MANILA, Philippines – Winning “American Idol” has been the dream of many American singers since the hit show began in 2002. It offers everything a budding singer wants — and needs — to jumpstart a career: a weekly platform, a guaranteed recording deal, millions of potential fans (and record buyers).
However, a quick look at the past 10 winners of the worldwide phenomenon reveals a mixed bag. Some went on to have wildly successful careers; others have faded into obscurity after a fleeting moment under the spotlight; while some are still struggling to take a foothold in Hollywood.
Now that Phillip Phillips has been chosen the 11th “American Idol,” let’s take a look at the winners of the past 10 seasons of the hit reality show.
SEASON 1: KELLY CLARKSON (2002)
Before ‘Idol’: Waitress from Burleson, Texas
Number of Albums: 5: Thankful, Breakaway, My December, All I Ever Wanted, Stronger
Album Sales: 11.6 million
Awards: 70 awards out of 98 nominations, including 2 Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and 4 American Music Awards.
What’s Next? Will be (sort of) going against “Idol” as she sits on the judges’ table of another reality singing competition, “Duets.” She is also on tour promoting her fifth album.
SEASON 2: RUBEN STUDDARD (2003)
Before ‘Idol’: Jobless, from Birmingham, Alabama
Number of Albums: 5: Soulful, I Need An Angel, The Return, Love Is, Letters from Birmingham
Album Sales: 2.6 million
Awards: One award out of 7 nominations; Nominated for one Grammy in 2004.
What’s Next? Last heard on the news when he divorced his wife.
SEASON 3: FANTASIA BARRINO (2004)
Before ‘Idol’: Single mom from High Point, North Carolina
Number of Albums: 3: Free Yourself, Fantasia, Back to Me
Album Sales: 2.9 million
Awards: 15 awards out of 35 nominations, including one Grammy award and several nominations for her role in the Broadway musical The Color Purple.
What’s Next? Currently working on her fourth studio album.
SEASON 4: CARRIE UNDERWOOD (2005)
Before ‘Idol’: College student from Checotah, Oklahoma
Number of Albums: 4: Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, Play On, Blown Away
Album Sales: 13 million
Awards: 116 awards out of 175 nominations, including 5 Grammys, 11 Academy of Country Music awards, 6 AMAs, and 16 Billboard Music awards.
What’s Next? Just released her fourth album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, competing for the top spot with another “Idol” alumnus, Adam Lambert (season 8 runner up). Her Blown Away Tour will go international, including a stop at the famed Royal Albert Hall in London in June.
SEASON 5: TAYLOR HICKS (2006)
Before ‘Idol’: Musician from Birmingham, Alabama
Number of Albums: 2: Taylor Hicks, The Distance; Also had a compilation album entitled Early Works, featuring his pre-Idol songs
Album Sales: 767,000
What’s Next? Will be headlining his own nightly performance in Las Vegas starting this summer.
SEASON 6: JORDIN SPARKS (2007)
Before ‘Idol’: High school student from Glendale Arizona
Number of Albums: Two: Jordin Sparks, Battlefield
Album Sales: 1.2 million
Awards: 7 awards out of 17 nominations, including a Grammy nomination for the hit single No Air (collaboration with Chris Brown).
What’s Next? Awaiting release of her first film, “Sparkle,” where she stars alongside the late Whitney Houston. She also recorded with Houston the single Celebrate, coming out June 4. Aside from this, she is working on her third studio album.
SEASON 7: DAVID COOK (2008)
Before ‘Idol’: Musician from Blue Springs, Missouri
Number of Albums: 2: David Cook, This Loud Morning
Album Sales: 1.5 million
Awards: 4 awards out of 7 nominations.
What’s Next? Performed a new song entitled The Last Song I’ll Write For You on American Idol last May 10 – then revealed to The Hollywood Repoter on the same day that he has been dropped by his record label, RCA.
SEASON 8: KRIS ALLEN (2009)
Before ‘Idol’: Shoe salesman from Conway, Arkansas
Number of Albums: 2: Kris Allen, Thank You Camellia. He also has a pre-Idol album, Brand New Shoes.
Album Sales: 331,000
Awards: None, but has three nominations.
What’s Next? Just released his second album, Thank You Camellia, last May 22.
SEASON 9: LEE DEWYZE (2010)
Before ‘Idol’: Paint salesman from Mount Prospect, Illinois
Number of Albums: One: Live It Up. He also has two independently-released albums prior to “Idol,” So I’m Told and Slumberland; Another album, What Once Was, released in February 2012, was composed of his pre-“Idol” recordings.
Album Sales: 146,000 copies
Awards: One: 2010 Teen Choice Male Reality/Variety Star. It is also his sole nomination to date.
What’s Next? He told The Daily Beast that he is “in the studio” making songs. Meanwhile, he is set to marry his fiancee Jonna Walsh, a model.
SEASON 10: SCOTTY MCCREERY (2011)
Before ‘Idol’: Student from Garner, North Carolina
Number of Albums: One: Clear As Day
Album Sales: 1.3 million
Awards: Two awards out of five nominations, including one American Country and Academy of Country Music award. He is currently nominated for 4 more awards, the results of which are still to be announced.
What’s Next? The Daily Beast reports he will be taking a break from music to focus on his studies. He will be a freshman at the North Carolina State University this fall. – Rappler.com
Click on the links below for more on American Idol.
- Phillip Phillips wins ‘American Idol’
- Why Phillip Phillips won American Idol Season 11
- Can social media predict American Idol winner?