Fans Support ‘Idol’ Runner-Up After Panic Attacks: ‘Can’t Believe I’m Out Here’

Scene from music video for "Escape" by Scarypoolparty.

Scarypoolparty/YouTube Music video for "Escape" by Alejandro Aranda, aka Scarypoolparty.

Concerned fans of Alejandro Aranda, “American Idol” Season 17’s runner-up, expressed huge relief to see the musician — who goes by the stage name Scarypoolpartysharing upbeat updates on Instagram from his European concert tour. Aranda has been honest and open about his mental health struggles, and the challenge of performing while dealing with anxiety and depression.

In fact, Aranda had been scheduled to perform shows in London after his “Idol” journey and a sold out 2019 North American tour, but had to cancel due to exhaustion. In December 2019, he apologized to fans via Twitter. In his tweet, he explained, “I’ve been dealing with a lot of sleep deprivation and I can’t put it off because now it’s really affecting my health. Coming off American Idol, selling out my first tour and just coming off a fall tour and recording an album I couldn’t ask for more of a dream come true. But honestly I need to get help and find a way to get better and to heal.”

Aranda Says He’s Loving His First Time in the U.K.

After a first stop in Spain, Aranda is playing multiple concert dates in the U.K. and Ireland — including dates that were postponed for three years due to his mental health challenges and the pandemic. On July 9, he posted a series of photos of himself outside CHALK, a popular independent music venue in Brighton.

“Playing at the chalk in Brighton tomorrow,” he wrote. “First Time in the UK. Also played mad cool festival in Spain. Still can’t believe I’m out here. It’s been a blast!!!”

One fan wrote, “You made it! Congrats on pushing past the fear.”

Another wrote, “We’ve always believed in you! Your first European adventure! You’ll have more and they’ll all love your music!”

After playing a show in London on July 11, Aranda posted another series of Instagram photos and wrote, “London…Wow waited 3 years for this moment. And it was absolutely AMAZING. Thank you to everyone that came out. I felt such at home. Thank you thank you thank you”

Anxiety Has Been an Ongoing Challenge for Aranda

Aranda has been open with fans and the media about his ups and downs with anxiety, including stage fright. In an interview with KABC in Los Angeles following the 2019 “American Idol” finale, he said performing in the live shows brought major anxiety.

“I was very much a mess,” he recalled, “and I was just like, ‘I can’t do this, like, I’m not going to go up there and do any of it.’ And then there were a lot of great people on that show that were very encouraging and they helped me out tremendously.”

Sometimes, though, the anxiety has been too much for him to push through. Following the “American Idol” finale, he told KABC, his fear of flying kept him from traveling to to New York for the media appearances that winners and runners-up typically make. And in November 2021, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Aranda abruptly pulled out of a performance at the Outside Lands Festival “to prioritize his mental health.”

In an April 2022 Instagram post, the singer-songwriter posted a photo of himself in a black hoodie with the following update: “Been super stressed out lately And my anxiety has been really taking control of my mental health. But trying hard to keep it together And keeping a healthy outlook on everything. Sending only positive vibes”

Days after that post, he went on to play at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta, Ga. and thanked fans for showing him love when he expressed how low he’d been feeling. The the gifted guitarist posted a photo of himself at an airport and wrote, “I lost feeling In my legs. Had about 7 panic attacks. Cried a lot…But I got on the plane And I made it to Atlanta. Feeling grateful for all the homies who sent such kind messages and love.”

Following his European tour, Aranda’s next scheduled U.S. performance is at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Del.

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