Put together a Scottish farm girl, a Football player for Alabama A&M,and a single mother with a waitress, a graphic design major and a teenage Gospel singer with a gray haired harmonica player and what do you get?
American Idol winners!
After 7 seasons of American Idol the excitement has dimmed just a bit. But American Idol is still going on steady and strong. The past winners for the most part still are the bright and shining Idols we voted on. For a few, the lights have dimmed like a falling star bright for one brief sparkling moment...then gone. Then there are a brilliant few like comets whose brilliance is radiant and going higher and staying steady with no signs of burning out.
Which of our 7 American Idol winners are destined for greatness...which are not?
Who would have ever guessed that when American Idol first aired on FOX June 11, 2002 that it would be an instant hit! This year marks the beginning of the 8th season and we all wonder who will win. But who could be the best Idol winner ever and the worst. Looking at record sales and being an 'Idol' for America's youth and adults to look up to and be a little proud of who would you pick? Kelly Clarkson has a good head start but looking into the future who will be the most remembered and considered the best of all time out of these first 7 Idol winners?
A young waitress from Texas moved to L.A. with the dreams of being a star. The day she moved into her L.A. apartment she went to a nearby restaurant for a bite to eat. When she came back to her new home she found it had caught on fire. So she went home to Texas feeling I am sure a little defeated when her friend urged her to come to Dallas to try out for a new show.
She sang a song called "At Last" and switched seats with Judge Randy Jackson. She made it through to the next round. She was just glad that the "Mean British man did not make me cry."
A few months later Kelly Clarkson did cry as she was announced the First Winner of American Idol. Choking back tears she sang "A Moment Like This" with the help of fellow contestants at the end of the song. Kelly beat runner up Justin Guarini with 58% of the vote. It was estimated that over 50 million viewers watch the finale.
When the single "A Moment Like This" was released it set a record on the Billboard hot 100 chart when it went from 52 to #1 and it sold over 240,000 copies during it's first week of sales in the U.S. possibly due to Idol mania.
Since then this little waitress from Texas with the funny personality and big smile has won over 60 awards with over 100 nominations. She has won 2 Grammies and been nominated twice more. 2 multi-platinum albums, 1 platinum album. She also has 5 platinum singles, 1 multi-platinum singles (Since You've Been Gone) and 2 gold singles. She also had the #1 song of 2002.
Clarkson is an exceptional songwriter whose skill in writing has not quite yet reached it's peak. She wrote "Because of You" when she was 16 while trying to deal with her parents divorce.In 2008 Kelly also sang 'Ave Maria" for Pope Benedict XVI at a Papal Youth rally in New York.
She also has a flop in the movie 'From Justin to Kelly' but she has over came that and went on to guest star in several shows such as 'Reba" 'American Dreams' as Brenda Lee and a few more. We have not heard about a lot of drama from Clarkson with the exception of problems with one of her earlier albums.
Clarkson released her 4th album 'All I Ever Wanted' in March 2009. 'My Life Would Suck Without You'. The first single released from this album broke records as it jumped from #97 on the Billboard 100 charts to #1 within a week. Clarkson seems to be determined and works hard and has a decent image with a wonderful voice.
A 'Velvet Teddy Bear" from Alabama went with a friend to Nashville, Tennessee to audition for the second season of American Idol. Ruben Studdard sang Stevie Wonder's 'Ribbon in the Sky' and made it to Hollywood.
Studdard beat runner up Clay Aiken by only 134,000 votes. He sang 'Flying Without Wings' which was his first single it made it's debut on the Billboard 100 at #2. His first album 'Soulful' sold over 1 million records before it had hit the stores due to advance orders for the album. It debuted at #1 selling over 400,000 in record sales it's first week making it the highest first week record sales of any American Idol Winner.
Studdard is the 5th best selling American Idol winner with over 2.5 million in record sales. His second album 'I Need an Angel' entered the Gospel charts at #1 and was also #1 in 2005 year end Gospel albums chart. Studdard's 3rd album was R& B. 'The Return' was released late in 2006 and solc over 70,000 it's first week and made it to #8 on the charts but sales dropped after that and because of the sales drop,
Ruben was released from his record label J Records in late 2007.
Ruben has also guest starred in '8 Simple Rules', 'Eve', 'All of Us', and as himself in the movie 'Scooby Doo2 Monsters Unleashed'. In 2007 Ruben toured with Robin Givins in the Comedy 'I Need A Hug;
Studdard married Surata McCants in June, 2008. Ruben is headlining the tour of 'Ain't Misbehaving' where he is playing the lead Fats Waller and he has been getting pretty good reviews from critics.
His 4th album is titled 'Love Is' and will be released by Hickory records in May, 2009.
