American Idol might still have new episodes, but it’s clear that it’s changed over the years. While we enjoy Katy Perry’s interesting wardrobe choices and fun personality, we miss the days of the three pillars that held the show together: Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul. We are so ready for their return.
But the judges are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of memorable contestants that we miss from the original series of American Idol. This show gave some talented singers a large platform, but what have they been up to since?
Clay Aiken’s Journey From Singing to Congress
Clay Aiken won everyone over when he earned himself second place during American Idol’s second season. After his season finished, Clay continued his singing career and earned a multi-platinum plaque due to “Measure of a Man,” his successful debut album. Since then, he has explored other interests.
After the show, Clay got television and Broadway offers. But in 2013, he decided to pivot to politics and ran for Congress – a distinctive career move for an American Idol alum. He managed to win the primary to run as one of North Carolina’s Democrat candidates but ultimately placed second. Again.
Carrie Went on to Win Multiple Grammy Awards
Season four introduced audiences to a small-town girl named Carrie Underwood. Of course, she went on to win that season and became one of the most all-time successful recording artists. She’s not only had an incredible career, but she wrote an anthem for women who have experienced cheating!
Truth be told, Carrie made country music history with her debut album. Her 2005 album “Some Hearts” broke records, becoming the best-selling solo female debut album, and went certified platinum eight times! Due to her immense singing talents, she is the proud owner of three Grammy Awards.
Jordin Sparks’ Big Break on Broadway
Jordin Sparks made history in 2007 when she became the youngest-ever winner of American Idol when she was only seventeen. Since then, her career has really taken off, with fans worldwide admiring her singing voice, acting talent, and everything else this woman has to show us.
In 2020, Jordin released new music after a five-year hiatus. During that time, Jordin has proved herself on Broadway and appeared in hundreds of performances for thousands of theater lovers and critics. Most would agree that her most popular role to date was as the lead in “Waitress” in 2019.
Taylor Hicks Became the Owner of a Diner
With signature silver hair, Taylor Hicks went on to win season five of American Idol. Once the show was over, Taylor’s musical career skyrocketed, and he was given the opportunity to host his own Las Vegas residency and showcase his talents on Broadway. However, Taylor has found a few more passions.
Not only did he open up his own diner restaurant in Alabama, but he also earned himself a food-based television show, available on Amazon Prime. “State Plate” has been available for viewing since 2016, and Taylor seems to be a natural in the hosting gig.
Surprisingly, William Hung Didn’t Become a Singer
American Idol has hosted some incredibly talented singers perform on their stage over the years… and then William Hung auditioned. He won over fans with his memorable performance of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs,” though the judges weren’t convinced. He didn’t go to Hollywood but did amass a giant cult following.
Hung’s music career was short-lived, and he soon redirected his efforts back to his original craft. William studied civil engineering at university, and so he became a technical crime analyst. In 2018, he started touring as a motivational speaker and is remarkably quite booked up.
Fantasia Barrino Performed at a Legend’s Funeral
Season three of American Idol was about seventeen years ago, but we think that Fantasia Barrino remembers her crowning moment as if it were yesterday. After winning over the judges and viewers alike, Fantasia’s career exploded, and she won numerous awards, including a prestigious Billboard Award.
To add to a successful career, she was given the honor to perform at Aretha Franklin’s funeral in 2018. In 2019, Fantasia recorded an album with featured artists, including T-Pain and Meghan Trainor. In November 2020, she announced that she was pregnant with her third child and welcomed a daughter in May 2021.
Adam Lambert Became the New Frontman of Queen
As the saying goes, “First is the worst, second is the best.” Well, many say that Adam Lambert’s second-place finish on American Idol was the best thing that could’ve happened to him. He’s sold more than three million albums and five million singles since his appearance on the show.
Thanks to his stellar voice and his impressive stage presence, Adam Lambert has found success with the coolest gig. Lambert joined Queen as their new frontman in 2011, and he’s still with them touring the world and performing to millions as a stand-in for the late icon Freddie Mercury.
Ruben Studdard Was a Contestant on “The Biggest Loser”
Ruben Studdard impressed viewers with his gospel tones, and it was unsurprising to many that he won season two of “American Idol.” Since his victory, Ruben has released seven albums that have all been successful. But most people recognize him for his time on other television programs.
