popstars: USA,[2][8] placing in the Top 20.[2]

American Idol[edit]

Day auditioned for American Idol in Atlanta, Georgia,[14][15] singing "Get Here" by Oleta Adams.[16] He was twenty years old at the time.[1][2][8][17] Although initially cut from the competition prior to the voting rounds, he advanced into the semi-finals, after another contestant, Delano Cagnolatti, was disqualified. Anyone over the age of twenty-four was not allowed to audition that season,[a] and it was discovered that Cagnolatti, then twenty-nine, had lied in an attempt to escape the cut-off.[8][12][17][19][20]

"I had 45 minutes to pack for the flight, I had to practice on the plane singing the song in my head and then the airline lost my luggage...Vocally, I was happy with my performance, but I thought my face looked frozen."
EJay Day, commenting on his American Idol semi-final performance of "I'll Be"[2]

Placed into Group 3 for the Top 30 semi-finals, Day performed "I'll Be", by Edwin McCain.[8][16][20][21] Although he had less time to prepare than the other contestants,[2] he received positive remarks from the judges and was voted through to the top ten.[2][16][22] For the first round of the finals, each contestant was instructed to sing a Motown song. Day selected "My Girl", by The Temptations.[11][13][20] Although he was once again praised by all three judges (and even called best of the night up to that point by Randy Jackson),[11][b] Day received the lowest number of votes that week and became the first finalist ever eliminated from American Idol.[13][21][23][24][25][26][27][c]

Day's performances with American Idol have caused a divergence of opinions among music critics. Following Day's elimination from the competition, Jessica Shaw of Entertainment Weekly concurred with the contestant's low placement, criticizing his fashion – "EJay could have been voted off simply for wearing that 'Please, sir, I want some more' Oliver Twist cap" – and his song choice that week – "Of all the Motown songs, did he have to pick one that’s been covered to death?"[13] Day's recorded rendition of "I'll Be", on the American Idol: Greatest Moments album, earned a better reaction however, prompting another writer with the publication, Jon Caramanica, to declare that Day "got robbed".[28] Dave Wedge of The Boston Herald also singled out "I'll Be" as a highlight on the album, writing that Day "show[s] personality along with some polish".[29] Wedge considered Day's track superior to those included on the album of that season's runner-up contestant, Justin Guarini.[29] In a review for The Herald News, Chuck Campbell was largely critical of the album and wrote that Day "bumbles along" on the track.[30] He nonetheless considered Day's vocals to be emotionally well-conveyed.[30]

"No one has sung better than that today; no one. You did great, brilliant...what else can I say? You just sung your heart out."
Simon Cowell praising Day's American Idol semi-final performance of "I'll Be".[16]

Ranking the sixteen most notable Georgians to ever appear on American Idol, Rodney Ho of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution placed Day in the twelfth spot.[21][d] He wrote that Day's live rendition of "I'll Be", performed during the semi-finals, had "some tonal issues", but was mostly in key. In a 2013 retrospective feature by PopCrush, Cristin Maher wrote that Day displayed "sweet and "smooth" vocals while on the series.[20] Boston Herald writer Amy Amatangelo gained the impression that Day should have gone on further in the competition, after seeing his group medley performances in the season one finale.[31]

Day's involvement with the 2002 American Idols LIVE! tour also elicited varied reactions. Ho concluded that Day gave a better performance on this tour than some of the higher ranked contestants,[21] calling Day's voice "the best of guys'".[32] Day's performance in this setting was considered "barely audible" by Amatangelo, but she nonetheless complimented it for being "energetic".[33] Writing for The Chicago Sun-Times, Jim Derogatis was considerably less positive. He called Day's performance "completely forgettable". Offering up his own ranking of the ten finalists, Derogatis readjusted several positions, but still placed Day in last.[34]


Episode Theme Song choice Original artist Order Result
Audition Contestant's Choice "Get Here" Oleta Adams N/A Advanced
Hollywood Contestant's Choice Get Here[16] Oleta Adams N/A Eliminated1
Top 30 Contestant's Choice "I'll Be" Edwin McCain 7 Advanced
Top 10 Motown "My Girl" The Temptations 4 Eliminated
  • ^Note 1 Although Day was cut from the competition during Hollywood Week, he was brought back to compete in the Top 30 semi-finals as a replacement for disqualified contestant Delano Cagnolatti.


