American Idol’s Most Successful Losers

American Idol is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011 and over the past decade, it has introduced the world to some very talented people. The premise of the reality show is to find the next star in the music industry among thousands of anonymous hopefuls who audition every year. We have had nine winners so far and most of them have very successful, award-winning careers.

What is interesting, though, is that to have a shot in the music industry you don’t have to necessarily win the show. A couple of weeks ago, people were shocked that one of the strongest candidates this season, Pia Toscano, was booted off the competition. The fact that she was eliminated so early in the season might have been shocking, but it doesn’t mean that it has ruined her chances for a music career in the long run. After all, several past losers have made it big time in the industry and some of them didn’t even make it to the top 3 of the show.


For example:


Jennifer Hudson

She was on the show in season 3 and made it to the top 7 before she was eliminated in one of the most shocking moments of the show’s history. And it seems it was the best thing that could have happened to her because a couple of years later, she won an Oscar for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her moving performance in the movie Dreamgirls. And she didn’t stop there. As of right now, she has an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy sitting in her shelf.


Chris Daughtry

The resident rocker in season 5, Chris Daughtry seemed to have the entire package: the looks, the voice and the stage presence of a rock star. But he only made it as far as the top 4 before he was booted off the show. After that, he formed his own band, signed a contract with RCA Records and his first album reached number 1 in the Billboard charts. His second album achieved the same feat, making him the only American Idol contestant to ever have two consecutive albums reach the number 1 spot.


Adam Lambert

From the very start in season 7, Adam was a favorite to win the American Idol crown. His unique talent received praise week after week and he even got a standing ovation from Simon Cowell, the toughest judge on the show, for his incredible rendition of the song Mad World. His victory seemed to be a given when he made it to the top 2. But then Kris Allen won and everyone was shocked. That didn’t stop him, though. Since then, he has released an album, is working on a second that is supposed to be released some time this year and was nominated for a Grammy.


Clay Aiken

He made it to the finale, but ended up losing to Ruben Studdard in season 2. After that, he signed a contract with RCA Records and his debut album was a tremendous multiplatinum success. In the years following his American Idol appearance, Aiken has launched nine tours, co-wrote a New York Times best-selling book Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life and won several awards.

Not bad for American Idol losers, right?



20-something Brazilian journalist. Crazy about TV. Love Castle, Fringe, Doctor Who, Glee and countless other shows. Lost is the best show of all time. Period. @lucianamangas
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  • Brian

    Mandisa is my favorite American Idol non-winner.

  • Anthony

    Kelly Greco is my favorite loser what a powerful voice check out her show at nashville outdoor CMA at Graham Central Station at… she is still singing and one of the most powerful singers out there.

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