In addition to appearing on “Life on a Stick” and “8 Simple Rules,” Ruben was also on “The Biggest Loser” in 2013. After wrestling with his weight, he started the competition at 462 lbs. Even though he was eliminated in week eight, he lost a total of 119 lbs. throughout the process.
Paul McDonald Started Dating Hollywood Actresses
Paul McDonald was on season ten of American Idol and impressed viewers with his own original songs. He came in eighth place, but the exposure helped his career – and his band’s career. Since 2010, Paul has been a band member of The Grand Magnolias despite attempting a solo career on the show.
His show appearance helped his band’s career become more successful than ever. This success helped him meet actress Nikki Reed, and the couple got married after shortly dating. The two ended up divorcing in 2014. These days, Paul gets around Hollywood and is allegedly dating actress Emily Kinney.
Kris Allen Became a Missionary
American Idol’s eighth season highlighted the talents of Kris Allen, who managed to take home the title. Since the show, Kris has been keeping himself busy. He put out six records that did well, got married to his high school sweetheart, and is now a dad of three children.
But that’s only the beginning. Kris is a humanitarian who has traveled internationally to help others. Over the years, he has flown to Haiti, Kenya, and Rwanda as a missionary. His fans have been motivated by his charity work to donate thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations all because of him.
Kelly Clarkson Became a Household Name
Kelly Clarkson’s life was turned upside down when she won American Idol’s first season in 2002. While her musical chops have made her one of the most famous faces from the show, Kelly has also proven that she’s a well-rounded celebrity with numerous things to offer the entertainment industry.
Along with selling 45 million singles worldwide, Clarkson is also a children’s book author, was a judge on “The Voice,” appeared in movies and TV shows, and even started hosting her own primetime talk show, “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” She has come a long way since she was on American Idol.
Katharine McPhee Appeared on Broadway and TV
You likely forgot that Katherine McPhee entered the scene through American Idol since it’s such a small part of her now-massive career. After a second-place finish, it didn’t take long before she showcased her talents in shows like “Scorpion” and “Smash” – and she even appeared on Broadway.
However, her personal life is what keeps most people preoccupied. The American Idol alum got married to music legend David Foster in 2019. While they clearly love each other and welcomed a son in 2021, many people have things to say about their 35-year age gap.
Scotty McCreery Got Paid for Sports Commentary
American Idol sees audiences from young people all across America, and Scott McCreery was one of the youngest contestants in season ten. He went on to win the show when he was only 17 years old, and it wasn’t long before he had put out four albums.
Outside of music, Scotty spends his time as a sports spectator or with his wife. In 2013, he got himself a job as a sports blogger after the Major League Baseball league asked him to comment on the season. He continues to post about sports on his social media regularly.
Phillip Phillips Appeared on a TV Show
Phillip Phillips likely doesn’t have any issues remembering his name, but what about lines of dialogue? After winning American Idol in 2012, Phillips continued his music career by releasing three albums. What took many fans by surprise was his move to dabble in television acting.
Since his television debut, Phillips has toured the world and sang for millions of people. But one notable moment was landing a guest acting spot on “Hawaii Five-O,” the incredibly popular television show. While his acting career lasted one episode, Phillips keeps himself occupied by raising funds for charity efforts.
David Archuleta Took a Break From Music
What had you accomplished by sixteen years old? While most of us were doing homework, David Archuleta made it to the finale of American Idol’s seventh season. Although he came in second place, David quickly became a teen star, beloved for his music and charming personality.
In 2012, Archuleta announced that he was taking a two-year hiatus from making music as he went to be a missionary in Chile with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These days, David continues to release albums, and he put out his latest studio album in May 2020.
Caleb Johnson Became the Frontman of a Band
In 2014, Caleb Johnson became a fan favorite on American Idol around the world. And his fans carried him to win first place and come away from the show with the coveted title. Remarkably, after the show, Caleb’s debut album shot up the charts and holds the record for the quickest album release amongst American Idol alum.