This lovable, huggable Gospel singer from Alabama seems content.
In 2003 a young single mother from North carolina wowed the Judges with her performance of 'Proud Mary' in the Atlanta auditions for the 3rd season of American idol.. Fantasia Barrino continued to wow audiences throughout the 3rd season of American Idol beating runner up Diana DeGarmo by over 1.3 million votes. Her performance of 'Summertime' was listed on the Emmy's greatest television moments of 2004.
Fantasia became the first artist in Billboard history to have their first single debut at #1 on the charts. 'I Believe' spent 11 weeks at #1 and it was the top selling single of 2004. her debut album 'Free Yourself' hit the charts at #8.It has sold over 2 million records worldwide and was ceritfied platinum. Her second album 'Fantasia' was certified gold. Fantasia has a 3rd album to be released this year.
Fantasia recieved 4 Grammy nominations for her first album and 3 Grammy nominations for her second album. Even though she did not gain any Grammy's from her albums she has won 11 other awards.
Still controversy seems to surround this charming, brave girl on a consistant basis. During American Idol it is reported that the producers were nervous about the young unwed mother beeing a poor role model for America's youth and according to some they urged Fantasia to quit Idol.
In 2005 Fantasia with the help of a freelance writer wrote her autiobiography titled 'Life is not a Fairy Tale' Fantasia told the world in her book she had been raped by a High School classmate, which most likely led to her dropping out from school later on. Fantasia also admitted she could not read and told the story of a young 16 year old finding out she was pregnant and having her daughter Zion. Her relationship with her baby's father soon ended due mainly to his abuse towards Fantasia. The book made the New York Times bestseller list at #7.
Fantasia also potrayed herself in the Lifetime movie about her life based on her book. The movie is listed as Lifetime's second most viewed program of all time.
'Baby Mama' a single from her debut album recieved a lot of critisism because many felt that Fantasia was promoting single motherhood in a bad way.
In 2005 it was reported that a loan company was going to seize her home due to unpaid loans. Also reported was that Fantasia secured the loans to pay her taxes. Again in late 2008 reports came out that Fantasia's home was going to be sold at auction once again for unpaid loans. Now reports are that she has been able to keep the home.
Controversy surrounded Fantasia again in June 2008 when she was dropped from 19 Entertainment because of creatitive differences. According to several sources Fantasia stated that it was a mutual decision.
Currently Fantasia is playing the lead in the broadway musical 'The Color Purple' as ' Celie'. She has gained rave rewievs for her performance and will soon be hitting the screen in a film adaptation of the musical. But once again despite all the wonderful reviews Fantasia has recieved critics questioned her reliability when in 2008 Fantasia missed over 50 performances of 'The Color Purple' causing the producers of the show to refund tens of thousands of dollars to theatre goers. In a statement given to the September, 2008 issue of 'Sister 2 Sister' Fantasia announced she had missed work due to a cyst on her vocal cords. Producers made Fantasia have surgery and doctors found a large tumor on her vocal cords. Fantasia has recovered well after a very sucessful surgery and is back on stage and promoting her 3rd album. The first song of the album 'Him vs them' has been released earlier in March, 2009.
Despite all the controversy and her personal problems you have to give this sweet girl with the big smile a thumbs up because she keeps trying despite the odds that seem to be against her.
During the summer of 2004, a Country girl from Oklahoma 'clucked' her way into American Idol's 4th season.
Carrie Underwood auditioned in St. Louis and she sang 'I can't make you love me' for her audition. America voted and Carrie beat runner up Rocker Bo Bice to become the 4th American Idol winner. Carrie's quiet country charm and astounding voice made 'Carrie's Care Bears' (fans) fans love her early in the season and she seemed to have wowed Simon Cowell from the start. Cowell predicted very early in the season that Carrie would not only win the competition but would go on to sell more records than any other Idol winner. He was right!
Carrie's debut album 'Some Hearts' was the biggest debut of a Country artist and has been certified septuple platinum. The albums second single 'Jesus, take the Wheel' remained at #1 for 6 weeks won the Gospel Music Association's country single of the year and was also awarded a Grammy in 2006 for Country song of the year. her 3rd Country single 'Before He Cheats' debuted at #1 and remained at #1 on the Billboard Country charts for 5 weeks.
In 2008 Carrie became the first Country artist ever to have 2 singles hit platinum Mastertone status with 'Before he Cheats' and 'Jesus take the Wheel'. She has broken several records with her many hits and it seems that her popularity is not slowing down anytime soon. Both her albums still continue to make history.
Underwood's second album 'Carnival Ride' hit the stores in October, 2007 and became double platinum by December, 2007.