Day performing on the cruise ship MS Veendam in 2012 (with an unidentified guitar player on his left)

Day participated in the 2002 American Idols LIVE! tour, along with his fellow season one finalists.[4][6][14][20] Each of this tour's thirty shows were opened by Day singing Janet Jackson's "Black Cat".[4][35][36] To usher in 2003, Day performed in Pasadena, California's New Year's Day Rose Parade.[6][20] Paired with eighth place finalist A.J. Gil on a float for Give Kids the World,[37][38] the two sang "Calling All Angels",[37] a song which had been specifically written for the charity organization.[39] The band OTown also participated in this float.[38] Day and Gil would subsequently perform "Calling All Angels" at an Orlando, Florida fundraising gala in June[39][40] and release this duet as a single through Give Kids the World.[37][39][41] Later that year, Day participated in further fundraising events, such as the Hollywood Knights Season Wrap Party in Los Angeles[38][42][43][e] and NSYNC's Challenge for the Children event in Miami.[38][47] Throughout the Spring, Day participated in Coca-Cola's Behind the Scenes With American Idol promotional tour, in which he and a selection of other finalists from the first two seasons of the series performed in shopping malls owned by the Simon Property Group.[48][49][50][51][52][53][54] Around this time, Day also performed the National Anthem for a variety of professional Georgia sports teams, such as the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers.[55][56]

The MS Veendam, a cruise ship on which Day has often performed

Shortly after appearing on American Idol, Day returned to performing on cruise ships.[5][38][52] Between 2005 and 2006, it was reported that he had been performing on two different ships operated by Royal CaribbeanVoyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas.[52][57] By 2011, Day had established a musical act performing on Holland America's MS Veendam.[58] Day has also performed in Las Vegas[57] and been cast in several low-profile theatrical productions.[5] It has been suggested by PopCrush, that Day may have continued performing for Muhammad Ali,[20] extending his purported pre-Idol history with the iconic boxer.[4]

The American Idol: Greatest Moments album, released October 1, 2002, features a recorded version of Day singing Edwin McCain's "I'll Be".[14][59] The album reached #4 on the Billboard 200 chart.[14] Although Day has never released a debut album of his own, he remarked during his American Idol run that he would likely title such an album Fire or Eye Candy.[3][60] Following his elimination from the series, Day elaborated to Billboard that his dream would be to collaborate with The Neptunes on music similar to that of Britney Spears.[12] Five months later, People magazine reported that Day was recording "demo tapes",[61] and the following April, Day told Orlando Weekly that he had completed a song called "Come Into My World".[53] In July 2003, "Come Into My World" was released as a single. According to Day's official website, the song found airplay on two radio stations in Atlanta.[62] Currently, "Come Into My World" can be heard on Day's MySpace page, along with two other tracks – "Just Let Go" and "One Good Beat".[63] Another original song, "My Lovin's Too Good Too Wait", can be heard on Day's StarNow account.[64]

In September 2006, it was reported by Gwinnett Daily Post that Day had recorded a full album. Evoking Day's single from three years earlier, this album would have been titled "Come Into My World". Although unreleased, the album was said to contain original songs, mixing R&B with pop. The publication was told by Day that "many of the songs were inspired by his experiences performing on cruise ships."[5] Day's official website noted that the album's songs were written by Day himself, Charlie Morgan, and Georgi Ivanov.[4]

The LGBT publication Baltimore OUTloud reported in 2012 that dance music artists known as the Perry Twins were writing and producing new music for Day, although nothing more was said about Day in this article.[65] Two years later, on September 4, 2014, Day uploaded a song titled "Need You in My Life" to his YouTube channel. In the description, Day called this the first song on which he understood the "meaning [of] songwriting" and noted that it was inspired by a relationship in which he and the other person had to part ways, in spite of their strong feelings for one another.[66] "Time was not on our side. It's usually like that for me...[but maybe], just maybe we would meet again", Day wrote about the song.[66]


Year Single Album
2003 "Calling All Angels" (with A.J. Gil) Non-album single
"Come Into My World" Non-album single
N/A "My Lovings Too Good Too Wait" Non-album single
"Just Let Go" Non-album single
"One Good Beat" Non-album single
2014 "Need You in My Life" Non-album single


  1. ^ American Idol's cut-off age would be raised to twenty-eight in later seasons.[18]
  2. ^ Day performed fourth that night, following Ryan Starr, R.J. Helton, and Nikki McKibbin.[11]
  3. ^ Two finalists were voted off from American Idol that week. Day was the first to be eliminated, followed by Jim Verraros.[13][21][23][24][25][26][27]
  4. ^ The list was not based purely on singing abilities. Host Ryan Seacrest was given the top spot, and Larry Platt – who auditioned, but never became an official contestant – was ranked ninth.[21]
  5. ^ Hollywood Knights raises money for high schools through basketball games played between celebrity figures and school faculties. "Up-and-coming" musical artists are featured during the half-time shows,[44][45] and additional celebrity figures are invited to attend the season wrap party in June. Day was merely invited as a guest.[43][46]


