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Ryan Starr (born Tiffany Ryan Montgomery on November 21, 1982) is an Americanmarker female singer, songwriter and actress. She ranked seventh on the season 1 of the talent search television series American Idol. She has since appeared in numerous movies and both reality and scripted television programs.

Early life

Starr was born into a Christian middle-class family in . She is of Frenchmarker, Colombianmarker, Irishmarker, and Peruvianmarker decent.

American Idol

Starr appeared during the audition rounds on the first season of American Idol, using her birth name. According to Simon Cowell's memoir I Don't Mean to be Rude, she was "cripplingly shy" at the audition, but "Paula [Abdul] saw some potential for stardom in her, and decided to mentor her." As a result, he claims, Montgomery became overly confident, changing her name to "Ryan Starr" by the next phase of the competition, dressing in flamboyant homemade outfits, and insisting on singing rock rather than the pop music he felt she was suited for.

Instead of the usual pop hits that other contestants were singing, Starr chose an unusual song, "The Frim Fram Sauce," in the first semi-final. She was the second singer from that group to be voted into the Top Ten. The following week, Starr was the first to perform on American Idol's first live show. She sang "If You Really Love Me" by Stevie Wonder, and received praise from the judges, including this quote from Simon Cowell: "Pure star performance, loved it."Starr faltered when she sang the Kinks' "You Really Got Me," and was panned by the judges. Cowell called it "dreadful." The following week she sang Donna Summer's "Last Dance," and received praise from the judges, but was eliminated.

Starr returned with the rest of the finalists during the shows' finale and sang "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'", and went on a nationwide 32-city tour with the other finalists. RCA, in partnership with American Idol, signed her.

American Idol performances

Week Theme Song Original artist Result
Auditions Contestant's Choice "Lean on Me"
Bill Withers
Alicia Keys
Semi-Final Group 1 Free Choice "The Frim-Fram Sauce" Nat King Cole Advanced
Top 10 Motown "If You Really Love Me" Stevie Wonder Safe
Top 8 1960s "You Really Got Me" The Kinks Bottom 2
Top 7 1970s "Last Dance" Donna Summer Eliminated
Season finale "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" Nancy Sinatra

Post-American Idol music career

Starr blamed for her stalled music career on a two-year restrictive recording contract with RCA. Under this contract, she refused to record an album claiming producers wanted to turn her into an Avril Lavigne type singer. After an intense three year legal battle she was released from contract in 2005.

Upon release from her contract, Starr released an iTunes Exclusive Single, "My Religion." The song went all the way to #1 on the US Billboard Hot Digital Songs Chart, and was noted in the 2005 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records to have sold the most exclusive single downloads in iTunes's history. They also went on to detail the fact that My Religion was slated to be released to stores in early 2006, however, iTunes refused to release Ryan Starr's single from contract.

The song also fared very well on the American iTunes Top 100 songs peaking at #7, and also on iTunes Irelandmarker, iTunes Russiamarker, and iTunes UKmarker. It also entered the top 20 on iTunes Italymarker, and into the top 50 in iTunes Francemarker. One of the highest selling exclusive singles ever, it sold an estimated 360,000 units worldwide according to MTV and USA Today.

In an interview given to the Today Show in early 2007, Starr revealed that iTunes had expressed interest in Starr releasing another exclusive single to follow up the immense success of "My Religion." Starr claimed that she was reluctant to accept as she wished to release a full album, but hinted she had accepted the very lucrative offer put forth by iTunes. Rumors began to circulate that 'Stranded' would be the next exclusive single when images of a single cover were released on her MySpace.

Reports were previously made that Starr turned down a three-album deal with Sanctuary Records. The deal supposedly required her to record two pop albums before being allowed to record her rock album. These reports were later confirmed to be false by her.

Starr revealed to MTV that she had formed a band called Aces. The music pure rock, and both she and the band members are very excited with the material.

Television & film career

Shortly after her run on American Idol, Starr made a guest appearance on the popular Fox network comedy That '70s Show, and had a guest role on an episode of the hit CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Starr had the lead role in the Direct-To-Video movie, Ring of Darkness.

