Three former “American Idol” contestants brought their talents to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to promote Malaria No More — an organization dedicated to ending deaths by malaria in Africa by 2015.
Elliot Yamin, Melinda Doolittle and Jason Castro spent the day talking to members of Congress about the cause.
“I wanted them to get behind what we are doing,” Doolittle told reporters, “and make sure they are putting some aid behind it.”
The former Idol hopefuls told The Daily Caller that they’re involvement with Malaria No More started with the Idol Gives Back charity, founded by American Idol producer Simon Fuller to assist children and their families across the globe.
“I had the distinct honor of going to the front lines where malaria is a real issue,” Yamin told TheDC, “and see firsthand not only how much of an epidemic it is. but how much of an impact that we … have made tangibly.”
Doolittle credits Bono for inspiring her during his visit to American Idol.
“He sat down with us and said, ‘Okay, 30 million people are watching you every week. You have this huge platform: What are you going to do with it?’” Doolittle recalled. (RELATED: Full coverage of the entertainment world)
“It was an eye opener for me [because] it’s not actually all about you.”
Doolittle traveled to Zambia in 2007 with former first lady Laura Bush. She told TheDC that one child dies from malaria every minute in sub-Saharan Africa.
“It’s still one child too many, of course,” she said, noting that things have slightly improved, “but the difference is so huge to me. I’m really excited to be a part.”
Castro was enthusiastic about Malaria No More. He said that with a little bit of money and a little bit of effort, kids in Africa can have a chance at life.
“That’s the big thing,” he said, “giving them a chance to chase their dreams, like I did.”
All three former Idol stars chased their dreams on the show making it to the top five in their respective seasons. They reminisced about what Simon Cowell is like when the cameras aren’t on.
Fans know Simon Cowell as the brutally honest but sometimes hurtful former judge. Doolittle said that even though he has “no filter,” he was invaluable to her.
“I’m a huge Simon fan. He’s very, very blunt, but at the end of the day he has such a good heart,” she said.
Castro added to that saying that Cowell “has a sweet side.”
What watchers don’t see every week is the hard work the contestants put in before every show. Doolittle said that she worked seven days a week, 16 hours a day, taking only Easter Sunday off.
Now, a few years after their experience on the popular TV show, all three are working on new music.
Yamin just released his new single, “3 Words,” from his album coming out in April called “Let’s Get to What’s Real.” Doolittle is in the process of writing and recording a new album and Castro just signed a deal for his second album last week.
On Wednesday, the three joined together and closed the Malaria No More event with their own rendition of Castro’s favorite song: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”