Another year, another season of American Idol. Season 13 of America’s favorite singing competition show is underway, with some episodes of auditions already in the bag. And while the search for 2014’s next music sensation begins, it’s not uncommon to look back into past winners’ success stories. These peoples’ lives change overnight – by winning the competition, they enter the ranks of superstardom. Although these people remain household names, some may ring a bell more than others. Let’s take a look shall we?
12. Candice Glover
Candace is simply on the bottom of this list because she’s the new girl on the block. Despite her season 12 win, Glover has yet to release her album, which is highly anticipated and expected to drop next month. I’m psyched to hear what Music Speaks will show us about 2013’s Idol winner and the first female winner since 2007’s Jordin Sparks.
11. Lee DeWyze
Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze may have won the hearts of American Idol viewers in 2010, but it seems that may be all he’s won. Since his win, he has released 3 albums: Live It Up in 20100 with “The Lee DeWyze Band,” and 2012’s What Once Was and 2013’s Frames. None of these albums went platinum and the latter sold fewer than 5,000 copies. Sorry, Lee – fourth time’s the charm?
10. Scotty McCreery
The country music singer gets a little leeway for being the first American Idol winner to be born in the 1990s, but the Season 10 winner hasn’t made as much as the other platinum-selling artists who take the Idol crown. A heartthrob to teenage girls everywhere, however, his post-idol album titled, Clear As Day, went platinum, which puts him at number ten and barely at the bottom of the list.
9. Taylor Hicks
The season five winners, known for his early grey hairs, gets a low ranking for his little notoriety. Since his Idol departure, Hicks has released three albums, the last of which, The Distance, was released in 2009. Though Hicks hasn’t released much since then, he has been enjoying his time doing 2009’s national tour of Grease and guest starring on an episode of Criminal Minds. His slowly fizzling presence and lack of success compared to his counterparts lead us to give him number 9.
8. Kris Allen
The “Live Like We’re Dying” rocker won the hearts of girls and women everywhere in Idol’s eighth season. However, not much is to be said of this heartthrob. Though his self-titled album did achieve platinum, his last record, Thank You Camellia didn’t get him very far. Still around and touring despite having more potential to have success, Allen lands the spot of number 8 on our list.
7. Phillip Phillips
The “Home” singer truly won our hearts fast. The second youngest idol contestant not only had the most successful chart-topping coronation song, but also a platinum album. He has since released only one album but has toured with hunky, musician royalty like John Mayer. His ability to sell number 1 hits like “Home” and “Gone, Gone, Gone,” put him up on our list.
6. Ruben Studdard
Though he wasn’t the most colorful Idol contestant, season two winner Ruben Studdard is definitely one of the most deserving. Since his 2003 win, he has released five albums, including Soulful which went platinum. Studdard even racked a Grammy nomination for Soulful, his debut album. Ruben is enduring a very successful recording career and has even dipped his feet into reality TV (the 15th season of The Biggest Loser) and even doing some stage work. His talent and success lands him at number six.
5. David Cook
Cook is one of the many Idol alumni who is known for the guitar in his hand. Cook lands his spot at #5 for his exceedingly great vocals and his flexibility for not staying in the same genre. During Idol, Cook pushed his boundaries and stepped outside his comfort zone of “rock and alternative” towards more of a pop feel. This journey and rise as a performer landed him the Idol crown in season 7. His talent and three album releases have awarded him the #5 spot.
4. Fantasia Barrino
Fantasia is good at everything she does. Clenching the season three crown, Barrino has since released 5 albums, like Studdard, but she has also done much more. She got three Grammy nominations for her platinum album Free Yourself and has also had appearances on Broadway, starring in The Color Purple. Fantasia has also released a book, a memoir titled Life Is Not A Fairy Tale. Barrino’s had a tough life, having a child at 16 and having a successful career to help get her life on track. Her success, talent, and Cinderella story put her at the fourth spot.
3. Jordin Sparks
The youngest winner in the history of American Idol is definitely deserving of the number 3 spot. Sparks took the season six winning spot at 17, and released a platinum album, like her counterparts, after her idol win. She has since released a few chart toppers, and got her a Grammy for her collaboration with Chris Brown for “No Air.” Sparks also is at the top of the list for her other endeavors: she was in the 2012 movie Sparkle, with the late Whitney Houston and starred as Nina in In The Heights making her debut in 2010 on the Great White Way.
2. Carrie Underwood
A favorite amongst country fans everywhere, Underwood took season 4 by storm. Carrie remains in competition with Clarkson to this day, but while Clarkson is on the pop charts Underwood reins supreme at the country scene. Underwood has won six Grammys since her departure of the show and has sold multi-platinum albums. She has since released four, soon to be five albums, and shows no signs of stopping. Last time we saw her we watched her perform as Maria Von Trapp on the live stage performance of The Sound of Music and though the performance was highly criticized, it has since added to her already there notoriety.
1. Kelly Clarkson
– The first American Idol reigns supreme. Season one’s Kelly Clarkson can seriously do no wrong. Though our winners at the bottom of the list have come and gone, Kelly is still around – and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Clarkson has since released 6 albums and has sold platinum albums. Though Carrie comes in a close second, Clarkson’s flexibility in genres and strong pop vocals bring this pop princess to number one on our list. Let’s admit it – Kelly is fierce and she will always be fierce. Come on, I know you know all the words to “Since U Been Gone.”