Although Caleb won a solo singing competition, he prefers performing with a band. In 2018, he joined Trans-Siberian Orchestra on their winter tour, and in 2019 he formed his own band. Today, he’s the frontman of Caleb Jonson and the Ramblin’ Saints.
Sanjaya Malakar Lost His Fame and Fortune
When it comes to noteworthy contestants, we can’t forget Sanjaya Malakar. This singer was on season six of the show, and while he ended up finishing in seventh place, many fans didn’t agree with these results. The judges criticized him and often said that his hair was the reason he lasted so long.
He gained a bit of notoriety from the show, but by 2012, he was bartending in New York. He shared that all his money and fame from the show were gone. He explained that he appeared on the show when he was young, and people took advantage of his lack of financial knowledge. Nowadays, he’s working in theater.
Kellie Pickler Hosted Her Own Television Show
Kellie Pickler only finished in sixth place during her American Idol season, but her career doesn’t reflect that. The singer has released four country albums and even toured with Rascal Flatts, but it looks like more people now know her for her television hosting rather than singing into a microphone.
In 2013, Kellie appeared on Dancing with the Stars. She and partner Derek Hough won the glitterball and became even more well-known. This got her a hosting gig for her very own talk show with comedian Ben Aaron. “Pickler & Ben” was on the air from 2017 until 2019.
David Cook Performed on the Broadway Stage
Although David Cook made music before his American Idol appearance, he was less than impressed with the level of success. When he went on to win in 2008, it solidified his place in the music industry. He’s released four albums to date, with his “David Cook” album now certified platinum.
These days he’s most well-known for his Broadway debut. From 2018 until 2019, David wore some long red boots and performed for adoring fans as the leading role in “Kinky Boots.” David is also a solid fan favorite amongst American Idol viewers, so he often returns to perform during other seasons.
Jennifer Hudson Became a Hollywood Icon
Jennifer Hudson is often considered one of the show’s biggest snubs as she only came in seventh place during season three of American Idol. Despite the fact that she didn’t even make it to the finals, Jennifer Hudson has one of the most successful careers amongst all past American Idol contestants.
Jennifer has released three albums, but her biggest success has been in theater and film. She has appeared on Broadway in “The Color Purple.” In movies, she’s known for roles in “Dreamgirls,” “Cats,” and “Hairspray Live!” For two years, she was a judge on “The Voice” in the United States and the UK.
Justin Guarini Became a Musical Theater Star
American Idol’s first season aired 19 years ago when Justin Guarini became the competition’s first runner-up. Since the show, he has done well for himself. He’s only released two albums, but Justin has cemented his place in the musical theater world over the years.
He has performed in Broadway productions of “American Idiot,” “In Transit,” “Wicked,” and “Mamma Mia!” He has also been the face of the Dr. Pepper brand for years though you might need to rewatch the commercials to spot him. He has been wearing fingerless gloves and a pink wig for their advertisements since 2015.
Diana Degarmo Married Another Competitor
Diana Degarmo has switched up her appearance since season three of American Idol but has done well for herself since finishing second. She’s continued to sing on a stage, now performing on Broadway instead of in front of the studio lights. Recently she has starred in numerous productions.
From “West Side Story” to “Hair,” Diana has been busy. In 2013, Diana married Ace Young, another American Idol competitor from season seven. They’re a couple with an adorable social media presence and take the stage together. Diana and Ace wore leather jackets in “Grease,” starring alongside each other in 2018.
Blake Lewis Got Into Philanthropy
When Blake Lewis took to the American Idol stage on season six, he proved to everyone that singing was only the beginning. His talents in singing, songwriting, and beatboxing earned him a second-place finish. Since the show, Blake has released four studio albums, but he’s also an enthusiastic philanthropist.
Over the years, Blake has put an enormous amount of time and effort into fundraising for charities that he’s passionate about. He is eager to help those in need and has steadily supported the cancer research cause. This is because two of his close friends have had lymphoma diagnoses.
Lauren Alaina Was a Contestant on Dancing With the Stars
American Idol viewers love a country singer, which is what made Lauren Alaina so popular during season ten. She finished in second place and has since put out two albums. On top of all that, she also had the honor of performing on Blake Shelton’s 2019 tour.