  1. ^ a b c Dodd, Aileen D. (July 8, 2002). "Superstar search creates instant celebrities". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Dodd, Aileen D. (July 9, 2002). "'Idol' performer the next Michael Jackson? – Singer thrives in spotlight". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. 
  3. ^ a b American Idol staff. "American Idol: Season 1 Contestants – Ejay Day". americanidol.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "EJay Day Biography" (Press release). EJay Online. Archived from the original on March 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d Gwinnett Daily Post staff (September 30, 2006). "EJay Day, Tamyra Gray return to TV as 'Idol' enters syndication". Gwinnett Daily Post. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d Dodd, Aileen D. (January 21, 2003). "'Idol' star basks in limelight's afterglow". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. 
  7. ^ a b c Fernandez, Don (March 6, 2004). "Rising stars have humble beginnings: 'American Idol' territory – A talented slew of singing sensations proves that success lives here". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta Georgia. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Rodney Ho (July 16, 2002). "Trio of locals going for big break as 'Idol' finalists". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on September 21, 2002. 
  9. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine (April 27, 1999). "Raven-Symoné – Undeniable". Allmusic. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  10. ^ Ken Barnes; Bill Keveney (January 10, 2008). "Idol reflections: Six years of rhythm and remembrance". USA Today. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Top 10 Perform". American Idol. Season 1. Episode 10. July 16, 2002. Fox Broadcasting Network. 
  12. ^ a b c Hay, Carla (August 3, 2002). "'American Idol' Weds Reality TV and Music". Billboard. New York City: Prometheus Global Media. p. 65. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Jessica Shaw (July 4, 2003). "EJay and Jim get booted – but where's Simon?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f Alan K. Stout (November 1, 2002). "EJay Has His Day – Top Performers at Arena Tonight". Times Leader. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  15. ^ Rodney Ho (October 28, 2002). "2002 flashback: Atlanta 'Idol' season 2 auditions include mile-long line". RadioTVTalk. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "Top 30: Group 3". American Idol. Season 1. Episode 7. July 2, 2002. Fox Broadcasting Company. 
  17. ^ a b Don Kaplan (July 3, 2002). "Liar, Liar". New York Post. Archived from the original on October 18, 2002. 
  18. ^ Nellie Andreeva (June 21, 2010). "'American Idol' Lowers Eligibility Age Limit". Deadline. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  19. ^ Zap2it staff (January 22, 2003). "Television news briefs". Zap2it. Retrieved December 13, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Cristin Maher (April 25, 2013). "See the Top 10 Contestants from Season 1 of 'American Idol' Then and Now". PopCrush. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f Rodney Ho (April 4, 2016). "Top 13 Georgians on 'American Idol' over 15 years". RadioTVTalk. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Top 30: Group 3 results". American Idol. Season 1. Episode 8. July 3, 2002. Fox Broadcasting Company. 
  23. ^ a b "Top 10 Results". American Idol. Season 1. Episode 11. July 17, 2002. Fox Broadcasting Company. 
  24. ^ a b Monica Collins (July 23, 2002). "'Idol' curiosity; Fox's talent show captures public's fancy as final rounds begin.(Arts and Lifestyle)". The Boston Herald. Retrieved December 14, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  25. ^ a b Mark Perigard (July 24, 2002). "Arts & TV in Brief.(Arts and Lifestyle)". The Boston Herald. Retrieved December 14, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  26. ^ a b Rick Porter (July 18, 2002). "America Voted – and 2 'Idol' Contestants Are Gone". Zap2it. Archived from the original on February 20, 2003. 
  27. ^ a b Rushfield, Richard (January 18, 2011). American Idol: The Untold Story. New York City: Hachette Books. ISBN 9781401396527. 
  28. ^ Jon Caramanica (October 18, 2002). "American Idol: Greatest Moments". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  29. ^ a b Dave Wedge (October 18, 2002). "Only fans will 'Idol'ize show's CD.(Scene)". The Boston Herald. Retrieved December 14, 2016.   – via Highbeam (subscription required)
  30. ^ a b Chuck Campbell (October 17, 2002). "CD reviews". The Herald News. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  31. ^ Amy Amatangelo (September 5, 2002). "Singing waitress serves up a winner.(Arts and Lifestyle)". The Boston Herald. Retrieved December 14, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  32. ^ Ho, Rodney (October 22, 2002). "Pop Review: 'Idol' ensemble offers passable entertainment". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. 
