R.J. Helton is an American singer best known as a contestant on the first season of the singing reality show American Idol, in 2002. He placed fifth.
Helton moved to Cumming, Georgia, as a child and studied music and dance in school. At 19, he signed a contract with Dryden Entertainment and recorded two demo CDs.
In 2002, he finished fifth in the first season of American Idol. He was not supposed to be part of the Top 10, but made it through as a wildcard choice. The four other wildcard contestants included Kelli Glover, Christopher Aaron, Alexis Stone Lopez and Angela Peel.
He is now signed to Kirk Franklin's GospoCentric Records, and his debut album Real Life was released on March 23, 2004. It made the top 20 of the Billboard Christian charts and sold over 21,000 copies.
On October 18, 2006, Helton identified himself as gay during an interview with host Larry Flick on Flick's show OutQ in the Morning on SIRIUS OutQ, a satellite radio channel focusing on gay and lesbian issues.
Helton stated in an interview on the American Idol Rewind television series (Season 1, Episode 17) that his birth name was Rolando Alberto de Jesus Rivas, Jr., and that it was changed at adoption to Richard Jason Helton.