Still, her big moment came when she was a contestant on season 28 of “Dancing with the Stars” with her partner Gleb Savchenko. Her music background certainly helped her on this show, as they earned fourth place and accumulated exceptional viewer support in the process.
Candice Glover Made Her Way to the Stage and Screen
They claim third time’s the charm, but Candice Glover’s time came with number four. After three mostly unsuccessful auditions for American Idol, she was determined to give it one final shot for season twelve. Her determination paid off, and this R&B singer came away with the American Idol title.
Since her win, Candice has released one album and kept busy on the screen and stage. In addition to appearing in television shows like “GRITS: Girls Raised in the South” and “Underground,” Candice has found herself on Broadway. In 2017, she took starred in “Home For the Holidays, Live” on Broadway.
Jena Irene Drew Attention for Brand Partnership
In 2014, Jena Irene was the first-ever female competitor to make it to the finale as a Wild Card contestant, and she finished in second place. After releasing her debut album, many fans followed Jena on social media to stay updated with her career. Still, many people haven’t been wowed with her content.
While Jena’s Instagram page has countless gorgeous selfies and artistic pictures, she has recently partnered with a brand to endorse them. Many have claimed that she’s a bad influence on younger fans because this brand is pretty controversial for containing illegal substances.
Maddie Poppe Has Already Prove to Be a Superstar
After trying out for and not making it onto “The Voice” in 2016, Maddie decided to try her luck with American Idol in 2018. This decision – paired with her ability to play numerous instruments – worked in her favor as she went on to win season sixteen of the show.
Although it’s been a few years since she won American Idol, Maddie has already proved that she has superstar talent. Her third single, “Made You Miss,” spent sixteen weeks on the charts, and she’s made music for films. One of Maddie’s songs made it into the Disney movie, “Godmothered.”
Laine Hardy Released Five Singles
Do we need to remind you that Laine Hardy has stolen America’s heart? Laine won over everyone’s hearts on American Idol’s seventeenth season – mostly because he had made it to the top 50 the year before but didn’t make it to the main live shows.
He returned stronger in 2019 and came away as that season’s winner. It’s only two years since his win, but he’s already released five songs and a play by the name of “In the Bayou.” To top it all off, he’s toured across the United States and stolen fans’ hearts all over again.
Crystal Bowersox Uses Her Platform for Advocacy Work
During season nine, Crystal Bowersox was a captivating force with her piercings and dreadlocks. Her singing voice and impressive songwriting skills earned her second place. She might not be as well-known as many of the other names on this list, but she’s been quietly doing her thing out of the limelight.
Since her second-place finish on American Idol, Crystal has released three albums and even tried her hand at acting. However, most of her efforts have gone towards using her platform to bring attention to issues that she cares about – specifically her diabetes diagnosis and her LGBTQIA+ community identity.
Jessica Sanchez Guest Starred on Glee
American Idol was not Jessica Sanchez’s first competitive singing show. Before earning second place in season eleven, Jessica had competed in two other competitions. In 2005, she appeared on “Showtime at the Apollo,” and a year later, she was a contestant on “America’s Got Talent.”
But it was Jessica’s American Idol career that skyrocketed her to fame. She has released her own music and worked with singers like Christian Bautista and Ne-Yo. She’s also guest-starred on multiple TV shows, like Fox’s “Glee.” Jessica has returned to the American Idol stage to perform several times.
Ace Young Created His Own Music Label
After a rough start in Los Angeles, Ace Young decided to audition for the fifth season of American Idol. He was hoping it would secure the record deal he had been dreaming of. He ended up coming in seventh place, though that hasn’t slowed him down.
After the show, Ace kept busy within the music and musical theater industries. He created his own producing company and released his own records through “Young Brothers Entertainment.” The company no longer exists, so Ace is concentrating on his Broadway work. Funnily enough, he is frequently cast opposite his wife, Diana DeGarmo.
Nick Fradiani Is Writing Songs With His Dad
A year before Nick Fradiani won season fourteen of American Idol, he had gotten to “Judgment Week” on “America’s Got Talent” – but he was so driven to be successful that he refused to let anything set him back. Luckily, his American Idol win only helped to elevate his level of fame.
