American Idol Wiki

James Gray Dawson VIII (born November 6, 1991),[1] known professionally by his stage name James VIII,[2] was a contestant on Season 15 of American Idol.


James auditioned in Denver, alongside his friend, Amber Lynn.[2] He sang "Sun Comes Up" by John Legend. All three judges voted "yes", sending him to the next round.[2]

Hollywood Round[]

James's first round a cappella and second round group performances were both not televised. (Although during a 'bad choreography' montage, his group was visible—also containing Josiah Siska, Amber Lynn, and Olivia Rox. Everyone advanced, with the exception of Josiah.) However, he was shown during the third part of Hollywood Week, singing "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak for his Solo Round performance.[3] Afterwards, he was subsequently placed into a room, where everyone within made it through to the Showcase Round. For his final solo performance, James sang "Change the World" by Eric Clapton–originally by Wynonna Judd.[4] (This was also untelevised, but viewable online via Vevo.)[4] At the Final Judgment, the judges told him that he did enough to become a Top 24 semifinalist.[5]

Top 24[]

James performed during the Group 1 semifinals. He sang "Love Lockdown" by Kanye West for his solo performance.[6][7] For his Idol alumni duet, he and Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson sang "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones (feat. Merry Clayton),[7][8] which Caleb sang (as a duet with runner-up, Jena Irene) on Top 7 night during his season. Due to the absence of a public vote, the judges alone deliberated and opted not to select James as one of the seven contestants to advance to the next round,[8] thereby eliminating him from the competition.[7]

List of Performances[]

Stage Song Artist Result
Audition "Unaware" (acc. Amber Lynn) Allen Stone Advanced
"Sun Comes Up" John Legend
Hollywood Not Shown On Television Advanced
"Wicked Game" Chris Isaak Advanced
Showcase "Change the World" (Vevo)* Eric Clapton Top 24
Top 24 "Love Lockdown" Kanye West Eliminated
"Gimme Shelter" (w/ Caleb Johnson) The Rolling Stones (feat. Merry Clayton)


Quick Links[]

  1. James VIII on Spotify (or the 8th/Eighth)
  2. James VIII on Instagram
  3. James VIII on Facebook