'American Idol' winners - Where and what are they doing now
'American Idol' is returning on ABC for season 17 on March 3 this year. Ryan Seacrest will be returning as the host of the singing competition. Country music star Luke Bryan, music icon Lionel Richie and singer-songwriter Katy Perry continue on the show as judges. Though the premiere of the new season is still a couple of months away, most of you might be wondering where the other 16 winners might be and what are they doing currently. So here's a look into the lives they have been living and what they have been up to all these years.
'American Idol' Season 1 winner - Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson has come a long way since she won the first season title. After her win, she received a record deal with RCA Records. She debuted her single, 'A Moment Like This.' It topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the country's best-selling single of 2002. So far, Clarkson has sold over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide. She has also received many awards including three Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and two Academy of Country Music Awards. She has also acted in films, television, and has written children's books. Currently, she is a coach on 'The Voice' season 16 after winning two seasons in a row.
'American Idol' Season 2 winner - Ruben Studdard
Ruben Studdard became famous after his season 2 win of 'American Idol'. He also received a Grammy Award nomination in 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for 'Superstar'. In the past years Studdard released a total seven studio albums that include his platinum-selling debut, 'Soulful', and the top-selling gospel follow-up, 'I Need an Angel'. He also won two Billboard Music Awards in 2005 for Best Gospel Album and Best Gospel Artist. Studdard appeared as a contestant on the weight loss show 'The Biggest Loser' in 2013 and lost 119 pounds. Recently, he made his Broadway debut in December 2018 in 'Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show,' which showcased at the Imperial Theater.
'American Idol' Season 3 winner - Fantasia Barrino
Fantasia Barrino is the winner of the third season of 'American Idol.' After her win she released her debut single, 'I Believe.' The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. She also released her debut album, 'Free Yourself.' The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA and she received three Grammy nominations in 2006. From the time she won the title, Barrino has kept herself busy even though she is a single mother. In 2012 VH1 ranked her #32 out of the 100 Greatest Women in Music. In 2013, she returned to perform on 'American Idol' again. Barriono was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame on October 16, 2014. She left her longtime record label and released 'Christmas After Midnight' on October 6, 2017.
'American Idol' Season 4 winner - Carrie Underwood
After her win on the reality TV competition series, she released her debut single, 'Inside Your Heaven'. Her single was the first country music single in history to debut at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. She released a bunch of famous singles like 'Jesus Take the Wheel' and became the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history. She has won numerous awards and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. In 2017 Underwood sustained injuries and last year Underwood released 'The Champion', a promotional duet single featuring Ludacris for Super Bowl LII. She also released her 6th studio album 'Cry Pretty' last year. Throughout this journey one thing is for sure, Underwood has won herself a great name in the country music scene.
'American Idol' Season 5 winner -Taylor Hicks
Taylor Hicks released two independent albums even before his win on 'American Idol.' After his win, he was signed to Arista Records and released his self titled album in 2006. In 2009, Hicks released his second album, 'The Distance', under his own label. He also starred in 'Grease' in the national tour as the Teen Angel. In 2009, he made it to the Forbes' "Top Ten earning American Idol stars" list, coming in at number 10. He also performed in Bally's in Las Vegas for over a year in 2013. He then didn't release any music for 8 years up until 2017 when he premiered his song, 'Six Strings and Diamond Rings' with Billboard Music. Taylor Hicks began hosting 'State Plate' via the INSP channel since 2016.
'American Idol' Season 6 winner - Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks was the youngest winner in the series' history. Following her win, she released her self-titled debut studio album that same year and it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling over two million copies worldwide. She also had a second studio album, 'Battlefield' (2009), which debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200 chart. After that, she made her way into Broadway and featured in many musicals and films. That is not all, she also released her own line of perfumes. After five years of not releasing anything in music, in 2014, she released a mixtape called #byefelicia. In 2018, KIN Network announced a web series titled 'Heart of Batter with Jordin Sparks' which focused on Sparks' love for baking.
'American Idol' Season 7 winner - David Cook
Following his win, David Cook released a self-titled album which has since been certified platinum by the RIAA. His second album 'This Loud Morning' was released in 2011. His third album after his win, 'Digital Vein', was released in 2015. In 2016, Cook did a lot of touring. And in 2017, he released his next album 'Gimme Heartbreak'. He also released an EP, 'Chromance', in early 2018. And, in October last year, he released a new single, 'Death of Me.'
