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MAR
30
4 YEARS

Meet the New 'American Idol' Backup Singers

destinee and paris publicity 2010
Mike Ruiz

This week, American Idol eliminates two finalists, but if either caught the ears and eyes of resident mentor Jimmy Iovine during their time on the show, all hope is not lost. You see, Iovine, who's headed Interscope Geffen A&M Records for 20 years, has seen his share of hits and misses -- some acts have prospered under his watch, others were long ago dropped -- but if he senses something truly special about an artist, he sticks with them.

Case in point: American Idol's new double blonde backup singers Destinee and Paris Monroe, whose sweet, down-home harmonies have accented performances by the likes of Paul McDonald (see video below) and Lauren Alaina. Four years ago, they were two out of three members of little-known group the Clique Girlz who arrived from Hollywood from that hotbed of tween talent -- New Jersey -- with big dreams of Bratz-like branding, chart-topping singles and eventual world domination. I know, because I wandered into producer Ron Fair's studio one day when he was bouncing around the control room speaking those very buzz words. 

But as most music business stories go, despite high-profile opening slots for the likes of the Jonas Brothers and Backstreet Boys, the Clique Girlz saw a flurry of interest but never a proper U.S. release, and after recording more than 90 songs, according to a 2008 interview, the trio broke up. 

Still, Iovine didn't send the girls packing back to Egg Harbor Township. Rather, after including a Destinee and Paris song on the Neptunes-produced Despicable Me soundtrack, he put them on Idol, the biggest stage in the world, where, despite being positioned in the background and only brought out on country-esque tunes, Destinee, 16, and Paris, 15, have shined. 

In these days when a hot Twitter second is about all the attention span people have to spare, Iovine has remained committed to these two for years. And although you can see why, it still feels like a rarity and, for that reason, somewhat surprising. 

So what's next for Destinee and Paris beyond Idol? According to a hastily written one-sheet from the label, the two have recorded their own album on which they worked with "some of the top-name producers in the business." The release date has yet to be determined. 

In the meantime, tune in to Idol tonight to see who the girls back up on Elton John week. Got a song suggestion of your own? Leave it in the comments...