Josiah Leming called “the most famous ‘Idol’ contestant to never make the show’s top 24″

With “more than 19,000 friends on MySpace and has sold something in the neighborhood of $15,000 worth of his own music through the site,” Josiah Leming is “the most famous ‘Idol’ contestant to never make the show’s top 24,” according to MTV News.

That story was posted at 10 a.m., and as of 6:30 p.m. ET, he has 21,409 friends. And just four days ago, Josiah said he’d made $9,000 via his site. He appeared on Ellen today, and she gave him more than $8,000 worth of music-related stuff and a laptop. Clearly, he’s still on the ascent.

Despite this success, which was undoubtedly a result of both his story and his talent, Josiah tells MTV, “I definitely didn’t want to be one of the sob stories on ‘American Idol.’ I wanted to stand on my voice, and my own two feet, but they wanted to know about the story and they wanted to use it. I definitely wasn’t going for the sympathy vote. A lot of people think I got through on the basis of that, but who knows? They tell me I’m a ‘human-interest piece.’”

When filming that human interest story, Josiah said he rejected producers’ attempts to get him to help sell Ford cars. “They wanted to film me in a Ford Sync too, but I was like, ‘I haven’t been living in one of those,’” he told MTV.

As to his fame, Josiah said, “There’s a small window of opportunity, and I don’t want to do it too quick or too slow. I’ve always been aware of the fact that one day you can be everything, and the next day you can be nothing. Stuff like that has always weighed heavy on my mind. Things are given and taken away so quickly, it’s always sitting in the back of my mind that I could just be another flash in the pan. Everyone wants to be optimistic, but you also want to be realistic.”

‘American Idol’ Castoff Josiah Leming Speaks: ‘I Don’t Have Any Regrets’ [MTV News]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.