American Idol Stars Then And Now

By David S 12 months ago

1. Kelly Clarkson - THEN

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Kelly Clarkson, real name Kelly Brianne was born on April 24, 1982, and is from Fort Worth, Texas. She auditioned for American Idol in 2002, receiving a golden ticket pass to the Hollywood rounds, going on to win the competition becoming the first-ever American Idol!

2.  Kelly Clarkson - NOW

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Since being crowned the original American Idol, Clarkson has sold over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide. Her best-selling song is Stronger released in 2012. Kelly disclosed in 2019 that she has been managing an autoimmune and thyroid condition!

3. Justin Guarini - THEN

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A former member of the Atlanta Boy Choir. Justin Guarini was the runner-up on the first season of American Idol. Justin was the only contestant to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was even offered a Broadway role in The Lion King, turning this down to appear on the show.

4. Justin Guarini - NOW

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After selling 146,000 copies of his self-titled debut album in 2003 Justin returned to Broadway performing as Carlos in the musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in 2010. It is rumoured that his career to date has earned him a net worth of $700k!

5. Ruben Studdard - THEN

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Singing Stevie Wonder's "Ribbon in the Sky" when auditioning for American Idol. Ruben Studdard was the winner of the show in 2003 and earned the nickname Velvet Teddy Bear. Ruben sang for the first time at the Rising Star Baptist Church as a child back home in Birmingham, Alabama.

6. Ruben Studdard - NOW

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The Alabama Governor declared March 11, 2003, as "Ruben Studdard Day when he was confirmed as the second American Idol. Rubens's debut album Soulful went Platinum after selling 1.8 million copies. In 2013 Studdard joined the cast of The Biggest Loser and had the highest recorded starting weight of all contestants.

7. Clay Aiken - THEN

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In early life, Clay Aiken, born in Raleigh, North Carolina performed the national anthem before Raleigh IceCaps and Carolina Hurricanes hockey team games. Aiken finished second place on the second season of American Idol in 2003 after being pushed to audition by the mother of an autistic boy that he was looking after at the time.

8. Clay Aiken - NOW

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After the show, Akin has gone on tour on 11 separate occasions, selling over 5 million albums. In 2014, Clay also delved into politics becoming the Democratic Party's candidate for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district. He also came out as gay in 2008.

9. Jennifer Hudson - THEN

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Coming seventh on the third season of American Idol in 2004. Jennifer Hudson signed her first record deal before appearing on the show with Righteous Records in 2002. Hudson was eliminated from the show after performing Barry Manilow's, "Weekend in New England"

10. Jennifer Hudson - NOW

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Hudson went from strength to strength after American Idol. Her albums I Remember Me (2011) and JHUD (2014) were placed in the top ten of the Billboard 200. She has had various acting roles and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.

11. Carrie Underwood: - THEN

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Winning the fourth season of American Idol in 2005 the winning prize included a recording contract, use of a private jet for a year, and a Ford Mustang convertible. When Underwood was 14 she had an audition with Capitol Records, however, any potential contract was pulled due to a change of management.

12. Carrie Underwood - NOW

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After American Idol, Carrie won three Grammy Awards for her debut album Some Hearts (2005) She also became the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history. Underwood has also signed multimillion-dollar commercial deals with Skechers and Target.

13. Chris Daughtry - THEN

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Chris Daughtry started to take singing seriously aged 16 appearing in musicals, The Wiz and Peter Pan. Daughtry auditioned for American Idol in Denver and finished fourth in the fifth season. His most memorable performance on the show was Fuel's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)"

14. Chris Daughtry - NOW

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Upon leaving American Idol, Chris formed his own rock band named Daughtry, releasing a self-titled album in 2006 which reached number one on the Billboard chart and selling 304k copies in the first week. In his spare time, Chris enjoys drawing comics and has even published comic book art.

15. Katharine McPhee - THEN

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The daughter of a television producer. Katharine McPhee was born in Los Angeles, California on March 25 1984. She rose to fame as the runner-up on the fifth season of American Idol. In her audition, she sang "God Bless the Child", originally sung by Billie Holiday.

16. Katharine McPhee - NOW

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Since leaving American Idol, Mcphee has released several albums, established an acting career, and has also performed on Broadway and London's West End. In 2014 she was named on the Forbes list for earning $1 million the previous year. In 2022, she also released a jewelry line called KMF Jewelry.