Not only has he returned to the show to mentor contestants, but he’s since released numerous singles as a solo artist. In the past two years, Nick has collaborated with his music-loving dad to write and perform songs across the United States.
Melinda Doolittle Wrote a Book
After being a backup singer for several years before her American Idol notoriety, Melinda figured it was time to take big chances in 2007. She auditioned for the show’s sixth season and had a third-place finish. After the finale, Melinda performed in the American Idol Tour.
Since then, she has become an author, philanthropist, and short-lived talk show host. “Moments With Melinda” gave her fans the opportunity to voice questions and discuss her life. Most recently, she has been participating in virtual concerts for music fans to enjoy from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jason Castro Became a Real Estate Agent
Jason Castro made an impression on season seven of American Idol thanks to the memorable combination of his hippie style, dreadlocks, and singing voice. He earned himself fourth place on the show, and many assumed he would continue singing professionally for years.
While he still performs here and there, Jason Castro chose to work on side projects to support his family in 2018. He got his real estate license and started working with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage later that same year. Nowadays, he operates his own property company with his brother.
Elliott Yamin Became an Advocacy Speaker
Season five had it all: talented contestants, sassy judges, and Elliott Yamin finishing in third place. A year after his time on the show, he released his debut album, and it was certified gold after only seven months. Elliott has since released nine albums and proceeded to make music consistently.
When he’s not singing, Yamin spends a large amount of his time advocating as a spokesperson for issues that hit close to home. He is most prominently the spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – something he is extremely proud of as someone with diabetes.
Constantine Maroulis Became the Broadway Star of the Year
Season four introduced us to the talents of Constantine Maroulis. After passing the Hollywood rounds, he came in sixth place – but most people argue that he’s more well-known than the other contestants from his season. He’s become a huge hit on Broadway, thanks to his distinct voice.
He became 2009’s “Broadway Star of the Year,” and fans enjoyed watching him in shows like “Jekyll and Hyde” and “Rock of Ages.” For the latter production, he was nominated for a Tony Award. Recently on his Instagram page, Maroulis confirmed that his songs had been streamed over two million times in 2020.
Mandisa Hundley Questioned Her Faith
Mandisa Hundley may have only placed ninth on season five of American Idol, but she did go on to win a Grammy Award for her fifth album. Five appears to be the gospel singer’s lucky number, but she’s had to overcome some things over the past couple of years.
After her friend passed away in 2013, the singer struggled with the feeling that God had disappointed her. As a result, all areas of her health struggled. After years away, Mandisa returned to record music and released an album in 2017 that addressed the obstacles she had been facing.
Syesha Mercado Went From Dreamgirl to Spiritual Girl
In 2008, Syesha Mercado finished third on American Idol’s third season. Before coming on the show, Mercado had actually appeared in other talent competitions such as “Florida Super Singer” and “The One: Making a Music Star.” Since her appearance on American Idol, Syesha’s career has ebbed and flowed.
In 2009 she was given the opportunity to play one of the Dreamgirls in the Broadway production of the same name, which sped up her career. But according to her Instagram page, she seems to be taking a mindful and spiritual approach to life, focusing on meditation, crystals, and more.
Haley Reinhart Pleaded Guilty to Assault
After finishing third in season ten of American Idol, her fans wanted big things from her – and she hasn’t disappointed. Over the years, she has released her singles and even worked with artists like Postmodern Jukebox and Jeff Goldblum, but she wasn’t always on her best behavior.
In 2018, Reinhart was arrested for assault. She had physically assaulted a security guard, and she pleaded guilty to the charges. Haley paid a $500 fine instead of jail time plus an additional $139 to compensate court costs. She also agreed to follow the rules of probation for two years.
Daniel Noriega Became a Beloved Drag Queen
Daniel Noriega made an impact on the seventh season of American Idol, and while he’s had a successful singing career since then, he’s more popular for his other talents. After appearing on American Idol, he did very well on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
The drag queen was on season six of the show, and it didn’t take long for “Adore Delano” to become one of the most beloved queens of the season. After finishing in the top three, he eventually went on to appear in “Drag Race All-Stars.” Despite choosing to leave, Daniel/Adore still has an enormous following.