'American Idol' Season 8 winner - Kris Allen
A lot of the winners released their self-titled albums post their wins. And just like them Kris Allen did the same and it debuted at number 11 on the U.S. Billboard 200. His Idol coronation song, 'No Boundaries' and his version of 'Heartless' charted within the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. In 2012, he released his second album, 'Thank You Camellia'. And in 2016, he released another studio album, 'Letting You In.' That year, he joined the American Idol Live! Tour as a special guest. He also released a new single, 'When All The Stars Have Died'.
'American Idol' Season 9 winner - Lee DeWyze
Winning the title in season 9 was not the start of a career in music for Lee DeWyze. Before that he had a solo career and formed the Lee DeWyze Band. He also released 2 independent albums 'So I'm Told' in 2007 and 'Slumberland' in 2010. After his win, he released an album titled 'Live It Up' in November 2010. His most recent album was 'Paranoia' which was released in February last year. To date he has released 7 albums.
'American Idol' Season 10 winner - Scotty McCreery
In 2011, Scotty McCreery won the season 10 title of 'American Idol'. And soon after his win, he released his first album 'Clear as Day.' The album certified platinum in the United States. He released a Christmas album, 'Christmas with Scotty McCreery,' in 2012 which was certified Gold. The very next year he released his third album 'See You Tonight'. He also broke a record in July 2017 for his 'Five More Minutes'. He became the only country music artist in Country Aircheck/Mediabase history to chart a song without the backing of a record label. In 2018 it topped the Billboard and Mediabase. His last album was released in 2018 titled 'Seasons Change.'
'American Idol' Season 11 winner - Phillips Phillips
After winning 'American Idol', Phillip Phillips went on the American Idol LIVE Tour from July to September with the rest of the Top 10 finishers of season 11. He went on to perform on 'The Today Show' and Good Morning America Concert Series, 'The Late Show with David Letterman', 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!', 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno', 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show', 'Live With Kelly', 'The View' and 'Conan'. He has also appeared on the American Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards, and even made the Forbes Highest Earning American Idol list each of the three years he was qualified. His debut album, 'The World from the Side of the Moon', came out on November 19, 2012. His second album 'Behind the Light', was released on May 19, 2014, and two years later, he performed at the 2016 Invictus Games Closing Ceremony in Orlando, Florida.
'American Idol' Season 12 winner - Candice Glover
Soon after winning, Candice Glover's album, 'Music Speaks', along with her debut single 'I Am Beautiful' was available for pre-order; this was a first for the Idol series. She began work on her second studio album, which was due in 2016. Soon after, it was announced Glover will sing on Broadway in the show 'Home For the Holidays, Live on Broadway' which was presented from November 17 to December 30, 2017.
'American Idol' Season 13 winner - Caleb Johnson
Soon after Caleb Johnson won 'American Idol', he began working on his debut album. The album was made in three weeks - a record for an 'American Idol' contestant, and Johnson collaborated with musicians such as Howard Benson, Aloe Blacc, Brian Howes, Blair Daly and James Michael. The album, titled 'Testify' was released on August 12, 2014. He parted ways with his record label in late 2015 and began working on his second album independently, that was eventually released in 2016. After a Pledge Music campaign, Johnson released a new EP, 'Born from Southern Ground'. In 2018 Caleb joined the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for their winter tour singing on 'Three Kings & I.'
'American Idol' Season 14 Winner - Nick Fradiani
After his win in 2015, Nick Fradiani appeared on 'American Idol' in 2016, to mentor and duet with Top 24 contestants Thomas Stringfellow and Gianna Isabella. His album 'Hurricane' arrived in August the same year, and debuted at #1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. In January 2017, Fradiani parted with Big Machine Label Group and 19 Entertainment, and began work on a new EP, 'Where We Left Off', which was released on October 13, 2017.
'American Idol' Season 15 Winner - Trent Harmon
Trent Harmon was signed by Big Machine Records soon after his win, but his first self-titled EP which features his Top 30 hit 'There's a Girl' and four other tracks came out in December 2016. After a tumultuous year with a personal break up and his record label folding, finally in 2017, his label issues were resolved and he re-signed with Big Machine Label Group. In February 2018, he premiered the single 'You Got 'Em All', which eventually became the title track for his debut album, released on May 18, 2018.
'American Idol' Season 16 Winner - Maddie Pope
Since Maddie Pope's victory, her single 'Going Going Gone' ranked at #3 on the iTunes US Overall chart, and #2 on the iTunes US Pop Charts. It bagged a #4 on the Spotify US Viral chart, and has over 2 million streams-to-date across all platforms. Pope rose to incredible fame and demand and even went on to perform on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!', GMA, 'Live! with Kelly & Ryan', the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards, and also delivered stunning performances at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and the 2018 CMA Fest in Nashville.