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For David Francisco, there's life after 'Idol'

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Former "American Idol" contestant David Francisco is taking the stage this weekend at the Rhythm 'N Blooms Festival, back home for the first time since his experience on the national stage.

Francisco wowed the judges with his talent and his story of coming back after being hit by a car while on his bike.

Even though he was eliminated from the show, the exposure he received is propelling him toward the next level of his career. Francisco found himself in demand after the country learned of his talent and his story.

"I've been so busy trying to respond to everything, trying to keep up. I feel like there's a million different balls I'm trying to juggle. I can't keep them all up. Sometimes one of them falls. I'm like, oh man!" he said.

"Had no idea the amount of positive response would come from it and so many more followers and fans and really genuine people that have reached out to share their own story and how David affected them through a reality TV show," said his wife Kristi Platiillero.

Francisco is happy to see his friend Dennis Lorenzo make it to the top 24. The two knew each other before the show.

"So when we were trying out for 'Idol,' he like saw me and said hey, 'Yo, what's up?' and I'm like, 'Oh yeah dude!' And I hadn't heard him sing until Hollywood either and then, he was like really good," Francisco said.

What said Francisco apart was his inspirational story of being hit by a distracted driver two years ago, thrown from his bike, suffering spinal cord injuries, and being told by doctors he would never walk again.

It was a dark time for Francisco and his devastated parents.

"It's a complete injury. That's what the written diagnosis says, which sounds pretty ominous, sounds pretty bad. Complete injury, no recovery is possible," said his father John Platillero.

Two years later, the family is full of gratitude for their son who never gave up and for his beautiful, caring wife who is like a daughter to them.

Francisco drew a small crowd at K Brew in North Knoxville before Friday night's show, singing one of his original songs, based on his experiences.

His first show Friday night had a full band, but Saturday and Sunday offer something a little different.

"A lot more intimate. like maybe more interaction with the crowd and then for Kristi and I to do a little performing together. That'll be fun," Francisco said.

"It iis very fun to go on this journey with David. He makes every day special and interesting..he is what you see, nothing different. He doesn't put on a show and so just the genuineness of everything we go into kind of just naturally brings humor to things. So we live life differently with his handsomeness, his handicappedness, it's just very fun and... making me laugh now," said his wife Kristi.

The two look forward to the journey ahead, grateful to "American Idol" for the springboard it provided.

"I was a little bit sad when it ended but mainly just because I didn't feel like i did my best. But I in no way am giving up on the whole music route because, if anything, I feel more than ever that's what I'm called to do. The way to share my story, it just served its purpose and now going forward, I go from there," said Francisco.

Francisco just performed a concert in Connecticut before arriving in Knoxville. He also has an album full of original songs coming out this summer and a 500 mile bike ride called the Ride for Hope to raise funds for spinal cord research.

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