James Conrad Verraros is an American singer, songwriter, and actor, who placed ninth on the first season of American Idol. Raised by deaf parents, he is fluent in American Sign Language and gained notoriety on American Idol for signing the lyrics to his audition song. After competing on the series, he released three pop rock, dance albums with music producer and songwriter Gabe Lopez. Verraros was also featured on the 2002 compilation album American Idol: Greatest Moments, covering "Easy" by the Commodores - this album reached number four on the Billboard 200 chart.
While participating in the 2002 American Idols LIVE! tour, Verraros came out as gay. He was the first American Idol finalist to come out, and he remained the series' only publicly gay finalist for over three years. Several organizations subsequently honored Verraros as an influential figure within the gay community. Throughout his music career, Verraros performed at numerous pride events. He also toured at gay clubs.
Verraros released his official debut album, Rollercoaster, through independent label Koch Records in 2005. It was accompanied by two singles and received generally positive reviews.
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