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 Four 'American Idol' stars bring talents to SRU Peforming Arts Series 



November 19, 2009

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



Helton                                    Chikezie                  Cobbins                        Gordon


Four 'American Idol' stars bring talents to SRU Performing Arts Series      


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Chikezie, Trenyce Cobbins, Mikalah Gordon and R.J. Helton will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 in Miller Auditorium when Slippery Rock University Performing Arts Series presents "Former 'American Idol' Stars for the Holidays."

           All four performers earned public praise and success after being part of the long-popular Fox television show.

           Chikezie, born Chikezie Eze, in Inglewood, Calif., to parents who emigrated from Nigeria, began singing at 13. He attended high school at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies and later went to Bethel College.

           He first auditioned for "American Idol's" Season 6 and made it through to "Hollywood Week," but failed to make the top 24 contestants. Undeterred, he returned and successfully auditioned the following season when the show made its rounds in San Diego. 

            Chikezie impressed the judges with, "All the Woman I Need" by Luther Vandross, and earned a ticket to Hollywood. He eventually earned one of the top 10 slots for the "American Idol," Season 7 tour. Following his "Idol" experience, he appeared on "Live with Regis and Kelly," "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." 

His musical influences are Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, John Legend and Sam and Dave. (Truth Magazine is filled with the usual R&B pop, but

            One of Cobbins first honors was winning the NAACP Act-So Music Contemporary Award at age 17. Ever since, the vocalist has made it her dream to become a successful all-around entertainer. She began singing at age 2 and auditioned for "American Idol" Season 2 along with 75,000 other hopefuls. The Idol tour taught her that she loved performing just as much as singing and dancing. She took the fifth spot in Season 2.

            Shortly after, she was introduced to acting by playing the lead in the E Lynn Harris book turned stage play "Not a Day Goes By," starring Emmy Award-winning actress Jackee Harry. She has also appeared in "Mama's Sweet Potato Pie," "The Vagina Monologues," "Dreamgirls, the stage play," "Soul Kittens Cabaret" and "Love In The Nick of Tyme." 

She has open for Tim McGraw, Wayne Newton and Michelle Branch, and she was the first "American Idol" contestant to headline in Las Vegas with two shows at the same time. 

Cobbins has had her music showcased on an episode of BET's "College Hill" as well as in the up-coming film "Truth Hall." She will soon be releasing her debut album. She recently starred in a Broadway revival of "Ain't Misbehavin'" along with "American Idol" Season 2 winner, Ruben Studdard.

Gordon began singing at 18-months of age joining in songs from "The Little Mermaid." She joined her Catholic school choir and sang in a variety of venues in her Las Vegas hometown. Gordon joined the cheerleading and soccer team at Bishop Gorman High School and involved herself in the theatrical department. At age 16 and for Season 4 of "American Idol," she became the youngest contestant ever. Eliminated at number 11, Gordon is most remembered for asking Simon Cowell one of the show's judges, to the prom. 

She moved to Los Angeles after her elimination and quickly found work as host of "American Idol Extra" and as a field correspondent for the "Tyra Banks Show." She has already guest starred on such shows as CBS' "The Unit."

            She recently covered the Season 10 auditions for "American Idol," and still works closely with the show. 

Helton, a native of Cummings, Ga., was thrust into TV and music via the breakout hit series "American Idol," when he captivated the audience and judges as a Top 5 Finalist in the first season.

            Helton was one of the featured performers on the show's cast album, which went Gold and reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in the "Soundtrack" category. He also participated in the national radio and media promotional tour.

            The singer has found a home at B-Rite Music/Zomba Records, the pop music imprint of music industry powerhouse Gospo Centric Records. He released his debut album, the Christian-oriented "Real Life," which made the Billboard Christian Top 20 list. 

The silky-voiced tenor has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," CNN, MTV's "Total Request Live" and other shows. He has also been featured in Billboard, Radio & Records Magazine, People Magazine, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Metro Source and others. 

            Tickets, $25 for adults; $22 for those 62 and over, or 17 and under; and $8 for SRU students, may be ordered by calling 724.738.2018.

            Tickets are also available for the two remaining shows in the 2009-10 series: The River North Chicago dance company, Feb. 5, and "Barrage Animado," a high-octane fiddle-fest, March 20.



EDITOR'S NOTE: Photos are available from the SRU homepage:, then click on the American Idol story (under the "News" column) for photo links.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.

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