“American Idol” Winners: Where Are They Now? (PHOTOS)
“American Idol” has produced some of music’s biggest stars during its 15 seasons, so where are the now? With the reality series coming to close on Thursday, Gossip Cop takes a look back at all winners, and finds out what they have been doing since being crowned “American Idol.”
Kelly Clarkson, Season 1, 2002. Clarkson is one of the most successful winners in the show’s history. The singer has released seven albums since becoming the inaugural champ. The three-time Grammy winner dropped her latest album, Piece By Piece in 2015. Clarkson, now married to husband Brandon Blackstock, is expecting her second child.
Ruben Studdard, Season 2, 2003. The show’s second winner, nicknamed “The Velvet Teddy Bear” by his fans, has dropped six albums since winning. His 2003 debut, Souful hit number one on the charts. In addition to dropping music, Studdard dropped some serious weight on “The Biggest Loser.” He appeared on the series in 2013 and lost a whopping 119 pounds.
Fantasia Barrino, Season 3, 2004. After winning, the singer dropped her last name, now simply going by Fantasia. She went on to release four albums, and she also caught the acting bug. Fantasia appeared in a Lifetime movie about her own life and also on Broadway in The Color Purple and After Midnight.
Carrie Underwood, Season 4, 2005. Underwood is “American Idol’s” most successful artist, having sold more than 20 million albums. The singer has scored six number one albums, won seven Grammy Awards and 11 ACM Awards during her career. She also appeared in NBC’s “Sound of Music Live!” in 2013.
Taylor Hicks, Season 5, 2006. The leader of the “Soul Patrol” has stayed busy since winning “American Idol.” He went on to release two albums, including his 2006 self-titled album, which landed at number 2 on the charts. Hicks has also appeared on Broadway in Grease and did a Las Vegas residency.
Jordin Sparks, Season 6, 2007. Sparks, the youngest female winner at 17, is also a standout in the “American Idol” family. She went on to drop three albums since being crowned. In 2009, she collaborated with Chris Brown on “No Air,” which earned her a Grammy nomination. She also starred with Whitney Houston in 2012’s Sparkle, the late singer’s final film. In 2015, she dropped her latest album, Right Here, Right Now.
David Cook, Season 7, 2008. The show’s first rock winner went on to release three albums. In 2012, he split from RCA records and released 2015’s Digital Vein. The rocker also makes music with his band Midwest Kings. He married his longtime girlfriend, Rachael Stump, in June 2015.
Kris Allen, Season 8, 2009. He became known for being another “guy with a guitar” winner, which became a trend for the show for many seasons. Allen scored a hit with his 2009 debut single, “Live Like We’re Dying,” off his self-titled debut album. In March 2016, he dropped his second album, “Thank You Camellia.” Since winning “American Idol,” Allen and his wife have welcomed a son and are expecting another child in June.
Lee DeWyze, Season 9, 2010. Another rock winner from the show, DeWyze’s success faltered somewhat after appearing on the series. The rocker went on to drop four albums since winning, but none reached major success on the charts. His latest, Oil & Water, came out in February.
Scotty McCreery, Season 10, 2011. The second winner with country roots, McCreey was the show’s youngest male winner at 17. The singer has found success in the country music world, selling more than 2.5 million albums and dropping two record. His third untitled album, featuring the single, “Southern Belle,” is expected to be released this year.
Phillip Phillips, Season 11, 2012. The singer has released two albums since taking home the crown. His greatest success came with the single, “Home,” in 2012, which was heavily featured on NBC’s Olympics coverage. In 2015, Phillips sued his label 19 Entertainment, claiming his contract was oppressive, and he was often asked to perform without compensation. In happier news, Phillips married girlfriend Hannah Blackwell in October 2015.
Candice Glover, Season 12, 2013. The singer dropper her debut album Music Speaks almost a year after nabbing the crown. It failed to crack to the Top 10 on the Billboard album charts. Glover teased that new music is in the works on social media, writing that’s she’s working on a “mixtape,” but no details have been announced. She also noted, “I perform all over the world.”
Caleb Johnson, Season 13, 2014. Johnson was quick to drop his debut album, Testify, which was released just two months after winning. The singer then left his label, Interscope, less than nine months after his album failed to rock the charts, selling a little more than 24,000 copies. Johnson is slated to drop an EP sometime in 2016.
Nick Fradiani, Season 14, 2015. The newest “American Idol” winner has only released two singles since being crowned. His first,”Beautiful Life,” co-written by Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba, barely cracked the Billboard Hot 100 in May 2015. His latest, “Get You Home,” debuted in March 2016.
Many “American Idol” contestants still ruled the charts, even though they didn’t win the crown. Chris Daughtry, Season 5 finalist, sold more than 9 million albums, Clay Aiken, Season 2 runner-up, racked up more than 5 million in album sales (and ran for Congress), and Adam Lambert, Season 8 runner-up, has more than 2 million in record sales and performs with Queen. Other non-winning standouts include Kellie Pickler, Season 5 finalist, with just more than 2 million in album sales, Jennifer Hudson, Season 3 finalist, with nearly 2 million in album sales and an Oscar for her performance in Dreamgirls, and David Archuleta, Season 7 runner-up, with more than 1.6 million albums sold. Katharine McPhee has sold an impressive 700,000 albums since appearing on the series. See photos of all the winners below.