Sparks was born in Phoenix, Arizona to Jodi Weidmann Sparks and former NFL defensive back Phillippi Sparks. Her mother is white and her father is black. She has a younger brother, Phillippi “PJ” Sparks, Jr., who plays football. She grew up in the suburb of Ridgewood, New Jersey while her father played for the New York Giants. After living in New Jersey, Sparks attended Northwest Community Christian School in Phoenix through the eighth grade. Sparks attended Sandra Day O’Connor High School until 2006, when she was homeschooled to better concentrate on her singing. Sparks is an evangelical Christian and attends Calvary Community Church in Phoenix. On her American Idol biography, she thanks her parents and God for her win. She wears a purity ring that symbolizes her desire to remain a virgin until marriage. She won an award for best young artist of the year in Arizona for three years.
Before appearing on American Idol, Sparks participated in and won such talent competitions as Coca-Cola’s Rising Star, the Gospel Music Association Academy’s Overall Spotlight Award, America’s Most Talented Kids, Colgate Country Showdown, and the 2006 Drug Free AZ Superstar Search. Prior to Idol, Sparks frequently performed the national anthem at various local sporting events, notably for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Sparks also appeared with Alice Cooper in his 2004 Christmas show and toured with Christian contemporary singer Michael W. Smith in 2006. In 2006, Sparks was one of six winners who won the Phoenix Torrid search for the “Next Plus Size Model”. She was flown to California, where she was used in a number of Torrid ads and promotional pieces. A full-page ad for Torrid featuring Sparks ran in the December 2006 issue of Seventeen magazine.
Jordin Sparks Bio
In the summer of 2006, Sparks auditioned twice for American Idol: once in Los Angeles, California (only auditioned for producers) and again in Seattle, Washington after winning KSAZ Fox 10′s Arizona Idol. The Seattle audition is the one seen in the January 17, 2007 broadcast of American Idol, in which she earned a “gold ticket” and the right to appear in the Hollywood Round. American Idol judge Randy Jackson made the offhand prediction that, “Curly hair will win this year.” While on the show, Sparks gained a loyal fan base known as “Sparkplugs”. On May 23, 2007, Sparks was crowned the winner of the sixth season of American Idol. She remains the youngest winner in American Idol history. Cowell said “Jordin was the most improved over the whole season – didn’t start the best, but midway through this was the girl who suddenly got momentum.” He included that “Young girl, likeable, and the singer won over the entertainer [Lewis].”
Sparks twice performed on the seventh season of American Idol, once on the Idol Gives Back results show singing “No Air”, her duet with Chris Brown, and again with “One Step at a Time” on May 21, 2008 for the finale. She performed “Battlefield” on the May 13, 2009 episode of American Idol.
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