DeAndre Brackensick Relocated to Australia
DeAndre Brackensick made waves on season eleven of American Idol with his curly hair and soulful voice. And while many fans assumed that he would work his way up the charts after his successful season, it appears as though life has taken a faraway turn for him recently.
DeAndre toured all over with his fellow contestants after their season ended. While on tour, he fell in love with Australia and eventually decided to relocate to reside there permanently. He’s now living in Melbourne, where he is still releasing albums and performing as a solo act.
Tamyra Gray Has Become a Bona Fide Broadway Star
While Tamyra Gray managed to earn fourth place during the first-ever season of American Idol, she has also figured out how to maintain her fame and complement her singing career over the years. She has done this as a solo artist and as a bona fide Broadway actress.
As well as appearing in “Rent” and “Bombay Dreams” on Broadway, Tamyra most recently appeared in “Once on This Island,” playing the part of Papa Ge. With her Instagram page bursting with pictures of her family, it’s safe to assume that’s who she spends her time off with.
Kimberley Locke Built a Health and Fitness Brand
Can you believe that American Idol’s second season was 18 years ago? It seemed like yesterday when Kimberly Locke was singing her heart out from our televisions. In the end, she managed to earn third place – and she’s still fairly famous, though not for singing.
After the show, Kimberly was unhappy with her physique during her time on the show. In 2007, Locke was on “Celebrity Fit Club.” And since losing a large amount of weight, she has built her own health and fitness empire, plus she co-hosts the talk show, “Dr. and the Diva.”
John Stevens Became a Lead Singer for a Swing Orchestra
John Stevens was 16 years old when he performed on season three, but his crooner singing style gave the impression that he was older. Some fans loved this young Frank Sinatra, though he struggled in the contemporary group. Though, that didn’t prevent him from earning sixth place.
Thankfully, John’s singing journey didn’t end with his season of American Idol. He fully concentrated on his solo work, but it quickly became clear that he preferred being part of a band. So, he joined the Beantown Swing Orchestra in Boston, and he still sings for them today.
Camile Velasco Found Success Under New Name
When Camile Velasco was on American Idol, she happily shared her dreams of fame. She was working at a Hawaiian IHOP, but she wanted to do something bigger. Luckily, she pulled out a ninth-place finish in season three. Though not the top, she’s had more success than those who lasted longer than she did.
Today, she continues to make music. But you won’t see her songs under the name of Camile Velasco. This Filipino singer now performs and releases her music under Eli-Mac, her new stage name. She’s undoubtedly reinvited herself in the name of stardom.
Mikalah Gordon Had a Las Vegas Nightclub Residency
Mikalah Gordon didn’t go so far when she was on season four of American Idol. Yes, she proved to the world that she was exceptionally talented, but she was the second person from the live shows eliminated. It appears that Mikalah has made it her goal to have international name recognition.
She has accumulated an impressive following on Instagram due to her beauty and her fashion, but she’s also continued singing. She had some smaller performances after her stint on American Idol, but she has recently truly proven herself with a Las Vegas nightclub residency.
Lisa Tucker Entered the Acting World
Six years before auditioning for American Idol, Lisa Tucker had landed the role of “Young Nala” in the Broadway adaptation of The Lion King. However, turning 16 and getting into the singing competition exposed her to a new audience like never before.
Since finishing in tenth place on season five, Lisa has been busy. Performing with the American Idol tour helped highlight her talent, and soon after, casting agents started considering her acting potential. Over the years, she has appeared on TV shows like “The O.C.,” “Zoey 101,” “Pretty Little Liars,” and “90210.”
Ramiele Malubay Went Into Nursing
American Idol can encourage participants into a life that revolves around the music industry. Still, it can also discourage them away from that – and it appears as though that was what happened with Ramiele Malubay. The only singing Ramiele is doing these days is on her Instagram page.
Her social media profile bio is “Wife|Singer|Nurse|DogMama,” so it’s safe to assume that she has found a full-time job outside of the music industry. Though don’t worry, fans of the show haven’t forgotten about her. She has nearly 5,000 followers, most of whom recall her days on American Idol.
