Status Update on the Past 14 American Idol Winners – Who’s Doing What Now

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American Idol has brought some great singing talent to light and changed many lives. Some of the winners have made it big. Like really big. And we love them for it. There’s just something about a talent-based rise to fame that’s very heartening. Some winners have not been as successful, though, and we can only wonder why. So here’s a status update on all the past 14 winners of American Idol and what they are doing now.

Kelly Clarkson (2002)

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This first season winner has exploited her vocal chords for fame, riches and fan-love ever since her victory. She has released 7 studio albums so far and won 3 Grammy awards. Her latest album Piece By Piece was a huge success too and won her 2 more of such prestigious nominations. Clearly, she made the most of the opportunities American Idol opened up for her!

Ruben Studdard (2003)

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Perhaps not as accomplished as Clarkson, Ruben Studdard has achieved much in the past 12 years. His sixth studio album, a covers compilation, released in 2014 and got decent reviews. He further expanded his fan base by dropping a whopping 119 pounds of The Biggest Loser, becoming a household tale of the Fat-to-Fit phenomena!

Fantasia Barrino (2004)

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This beautiful belle has dabbled in more than just music in recent years. Apart from releasing four studio albums, she also tried her hand at acting in a Lifetime film about herself. She has also appeared on Broadway, though her music has won her the most fans and also a Grammy. A new solo album by Fantasia is expected to release in 2016.

Carrie Underwood (2005)

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Perhaps the biggest success story from American Idol’s repertoire, Carrie Underwood is one of the most popular country singers with a huge posse of ardent fans. She has managed to have six consecutive No. 1. Albums on the Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart which is a record in itself. And that’s not all; she’s also has seven Grammies and 11 ACM awards to her name. Wow. Just wow.

Taylor Hicks (2006)

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Not many may know this, but Taylor Hicks figures within the highest-earning winners of American Idol. He has explored many avenues beyond music too, reaping in many millions with his Las Vegas residency, music tours and part-ownership if Saw’s Juke Joint (a BBQ restaurant in Alabama). Most recently, he gave a killer performance at the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Jordin Sparks (2007)

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Here’s another great find of the American Idol team who brought three successful studio albums to the world. Jordin Sparks also starred in Whitney Houston’s Sparkle and missed the Grammy by a hair’s breadth “No Air” in 2009. Off late, her 2015 album Right Here, Right Now and romance with rapper Sage the Gemini has kept her in the limelight, much to our benefit.

David Cook (2008)

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Cook has had a very topsy-turvy career graph since winning American Idol. Initially, he was making music with RCA Records and released two albums that were fairly successful. However, 2012 saw him ending his relationship with the label and relocating to Nashville, Tennessee in an unexpected move. His 2015 independent-release-album Digital Vein has received a lukewarm respons

Kris Allen (2009)

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Allen’s surprise victory over Adam Lambert in American Idol’s eighth season was validated by the enormous success of debut single “Live Like We’re Dying”. But he probably grabbed more attention for a terrible car accident in 2013 which almost left him unable to play. Fortunately, he recovered and has three studio albums and an enviable married life to be proud of today.

Lee DeWyze (2010)

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Lee DeWyze has done fairly well for himself though his journey has had many ups and downs. To begin with, he split from RCA Records one year post his victory, though his debut album fared rather well on the Billboard. Frames, his 2013 release could not be deemed as successful, however. The last you heard from him is probably the “Blackbird Song” on The Walking Dead’s fourth season.

Scotty McCreery (2011)

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Scotty is remembered as the youngest male winner of American Idol who bagged the title at the young age of 17. He went on to become a veritable star in the genre of country music, having sold over 2.5 million albums to date. He achieved all of this while pursuing academics at the North Carolina State University and his third studio album is due in early 2016. Wonderboy much?

Phillip Phillips (2012)

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This season twelve winner has several musical honours to speak of. Firstly, his coronation song on the show “Home” became the theme for NBC’s Olympic coverage. Then, his “Gone Gone Gone” become Idol’s season twelve send-off song. Post this, he was involved in an ugly legal batter with 19 Recordings, but his marriage to long-time girlfriend in October 2015 ushered in happier times.

Candice Glover (2013)

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Glover has released one album since his victory. Music Speaks, which debuted in 2014, did not produce a single hit track. Since then, she is known to have been performing frequently at professional sporting events and corporate dos. Her social media activities hint at an upcoming follow-up album – let’s see how that turns out.

Caleb Johnson (2014)

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You would think that Caleb Johnson has hardly had time to make his mark but the man hasn’t been sitting idle. He released his debut album Testify about three months after American Idol and subsequently parted ways with his recording label even. He’s now finding a suitable team of people to work with, though it perhaps still too early to judge where his career is going.

Nick Fradiani (2015)

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It would be unfair to begin expecting the 2015 winner to be releasing top singles and bagging awards just yet. Nick did release his debut single “Beautiful Life” which unfortunately, didn’t cause much of a stir in the music world. His debut album is yet to release but we hope there are some great tracks on it that do justice to his victorious title of American Idol 14.

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