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R. J. Helton (born Rolando Alberto de Jesus Rivas, Jr. on May 17 1981 in Pasadena, Texas; name changed at adoption to Richard Jason Helton) is an American singer who placed fifth in the first season of American Idol.

Helton moved to Cumming, Georgia, as a child and studied music and dance in school. At 19, Helton signed a contract with Dryden Entertainment and recorded two demo CDs. In 2002, he finished fifth in the first season of American Idol. He was however, not supposed to be part of the Top 10, but instead was put in by wildcard choice. The four other wildcard contestants included Kelli Glover, Christopher Aaron, Alexis Stone Lopez and Angela Peel.

He is now signed to Kirk Franklin's GospoCentric Records, and his debut album Real Life was released on March 23, 2004. It made the top 20 of the Billboard Christian charts and sold over 21,000 copies.

On October 18 2006, Helton identified himself as gay during an interview with host Larry Flick on Flick’s show OutQ in the Morning on SIRIUS OutQ, a satellite radio channel focusing on gay and lesbian issues.[1]

Helton stated in an interview on the American Idol Rewind television series (Season 1, Episode 17) that his birth name was Rolando Alberto de Jesus Rivas, Jr., and that it was changed at adoption to Richard Jason.

American Idol performances

  • "I'll Be There" (The Jackson 5, 1970) (Semi-finals; July 2, 2002)
  • "Lately" (Stevie Wonder) (Wild card; July 9, 2002)
  • "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" (The Four Tops, 1965) (Motown week; July 16, 2002)
  • "Under the Boardwalk" (The Drifters, 1964) (1960s week; July 23, 2002)
  • "Superstition" (Stevie Wonder, 1973) (1970s week; July 30, 2002)
  • "I Won't Dance" (Big band week; August 6, 2002) (Bottom 3)
  • "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (Christopher Cross, 1981) (Love songs week; August 13, 2002) (Bottom 2; voted off)



  • American Idol: Greatest Moments (October 2002)
  • Real Life (March 2004)


  • Even If
  • My Devotion
  • All We Need to Know
  • Why Don't We Pray?
  • Delicate Child


  1. Silverman, Steven M. (2006-10-20). Former Idol Finalist Helton Says He's Gay. People Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-08.

External links

Template:American Idol 1

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