  33. ^ Amy Amatangelo (October 30, 2002). "Idols make grasp for stardom.(Arts and Lifestyle)". The Boston Herald. Retrieved December 14, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  34. ^ Jim Derogatis (October 18, 2002). "Sizing up the top 10 idols". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 14, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  35. ^ Corey Moss (October 9, 2002). "American Idols Take on 'NSYNC, en Vogue at Tour Opener". MTV. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  36. ^ Sean Piccoli (October 25, 2002). "Idols Croon in Sunrise". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  37. ^ a b c Give Kids the World staff. "Calling All Angels CD". Give Kids the World. Archived from the original on July 5, 2004. 
  38. ^ a b c d e "EJay Rocks Schedule" (Press release). EJay Rocks. Archived from the original on August 16, 2003. 
  39. ^ a b c Melanie Oast; Jennifer Reed (June 6, 2003). "EJay World". ejayrocks.com. Archived from the original on September 8, 2004. 
  40. ^ Scott Maxwell (June 15, 2003). "Talk About Your Fashion Court". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  41. ^ Give Kids the World staff (June 21, 2003). "Give Kids the World Village". Give Kids the World. Archived from the original on June 21, 2003. 
  42. ^ Melanie Oast; Jennifer Reed (June 17, 2003). "EJay World". ejayrocks.com. Archived from the original on September 8, 2004. 
  43. ^ a b "Hollywood Knights Season Wrap Party 2003 – Celebrity Confirmations" (Press release). Hollywood Knights. Archived from the original on August 27, 2003. 
  44. ^ "Hollywood Knights – About Us" (Press release). Hollywood Knights. Archived from the original on August 31, 2003. 
  45. ^ Allen, Karie (January 2003). "School getting ready for celebrity basketball game". The Press-Enterprise. Moreno Valley, California. Archived from the original on November 8, 2007. 
  46. ^ "Hollywood Knights Celebrity Basketball Team Season Wrap Party 2003" (Press release). Hollywood Knights. Archived from the original on August 27, 2003. 
  47. ^ Melanie Oast; Jennifer Reed (July 23, 2003). "EJay World". ejayrocks.com. Archived from the original on September 8, 2004. 
  48. ^ "Coca-Cola 'Behind-The-Scenes With. American Idol' Tour Kicks Off" (Press release). Simon Property Group. April 3, 2003. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  49. ^ "'American Idol' tour to appear at Orland mall" (Press release). The Herald-News. April 24, 2003. Retrieved December 16, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  50. ^ Fernandez, Don (May 2, 2003). "Mall presents 'Idol' stars, karaoke, too". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. 
  51. ^ Ted Cox (April 24, 2003). "In the air.(Suburban Living)". Daily Herald. Retrieved December 16, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  52. ^ a b c Tom O'Konowitz (May 24, 2005). "Other 'Idol' Hopefuls Staying Busy, Too". Daily Herald. Retrieved December 16, 2016.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  53. ^ a b Billy Manes (April 17, 2003). "False idols". Orlando Weekly. Archived from the original on October 19, 2003. 
  54. ^ Gary Susman (May 1, 2003). "Ousted Idol contestants launch mall tour". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  55. ^ "EJay Day Singing National Anthem on December 2" (Press release). Atlanta Hawks. November 26, 2003. Archived from the original on February 17, 2004. 
  56. ^ Melanie Oast; Jennifer Reed (September 10, 2003). "EJay World". ejayrocks.com. Archived from the original on September 8, 2004. 
  57. ^ a b Philip Recchia (May 21, 2006). "American Idol – Where Are They Now? High and Low Notes as Also-Rans Try for Post-'Idol' Encores". The New York Post. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  58. ^ Rachel Naud (February 17, 2011). "Thirtysomethings find fun at sea with the grandparent set". Montreal Gazette. Postmedia Network. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  59. ^ "RCA Records to Release American Idol: Greatest Moments on October 1" (PDF) (Press release). RCA Records. September 19, 2002. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  60. ^ Mark Franklin. "EJay Day's Idol performances". The York Dispatch. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  61. ^ People staff (December 30, 2002). "Sequels: American Dreamers". People. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  62. ^ Melanie Oast; Jennifer Reed (July 15, 2003). "EJay World". ejayrocks.com. Archived from the original on September 8, 2004. 
  63. ^ EJay Day. "EJay Day Music". MySpace. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  64. ^ EJay Day. "EJay Day – Actor, Musician". StarNow. Retrieved December 19, 2016. 
  65. ^ Hogan, Tye (June 1, 2012). "Double Your Fun with the Perry Twins" (PDF). Baltimore OUTloud. Baltimore, Maryland: Pride Media. p. 18. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  66. ^ a b EJay Day (September 4, 2014). "Need You In My Life by EJay Day". YouTube. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 

External links[edit]