17. Jordin Sparks - THEN

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Jordin Sparks is the youngest ever winner of American Idol at the age 17 gaining a group of loyal fans along the way known as Sparkplugs. She earned the "gold ticket" straight to the Hollywood Round after an audition in Seattle. This was her second audition after previously not getting past the first round in LA.

18. Jordin Sparks - NOW

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In 2008, Sparks released her self-titled debut studio album which is certified platinum and includes the song "No Air" featuring Chris Brown which is the third highest-selling single by any American Idol contestant, selling over three million copies in the USA. Sparks previously dated Jason Derulo ending the relationship in 2014.

19. Adam Lambert - THEN

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Before American Idol, Adam Lambert performed on cruise ships at the age of 19. Lambert finished second place in the eighth season of the show. In one of the live shows his rendition of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" was lauded by all judges on the panel.

20. Adam Lambert - NOW

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Lambert has sold 3 million albums and 5 million singles worldwide since 2009 including his debut album For Your Entertainment. He has also collaborated with Queen taking part in several worldwide tours from 2014 to 2022. Adam confirmed he was gay in a Rolling Stone cover interview in December 2011.

21. Kellie Pickler - THEN

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Kellie Pickler auditioned for American Idol aged 19 in 2005. Pickler finished sixth in the fifth series and was one of Simon Cowell's favorite contestants stating that she would make the final three. Before the show, Kellie had never sung in front of audiences and regularly mispronouncing words.

22. Kellie Pickler - NOW

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Shortly after filming  the series, Pickler signed a record deal with 19 Recordings/BNA Records in 2006. Releasing her debut album Small Town Girl in the same year selling 900k records. Kellie has also toured on behalf of United Service Organizations performing in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

23. David Archuleta - THEN

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The son of a Honduras mother, David Archuleta won the child's Utah Talent Competition at the age of 10. In 2008 he joined the cast of American Idol and finished second on the seventh season. During the final, he sang "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", "In This Moment" and "Imagine"

24. David Archuleta - NOW

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David's self titled debut album released in 2008 has sold 900k copies worldwide. Overall he has released eight studio albums. In 2014 Archuleta came out as gay to his family and this was announced publicly in 2021. Previously he had been engaged to multiple women.

25. Katie Stevens - THEN

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Auditioning for American Idol in Boston, Katie Stevens sang "At Last" and was sent straight to the Hollywood round. She eventually placed eighth on on the ninth season of American Idol. In 2010 she joined the American Idols live tour singing "Here We Go Again" and "Fighter"

26. Katie Stevens - NOW

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After elimination, Stevens went on a tour of talk shows including, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Late Show with David Letterman performing "Superhuman" Katie then focused on acting and in 2016 won the role of Jane Sloan in The Bold Type which was on screen for five seasons.

27. Constantine Maroulis - THEN

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Placing sixth place on the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, Constantine Maroulis was eliminated after performing Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" Born in Brooklyn in 1975, Maroulis sang in school high school garage bands, after developing an interest in music aged five.

28. Constantine Maroulis - NOW

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Constantine Maroulis set a new Guinness World Record in 2009 for the largest group Air Guitar which involved 810 people, beating the previous record which had 440. In 2015 he was arrested for domestic violence, however all charges were later dropped.

29. Fantasia Barrino - THEN

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Giving birth to her first child aged 16, Fantasia Barrino went on to win the third season of American Idol, Barrino beat the runner-up Diana DeGarmo by 1.3 million votes. She took up singing at the age of five following in the footsteps of her cousins and uncles who were also professional musicians.

30. Fantasia Barrino - NOW

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After American Idol, her debut album, Free Yourself, is certified platinum and received three Grammy nominations in 2006. As of 2012, Barrino had sold 2,842,000 albums in the USA. In 2010, she was rushed to hospital after overdosing on aspirin and sleeping pills.

31. Taylor Hicks - THEN

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Taylor Hicks was the oldest person to win the show when he competed for the fifth season - but you have to admit, he even looks older than his 29 years! Maybe it's the grey hair? Anyway, Hicks earned a well-deserved first place in the show for season five.

32. Taylor Hicks - NOW

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Well he's kept the silver fox look, and now has a salt and pepper beard to boot! He's continued his stage success by bagging a role in the Broadway version of Grease, as well as landing a residency in Las Vegas. Alongside that, he also decided to open his own restaurant!