Brooke White Now Performs in an Indie-Pop Duo
Brooke White made it onto the American Idol stage in 2008, and it was obvious that she was an extremely talented singer. She was able to connect to viewers and won over her fans at home with her folk style. In the end, she earned herself seventh place.
After the show ended, Brooke kept singing, and her first single made it to number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it looks as though she is now much more successful as a pair. She is one-half of Jack and White, and she’s even more awesome now!
Ryan Starr Built an Impressive Following
American Idol has gone through a lot since season one, and it’s clear that Ryan Starr has also jumped on the bandwagon. Although she came in seventh place on the show, Ryan has managed to capitalize on her fame and broaden her popularity even more – just not in the music industry.
Over the years, Ryan’s personality and physical beauty have gotten her far. She has accumulated an impressive following after living around the world in Paris, Los Angeles, and Bali as a model, musician, and producer. Today, she focuses on being a social media influencer and lifestyle blogger.
Corey Clark Had Countless Run-Ins With the Law
Corey Clark certainly made an impression on season two of American Idol. This singer was disqualified from the competition after it was suggested that he was intimately involved with judge Paula Abdul. Sadly, it looks like life hasn’t gotten much better for Clark since his disqualification.
While Corey has attempted to elevate his singing career, his legal issues always come back to haunt him. He has been arrested countless times for battery charges, bad checks, violating court orders, and more. He seems to have completely disappeared from the limelight, and we’re not really sure what he’s doing now.
Kimberly Caldwell Transitioned to TV Hosting
Season two of American Idol introduced many talented singers, and Kimberly Caldwell was among them. She made it to the finals and won over the fans, and while she didn’t take home the title, she has maintained her fame and fortune.
In addition to marrying professional soccer star Jordan Harvey, Kimberly has also transitioned to acting and TV hosting. She has worked on shows like P.Diddy’s “Starmaker” and “Best Ink,” and she has become pretty popular in that realm. Kimberly has also managed to continue making and releasing new music.
Didi Benami Offered Singing Lessons to Beginning Singers
Didi Benami was a contestant on season nine, and this singer-songwriter ultimately managed to sing her way to tenth place. This was a significant accomplishment for the singer and one that she continues to be proud of today. This exposure also gave her the opportunity to write “Reverie,” her debut album.
After the show, Didi was able to tour around the United States, singing National Anthems and MCing her own shows. Didi now teaches singing lessons to develop musicians who want to follow in her footsteps and compete on singing shows like American Idol.
Scott MacIntyre Traveled to Giving Motivational Speeches
American Idol has had some incredible contestants, but season eight’s Scott MacIntyre was even more inspiring. This singer displayed his voice and his piano skills on the stage, making him all the more remarkable because he lives with a visual impairment.
Even though Scott only has a 2% field of vision, that didn’t prevent him from earning eighth place or even continuing his singing career. He has released countless classical and pop albums, and he’s even started doing some motivational speaking. However, it appears that his biggest accomplishment to date is his wife and kids.
Allison Iraheta Put Together a Three-Piece Band
Season eight alum Allison Iraheta competed on another TV talent show before American Idol. She actually won the Quinceañera: Mamá Quiero Ser Artista competition – which flung her into the limelight, but fourth place on American Idol solidified her fame.
Since the show, Allison has ensured that her career has always centered on music. While she has performed and recorded music as a solo artist, she has also joined and formed numerous bands. In her most recent life update, she put together a three-piece band that goes by the name of Fuhm.
Danny Gokey Secured Several Record Deals
Faith-based singers always seem to fare well on American Idol, and this was no different when season eight introduced viewers to Danny Gokey. His dulcet tones earned him third place, and his Christian roots left him with thousands of cherished fans who to see him perform live.
Thanks to adoring fans, Danny has continued to perform. He secured several record deals, and he has released new music in the process. He got a Grammy Award nomination for his album, and he’s been able to join various tours, including The Bible Tour 2015 and Natalie Grant’s Burn Bright tour.
Pia Toscano Starred In a Netflix Singing Show
Thanks to her captivating smile and her mesmerizing voice, Pia Toscano received her golden ticket and made it to Hollywood in American Idol’s tenth season. Although she only came in ninth place, it’s clear that the exposure has gotten her jobs over the years.