In 2004, made her most prominent appearance since American Idol, appearing in the VH1 reality show The Surreal Life. She often appeared ill-at-ease during the program, bursting into tears in response to a male stripping performance, refusing to participate in a ghost-hunt due to her religious convictions, and decrying the fact that she was forced to participate in a group recording session that required her to sing pop rather than rock music.

In fall 2008, Starr appeared in Fox Reality's Gimme My Reality Show, in which she competed with such D-listers as Kato Kaelin and A.J. Benza for the chance to star in her own reality show. Shocked at being cut after the second round, a tearful Starr told the camera, "I sometimes regret doing American Idol because sometimes I think maybe that's why I don't have a record deal... But I promised myself I'd never do anything else I regretted that much. I regret doing this show, and it's going to stay with me for a long time. I regret doing this show."

Personal life & charity

Starr has said numerous times in interviews that she comes from a troubled past. Although she has yet to comment on exactly what this means, she has made it clear that she has cut ties with most of her immediate family. Her love life has been kept fairly quiet; however People Magazine snapped a photo of Starr flirting and exchanging phone numbers with Tobey Maguire . She was also seen dancing with Jake Gyllenhaal . In late 2004, Starr purchased a house on the Santa Monicamarker coastline with an estimated value of $3.4 million .

In June 2006, Starr visited Aviva Foundation, a troubled and abused child home in northern Los Angelesmarker. After spending the day with the girls and playing various sports and games with them, Starr commented on her blog, "It was such an inspiring day to see these teens who have literally nothing, and yet they're still just like all of us; and they are fighting to make themselves better." While at the Aviva Foundation, Starr attracted media attention, and spoke out on the matter stating that something had to be done.

In conjunction with her spread in US Weekly, Starr released several news updates on her MySpace. Some of the news updates included the fact she will be returning to the runway sporting some of her own designs, and possibly some for Gucci. In her personal life, Starr said that doing charity work has become a central part of her life. She has been working constantly with poor children, and helping to clean up Los Angeles.

Television appearances

Year Title Role Other notes
2002 American Idol 7th place finalist Went on a nationwide, 32-city tour with all the American Idol finalists.
2002 That '70s Show Marcie
2002, 2004 Entertainment Tonight Guest Star
2002 - 2005 Access Hollywood Starr, along with fellow idol R. J. Helton, did numerous interviews with Access Hollywood.
2002 - 2006 Fox News Guest Star
2003 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Sophia Renatta Starr appeared in an episode where she was killed in a diving accident, which looked like murder.
2003 What I Like About You Pam Wayne
2003 Good Day Live Guest Star
2003 Live with Regis and Kelly Guest Star Sang 'Lean on Me.'
2003, 2005 TRL Guest Star Interviewed.
2004 The Surreal Life Housemate
2004 VH1 Big in 04 Star Starr presented an award along with Flava Flav.
2004 On Air with Ryan Seacrest Guest Star Starr was interviewed by Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol.
2004 Howard Stern Guest Star
2004 Good Morning America Guest Star
2004 The View Guest Star
2005 Battle of the Network Reality Stars Star "Although it was a fun, short-n-sweet thing to do, I wouldn't do it again." - Ryan Starr
2005 A Rockin' Las Vegas New-Year with Ryan Starr Host
2005 Billboard Music Awards Red carpet
2005 Extra Guest Star
2005 All Star Reality Reunion Interviewed
2006 Lingerie Bowl Star Starr was a side-line reporter.
2006 The Tyra Banks Show Guest Star
2006 Kill Reality 2 Star Currently Filming
2007 Dr. Keith Ablow Interviewed


Year Title Role Other notes
2004 Ring of Darkness Stacy Lead role
2006 Vendetta Brigitte Douglas


Year Title Role Other notes
2003 Old Navy Herself With several other Idols.
2004 Fuse TV Herself Promoting a new rock line-up.
2006 Nascar Herself Promoting her July 15 Nascar Runway Performance.



  • "My Religion"
  • "Love Gone Bad" posted on her MySpace
  • "Stranded" posted on her MySpace
  • "7am" posted on her MySpace
  • "Blue" available on the Curtain Call, Volume 1 compilation
  • "Broken" available on the Curtain Call, Volume 1 compilation


  1. 'American Idol' Throwback: Where Are They Now? - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News
  2. How 'Idols' are faring |

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