First he smoldered for the cameras as a finalist on season four of "American Idol." Now Constantine Maroulis is heating up daytime television with a recurring role as music producer Constantine Parros on "The Bold and the Beautiful."
"It's been awesome," says Maroulis of his stint on "B&B" (weekdays, 2 p.m., Ch. 2), which is second only to "Young and the Restless" in daytime-drama ratings. "It's a good gig, and they've bent over backward for me. They've featured my music on the show and written me into the main story line."
Maroulis, 31, saw the soap stint as a good way to promote his upcoming album, "Constantine," which will be released Aug. 7. (The first single, "Everybody Loves," already is available on iTunes.)
"I think they wanted to gear the audience a little younger this summer and sort of shake things up a bit," says Maroulis, who discovered that "B&B" executive producer Brad Bell was a fan. "When he called, I'd been finishing up the album in New York, had done some Broadway this year and such, and it just was perfect timing."
While Maroulis gained the national spotlight as a singer on "Idol" in 2005, he was well prepared to take on an acting challenge. Born in Brooklyn and reared in New Jersey, he earned a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater from the Boston Conservatory while concurrently minoring in voice at the Berklee College of Music.
Prior to "Idol," he spent two years portraying Roger Davis in a touring company of "Rent." He finished 2006 by co-starring in the Broadway musical "The Wedding Singer" and started 2007 by performing Off-Broadway in "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris" for six weeks.
A veteran of high-school garage bands, Maroulis was the lead singer for the rock band Pray for the Soul of Betty when he auditioned for "Idol" (he left the group in March 2006). He came to the talent competition with years of performing experience, unlike many contestants best known for singing in the shower, but he didn't find the dichotomy awkward.
"I think it certainly worked for me," he says by cell phone as he waits for his flight to board at Los Angeles International Airport. "I think the energy that I bring to the stage and the work I like to do is about connecting to the audience in a cerebral, heartfelt way, not just blowing them away with a voice or looks or anything like that.
"I'm experienced, and I've traveled the world, and I've seen a lot of things. With other people, they (pick) certain performers that are fresh off the boat, off the farm or plucked out of the mall or whatever. It's just a different path from some other people, that's all."
After six weeks of impressing viewers as a finalist with such numbers as "Bohemian Rhapsody," "I Can't Make You Love Me" and "I Think I Love You," Maroulis was voted off "Idol" during a shocking results show following his performance the night before of Nickelback's "How You Remind Me."
"The song was not right for me," says the singer, who was the season's sixth-place finisher. "But that was what was meant to be."
He views his "Idol" experience as positive.
"I went into it with an open mind and open heart, and I did my best," he says. "I've been very blessed since then. I can't complain. I've gotten to do everything I've wanted to do.
"Now I'm gearing up for this recordspent a lot of time on it, started my own label, handpicked musicians, the producers, the writers. Collaborated with some great people. There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears on this record.