In addition to becoming somewhat of an Instagram influencer, Pia has also advanced her music career. She was able to tour with Andrea Bocelli in 2018, and this leading lady was also able to star in a Netflix series. Yes, she was a cast member on “Westside,” the 2018 singing show.
Bo Bice Recorded the Title Track for a Movie
With his long hair and alluring smile, it was obvious to everyone that Bo Bice stood out from the rest of the season four contestants. He became an American Idol fan favorite, though; coming second after Carrie Underwood meant that he was generally overshadowed.
Bo has continued touring the country as a solo act, and he was even in a band until leaving in 2018. In 2019, he was given an incredible opportunity when he was given the offer of a lifetime to not only act in the movie “Invisible” but also write and record the title track for it.
Nadia Turner Started a Nature Photography Instagram Account
After cheerleading for the Miami Dolphins in the mid-’90s, Nadia decided to pursue her passion for singing. She made her way onto American Idol during season four, and she walked away with an eighth-place finish. Since then, she’s continued singing and delved into acting.
Nadia has also found a new hobby. In her free time, she enjoys surrounding herself with nature and go do things outside. Soon enough, she was taking pictures and learning more about the intricacies of photography. Today, she runs her own nature photography account on Instagram.
Paris Bennett Was the Lead Role in a Broadway Production
Rewind to season five of American Idol; you may remember Paris Bennett’s vivacious personality and soulful voice. It appeared that five was Paris’ lucky number back then, as she finished in fifth place on the singing competition show.
But she has even more to be proud of, as Bennett’s career has continued to thrive ever since the show. She has recorded and released a number of albums under her own name, and she even booked herself a leading part on Broadway. Most recently, she starred in a production of “The Wiz” as Dorothy!
Skylar Laine Withdrew From the Spotlight
While countless American Idol contestants blossom in the limelight and dream of only growing their fame, there are those who tend to retreat. Skylar Laine is one of those contestants, which is unfortunate for the fans who voted for her during season eleven.
Though Skylar has released music every so often, she appears to be spending more energy on her faith and family. A big name within the Church of Latter-Day Saints, she regularly assists the local community and sings with her outreach programs. Plus, she has her kids to keep her busy.
Siobhan Magnus Redirected Her Efforts to Fishing
If you cast your brain back to American Idol’s ninth season, you may recall a passionate contestant by the name of Siobhan Magnus. This singer-songwriter had the voice of a rockstar, and viewers at home loved her alternative style. Siobhan came in sixth place and still loves music today!
Siobhan still loves all things alternative today – and based on her Instagram page, she also enjoys cats! Although Siobhan released some solo music several years ago, we haven’t heard more music from her since her 2016 release. These days she’s spending her time bowling, reading, and regularly going fishing.
Dalton Rapattoni Began Teaching Music
Dalton Rapattoni and his frosted tips appeared on season 15 of American Idol, and his rockstar voice helped his time on the show. He walked away with a third-place finish. Many people expected big things for Dalton, but it seems that wasn’t in the cards for him.
While he tried to make it as a musician, he just couldn’t maintain his American Idol momentum when he returned home. As the saying goes, those you can’t do, teach – and that’s what he’s done. For the past several years, Dalton has been teaching at the School of Rock in Rockwell and Dallas.
Elise Testone Is Still Releasing New Music
Season eleven of American Idol had some skilled competitors perform onstage, and Elise Testone was one of them. Throughout the intense competition, she was able to walk away in sixth place. It’s not surprising that she’s still grinding it out in the music business today.
She is more of an indie singer-songwriter now. She still has a notable fan base who enjoys watching her perform. She’s always releasing new music and going to new venues. From her Instagram page, she’s just genuinely living her best life. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Chris Daughtry Formed an Incredibly Successful Band
Season five of American Idol was iconic, right? Taylor Hicks took home the title, it was the best-rated season, and we were introduced to Chris Daughtry. While this rock singer only came in fourth place, when comparing record sales, he’s become the third most successful American Idol alum.
Soon after the show ended, he formed Daughtry, and this band helped him find great success in the music industry. The band has since released five albums and is incredibly well-known around the world. In 2019, Chris came in second place on “The Masked Singer.”