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‘American Idol’ winners: Where are they now?


LOS ANGELES — American Idol has paved the way for people to realize their dreams of becoming music stars for the last 20 years.

Some ‘Idol’ winners have become superstars while some who lost the ‘Idol’ prize still found stardom.

Below is a list of the previous 19 winners and more about what they have accomplished since becoming the American Idol.

Tune into the season premiere of American Idol starting Sunday, February 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT | 7 p.m. CT on your local ABC station and the next day on Hulu.

1. Kelly Clarkson
The first singer to take home the title of American Idol champion went on to earn multi-platinum status on 3 records, won multiple Grammy awards and Billboard Music Awards, and hosts a daytime talk show. Clarkson, who was 20 at the time of her win in September 2002, also broke a decades-long record held by The Beatles with her coronation song, “A Moment Like This,” which was the fastest to reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2. Ruben Studdard
The Birmingham, Alabama native took home top prize in 2003 edging out Clay Aiken, who is now running for Congress in North Carolina. Studdard has released several albums, earned a Grammy nomination, and made his Broadway debut in 2018.
'American Idol' winners: Where are they now?
3. Fantasia Barrino
Fantasia Barrino beat out the likes of Jennifer Hudson for the coveted title in 2004. She went on to receive multiple Grammy nominations and won her first Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 2011. Fantasia has also appeared on Broadway including the lead role in The Color Purple in 2013.

4. Carrie Underwood
Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood has sold more than 70 million records worldwide and won multiple Grammy Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and American Music Awards. She’s also a 3-time ACM and CMA winner. In 2008, Underwood was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. She’s also written a fitness book and launched her own fitness fashion line.

5. Taylor Hicks
The fifth season featured incredible talent, including Katherine McPhee, Chris Daughtry, and Kellie Pickler. All went on to find success. The Idol champion this year was Taylor Hicks, who at 29 became the oldest Idol winner. Hicks released 3 studio albums, performed on Broadway, and was the first Idol winner to score a long-term residency in Las Vegas.
'American Idol' winners: Where are they now?
6. Jordin Sparks
A year after crowning the oldest winner, Jordin Sparks became the youngest winner at 17 The Arizona native’s debut album went platinum. Sparks has also performed on Broadway and made her big-screen debut in Sparkle with Whitney Houston.

7. David Cook
Missouri native David Cook won the Idol title in 2008. He’s released several albums and starred on Broadway in Kinky Boots.

8. Kris Allen
In what was considered an upset, Kris Allen defeated Adam Lambert for the 2009 Idol crown. Allen has released multiple albums since the win.

9. Lee DeWyze
Lee DeWyze had a solo career and a band, which produced two albums, even before stepping onto the Idol stage. Since winning the title in 2010, DeWyze has released 7 more albums.

10. Scott McCreery
Season 10 featured a close competition between Scott McCreery and Lauren Alaina. McCreery, then 17, won the prize. The North Carolina native’s debut album was certified platinum. He’s released multiple albums since then, scored a number 1 country hit with “Five More Minutes” and opened for Brad Paisley and The Band Perry.

RELATED: Meet some of the Season 20 Idol hopefuls

11. Phillip Phillips
Georgia native Phillip Phillips saw success after winning Idol with his mega-hit “Home.” He also toured with John Mayer, released a couple more albums, and played a diamond smuggler on an episode of Hawaii Five-O.

He also had a memorable audition for ‘Idol’ with performances of ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder and ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson.

12. Candice Glover
She auditioned for Idol three times before finally winning the crowd in 2013. Candice Glover released a debut album after her win, but the South Carolina native has not recorded another one since then.

13. Caleb Johnson
American Idol’s 2014 winner was a true rocker. Caleb Johnson even got to perform with KISS during the show. He released a solo album after winning, but then formed a new group called Caleb Johnson and the Ramblin’ Saints.

14. Nick Fradiani

Connecticut native Nick Fradiani released an album called Hurricane after his Season 14 win. He also toured with the rock band The Alternate Routes and performed with a national tour of A Bronx Tale.

15. Trent Harmon
Season 15 winner Trent Harmon beat out La’Porsha Renae for the crown. The Mississippi native followed his victory with the release of an EP in 2016 and a studio album 2 years later called “You Got ‘Em All.”

16. Maddie Poppe
The two-hour finale of Season 16 featured winner Maddie Poppe singing a “Rainbow Connection” with Kermit the Frog. In an added twist during the finale, Maddie and runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson announced they had begun dating. They performed a medley of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” after the announcement.

17. Laine Hardy
20-year-old Laine Hardy appeared in Season 16 and came back to win it all in 2018. He dropped his first album last year. “Here’s to Anyone” features 11 songs, including 2 written by the Idol winner.

18. Just Sam
The first-ever remote finale due to the pandemic featured 5 contestants. New York City’s Just Sam, once a subway singer, won the crown. She signed a record deal with Hollywood Records but parted ways without ever releasing an album.

19. Chayce Beckham
The season 19 finale featured a tight competition between Chayce Beckham, Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence. Beckham, from Apple Valley, California, won the title. He’s touring now and released a duet with Linday Bell called “Can’t Do Without Me.”

Tune into the season premiere of American Idol starting Sunday, February 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT | 7 p.m. CT on your local ABC station and the next day on Hulu.

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