The Untold Truth Of Chris Daughtry

Chris Daughtry went from a finalist on the 5th season of "American Idol" to the frontman of the mega-successful rock band Daughtry, but so much remains widely unknown about the North-Carolina-born rocker (via AllMusic). Apart from his time on "Idol," most of Daughtry's years in the spotlight had been focused on music, rather than his personal life. In November 2021, that tragically changed with the untimely death of his 25-year-old stepdaughter, Hannah Price (via People). As of this writing, Price's death remains under investigation.

Daughtry's rise was unexpected, and by no means guaranteed — Daughtry placed fourth, behind Elliott Yamin, Katherine McPhee, and winner Taylor Hicks, according to Reality TV World, only to outsell all of them, as well as previous "Idol" rockers such as Bo Bice and Constantine Maroulis. In fact, Daughtry became the third most successful "Idol" alumnus in the show's history, just behind Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, according to ScreenRant. (Notably, both Underwood and Clarkson won their seasons.)

Humble beginnings: Early bands, and early reality shows

Chris Daughtry was born in North Carolina, but it was after his family moved to Palmyra, Virginia that the teenager began taking music seriously, according to C-Ville. Around the time he graduated from Fluvanna County High School in 1998, he formed a group called Cadence for a Battle of the Bands show, becoming a fixture in the Charlottesville music scene alongside local bands like Earth to Andy and My Dog Lucy. The lead singer of Earth to Andy, Andy Waldeck, acted as a mentor to the young Daughtry. "​​Andy put a lot of time into me when I was trying to get started," Daughtry told C-Ville. "He would come out to practices and help us get our stuff tight. Stuff like that stands out to me, people who were busy enough as it is but still reached out."

To get the attention of the music industry, Daughtry auditioned for the reality show "Rock Star: INXS," from which he was rejected. Daughtry was working in a car shop when he made the fateful decision to audition for the 5th season of "American Idol," inspired by the previous success on the show of rocker Bo Bice.

"American Idol" Season 5: Daughtry's rise and controversy

Daughtry became an early favorite on Season 5 of "American Idol," where he performed acclaimed covers such as Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" and Fuel's "​​Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" — Fuel was so impressed by the cover that they famously offered him a place in the band (via C-Ville). Simon Cowell, a judge on the reality show at the time, called Daughtry "the first artist ever on the show who's refused to compromise."

But Daughtry, up against more mainstream pop stylists like Hicks and McPhee, didn't win, perhaps due to some awkward moments along the way. He covered Johnny Cash's "Walk The Line," or, more accurately, covered the version of the song first performed by the rock band Live. When Live wasn't initially credited for the arrangement, fans were incensed, believing Daughtry was assuming credit for a version that wasn't his (Daughtry later clarified the cover's source and gave credit on the results show, according to AllMusic). When Daughtry was voted off the show in May 2006, many viewers were shocked — and some even claimed their vote had been miscounted, according to MSNBC.

Daughtry, the band

When Daughtry left "Idol," he signed with 19 Entertainment Group (the production company behind "American Idol") and RCA Records (via AllMusic). Instead of releasing a solo record like so many other past contestants, Daughtry created a band — also called Daughtry — with a lineup consisting of Jeremy Brady and Josh Steely on guitars, Josh Paul on bass, and Joey Barnes on drums (Brady was later replaced by Brian Craddock).

The group's self-titled debut album became one of the biggest rock hits of 2006, and became the fastest-selling debut in SoundScan history, per Reuters. The acclaimed album was also nominated for three Grammys — one for best rock album, and a nomination each for two of the album's singles, "Home" and "It's Not Over." Both songs became top-10 hits on the Hot 100, according to Billboard.

The group's follow-up albums continued to be successful, if the sales were slightly more muted — according to Billboard's album's chart. Each successive album spent less time on the chart than Daughtry's debut. Daughtry's sixth studio album, "Dearly Beloved," peaked at No. 50 after its release in September 2021.

Daughtry is still a pop culture mainstay

Chris Daughtry has continued to be a presence on television since his exit from "American Idol." In 2008, he appeared on an episode of "CSI: NY" as a musician who shares a name with Mac Taylor, the detective played by Gary Sinise, according to People. In the episode, the investigators must hunt down a serial killer who's targeting people named "Mac Taylor."

Daughtry also played Judas in a Fox TV musical, "The Passion," about the death of Jesus, and appeared in the 2015 TV movie "Studio City," according to IMDb. But his most surprising appearance might have been in 2019 when he competed in "The Masked Singer" as the Rottweiler. He came in second place to Wayne Brady's Fox. "The only thing that I think is going to bug me the most is I'm going to hear 'You should've won!' for another 10 years," he joked in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. "That's what I've been hearing ever since Idol, and now I'm going to hear it again."

Chris Daughtry's family and tragedies

In 2000, Chris Daughtry married his girlfriend, Deanna, according to AllMusic, and adopted his wife's children, daughter Hannah Price and son Griffin. A decade into their marriage, the couple welcomed twins, a boy and a girl, in November 2010, according to CBS News. "Our family is overwhelmed with joy by these two precious gifts from God," Daughtry said in a statement at the time.

In 2021, however, Daughtry's apparent familial bliss took a tragic turn as he went on tour for the album "Dearly Beloved." In early November, 25-year-old Hannah was found dead from injuries, according to a statement from her mother on Instagram. In response to the news, Daughtry suspended his tour dates, according to Deadline, saying he was "taking time [to] be present with [his] family."

Hannah's final years were hard, according to reporting by The New York Post. Her biological father committed suicide in March 2018. Later that year, Hannah was shot in the face, in what she said was a shooting by gang members; despite her successful father, she raised money for her recovery over GoFundMe. Earlier in 2021, Hannah was arrested for a hit-and-run incident along with a male driver who allegedly fired a gun, according to the Post.

Hannah's death is still under investigation at the time of this writing.