33. Lauren Alaina - THEN

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Lauren Alaina was only very young when she first appeared on the show - at only 16 years old. But hey, this is show business, so it's not the youngest we've ever had! She didn't actually win, but she was the runner up of the tenth season of the show - but failing to win definitely didn't mean a fail!

34. Lauren Alaina - NOW

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Lauren definitely had a popular following, because her success led her to release not one, not two but three studio albums - with no signs of stopping soon! Just proving that you don't have to win a talent show to find success because of it! She was also invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

35. Kris Allen - THEN

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Kris Allen appeared on the eighth season of the show, and went on to actually win it. Before his appearance on the show, he'd actually already self-released his own music album, and was looking for his shot into super stardom. So what is Kris up to these days?

36. Kris Allen - NOW

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Well the singer-songwriter isn't doing too shabby. Kris released his first official album (non self-released) which actually then debuted at number 11 in the U.S Billboard top 200! Not only that, but he decided to switch up his solo singing career by starting a band called The Dames.

37. Candice Glover - THEN

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Candice Glover's success in American Idol wasn't smooth-sailing at first. She had to audition three times to actually get a shot on the show! And it's a good job they eventually gave her a chance, because Glover ended up passing the auditions, the show and winning season 12!

38. Candice Glover - NOW

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So what's she up to these days? Well, like many American Idol winners, she released a debut album of course - and it reached number three on the US R&B charts! She's also appeared on stage, as she bagged a role in Broadway's Home for the Holidays, which was Glover's debut.

39. David Cook - THEN

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If you haven't watched the show and only have this picture to go off, then you won't be surprised to learn that David Cook's audition saw him as a bit of a rocker! Back in 2008, his rock pipes were impressive enough to see him through the auditions - and the whole show, to win season seven!

40. David Cook - NOW

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So has he held on to his love of rock? Yes, he did go on to release not one but four huge studio albums to show off his singing. And after the release of his successful albums, he then bagged another opportunity of a lifetime  - he got a role in the iconic Kinky Boots on Broadway!

41. Trenyce - THEN

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The second season of American Idol saw Trenyce (Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins) make it to the final. Although she didn't win, she placed in the final 5 and went on to have a very successful career! During the show, she was known for singing powerhouses like Whitney and Celine Dion.

42. Trenyce - NOW

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And her success has only got bigger and bigger! She's still singing, but she also broke into musical theater - and not even for minor roles at that. She took the lead role of Diana Ross in Motown The Musical, and she's even had a taste for the acting world after appearing in Kick Ass 2.

43. William Hung - THEN

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William Hung was the perfect example of how you can become famous overnight - even if you don't get past the auditions. Although he didn't make it onto the show, his audition of Ricky Martin's 'She Bangs' was memorable enough that he became an overnight star! And rightly so.

44. William Hung - NOW

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Due to the fame his audition caused, he went on to star in more than one celebrity interview, including Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno. And despite not making it past the auditions, he was even offered a record deal! These days though he's focusing more on his career as a motivational speaker.

45. Jasmine Trias - THEN

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When she appeared on season 3 of the show, Jasmine Trias was the first Asian-American contestant to make it to the final. She was one of the top 3 of the third season, and since her original appearance, she's even returned to the show to perform as a guest singer!

46. Jasmine Trias - NOW

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Singer Jasmine is now a platinum-selling artist, and after the show, she released her self-titled album which was given the gold certification in the Philippines. Not only that, but she's been a star in Las Vegas, performing in the holiday musical 'This Is Christmas'!

47. Melinda Doolittle - THEN

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Before her audition on American Idol, Melinda Doolittle was working as a backup singer. She appeared on the sixth season of the show, and she ended up coming third behind Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis. But placing third didn't stop her from going on to find success!

48. Melinda Doolittle - NOW

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Melinda released her debut album in 2009, Coming Back to You, which was then followed by another album in 2013. She even found time to publish a book between albums! She also set her sights on TV hosting, where she hosted Idology and Reality Check for years.

49. Sanjaya Malakar - THEN

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Singer Sanjaya appeared on season six of the show, when he was only 17 years old. He actually auditioned with his sister and his cousin - keeping it in the family! Despite having a huge fanbase, Sanjaya actually found himself butting heads with Idol judge Simon Cowell a lot of the time.

50. Sanjaya Malakar - NOW

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And it seems that Sanjaya just couldn't get past that criticism and difficulty in finding a job outside of the music industry, as he was constantly told he wouldn't be taken seriously as an artist. He switched careers instead to begin working as a pastry chef! But he's not fully against returning to TV, either...

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