Who Is Alejandro Aranda’s Hero Twin Shadow? Here’s What ‘American Idol’ Hasn’t Shown

Jill O'Rourke
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Alejandro Aranda Twin Shadow American IdolABC

Sunday night’s American Idol showed a side of Alejandro Aranda’s story that they haven’t touched on in the past. The fan favorite’s personal life and history have remained something of a mystery thus far. However, Alejandro’s tribute to his “hero,” musician Twin Shadow, hinted at his past experience in the music industry.

The contestants performed three songs each this week. One of those performances was in tribute to their heroes, in honor of Mother’s Day. Alejandro chose to recognize his friend George Lewis Jr., known by his stage name Twin Shadow. He performed the original song “Blesser,” showing off his impressive piano skills.

Who Is Twin Shadow?

Twin Shadow is a musician who has released four albums since 2010. He has a respectable following on social media, with 31,000 followers on Twitter and 41,000 on Instagram. Some of his YouTube videos have racked up as many as 2 million views.

The 36-year-old singer has also appeared on several late-night television shows and worked with artists like HAIM and Beck. More on that later.

What Is Twin Shadow’s Relationship To Alejandro?

On the show, Alejandro shared that he met George a few years ago on social media, and the artist became his “musical mentor.” He added that George “pushed me to get my songs out there,” and gave him what he needed to make music.


Alejandro expanded on his relationship with the artist to People magazine after Sunday’s show. He said he was working “terrible” jobs and not getting any gigs as a musician when he met George.

“When George Lewis Jr. came in, he provided me with a laptop, a microphone, a guitar,” Alejandro explained. “He put me on the first tour ever as a touring musician. I had my first flight and TV appearance with him. I played my first festival. He’s helped reinvent myself and realized music is everything.”

What Is American Idol Not Sharing?

Alejandro’s comments imply that has had more opportunities in the music industry than American Idol is letting on. Until now, the show has played up the narrative that he’s a sort of struggling genius. That includes referring to him as a dishwasher and a busker and emphasizing that he’s self-taught and has only been playing for a few years.

However, that’s not the whole story. Remember those late-night appearances from Twin Shadow that I mentioned? One of those was on Conan last year. If you look closely, you’ll see Alejandro behind the singer playing bass in a cowboy hat.


Twin Shadow also posted on Instagram that Alejandro toured with him for a year. That includes at least one appearance with Grammy-winning artist Beck. In fact, Beck commented on the post, “Loved touring with you all last year.”

Why Is The Show Hiding Alejandro’s Full Story?

Clearly, Twin Shadow has offered Alejandro some amazing opportunities, so it makes sense that the singer would choose to pay tribute to him on the show. But why haven’t we heard about this aspect of his life before?

Alejandro doesn’t seem too reluctant to share this experience. After all, he chose to spotlight his mentor rather than a family member or friend, and he told People outright that he’s appeared on television and been on tour. My guess is that the show has chosen to downplay this side of his history in the hope of creating a more compelling narrative.


An artist’s story can be just as important as their talent on a show like this. In the show’s eye’s, painting Alejandro as a struggling street performer probably makes for better TV than sharing that he’s hung out with Beck and appeared on Conan. That’s not to say either of those things should disqualify him from the show, but it’s kind of misleading for American Idol to overlook them.

The Top 3 will be returning to their hometowns for the season finale, so it will be interesting to see if the show provides any more insight into Alejandro’s past.

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