She has been nominated for and won more awards than all American Idol winners combined! She has been awarded CMA Female Vocalist of the year for the last 3 years. It was announced early in 2009 that Underwood is nominated for CMA'sEntertainer of the Year if she wins this on April 5th 2009 she will be the 7th female Country singer in the award's history to win this award.
Carrie has been voted as the Sexiest female Musician by Victoria's Secret 2007/2008 and 'World's Sexiest Vegetarian' by PETA 2 times 2006/2007. She is active in supporting the Humane Society Underwood is a skilled piano and guitar player and is doing a little songwriting of her own with 'I Ain't In Checotah Anymore'. Her 3rd album is scheduled to be released sometime in late 2009.
Underwood told judges during her audition she has played Quarterback for a flag football team.. Her love of sports is evident with her dating Dallas Cowboy Quarterback Tony Romo and now dating Ottawa Senators center Mike Fisher. Both her romances gained a lot of media attention but most of her media attention is focused on her music.
The Scottish farm girl who confessed during her Idol tryouts that she had a 3rd nipple removed seems to be on her way to becoming one of the best Country music artists in Country history.
The 'Soul Patrol' came to Vegas for the tryouts for American idol's 5th season. Taylor Hicks impressed Judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul but not Simon Cowell. The gray haired Taylor sang Sam Cook's ' Change is Coming' and after singing a second song was voted to the now famous Hollywood rounds. Taylor gave Idol fans a different kind of performer with his harmonica playing crazy dance moves and soulful voice.
Taylor beat runner up Katharine McPhee to become Idol's oldest winner.
Taylor's first single 'Do I make You Proud' debuted #2 on the Billboard 200 charts and was certified gold. His debut album hit the #2 spot on Billboard and was certified platinum early in 2007. In 2006 Hicks recieved a $750,000 deal to write a story about his life with the title 'Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way' it was released in July of 2007.
In 2008, J Records announced they had released Hicks from his recording contract and Arista records has also dropped Hicks from it's roster.
Right now Hicks is starring in 'Grease' as Teen Angel and also starred in the Broadway production of 'Grease' as well with favorable reviews.
Hicks 2nd album was released March 2009 the first single off that album 'What' Right is Right' has reached #25 on the charts. His second albums release had sold only 9000 albums during its first week of sales and debuted at #58 on Billboard charts.
Hicks has been told he resembles Jay Leno, George Clooney and Phil Donahue. Jay Leno often refers to Hicks as "his son". The 'Soul Patrol' does a lot of charitable work for the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and several other charities. The first 'Soul Patrol Convention' was in Alabama in 2008 with all proceeds going to the Kid One Transport charity.
Taylor Hicks seems to be an odd choice for an American Idol and he has has some rough spots along the way. But we commend him for his public service and his seemingly constant upbeat positive nature.
For the 6th season of American Idol auditions a beautiful 16 year old Soprano from Arizona auditioned 2 times to make it into the Idol competition. Jordin Sparks auditioned in Seattle and in L.A. she sang Celine Dion's 'Because You Love Me" and made it to Hollywood. Almost instantly Idol fans fell in love with this young lady that has the voice of an angel. Her fans called themselves the 'Sparkplugs'. Jordin beat Blake Lewis to become the 6th American Idol winner.
Jordin who is also the daughter of former NFL defensive back Philippi Sparks was also a winner in the search for America's next Plus Size Model and several other competitions before becoing the youngest American Idol in 2007.
Her debut album came out in November 2007 and the first single off that album 'Tattoo' was a top ten hit.
Sparks website ran a poll for the second single to be released and the voters chose 'No Air' . The second single released 'no Air' was a top hit before it's release. 'No Air' made it to #3 on the charts and stayed there for 4 weeks.
Sparks became the only Idol so far with 4 of their first singles hit the Billboards's top 20.
Sparks has toured with Alicia Keys and was to appear on the GMA Dove Awards for a tribute to Michael W. Smith when a career threatening throat injury which was in fact a vocal cord hemmorage forced Sparks to cancel a few weeks of shows.
Jordin has won 6 out of the 11 awards she has been nominated for. At the 2008 VMA awards where she was nominated for 2 awards there was controversy which was caused by her 'promise ring' that she wears to promote virginity. VMA host Russel Bland made a joke about the ring stating that he had "taken one of the Jonas brothers virginity." Sparks responded with "It's not bad to wear promise rings because not everybody guy...or girl wants to be a slut." Her only regret about the remark is she wished she had worded it differently.
Sparks teamed up with Wetseal to create her own clothing line called simply 'Sparks'! Her clothing line hit the stores in November 2008 and has been a huge success.
Sparks is currently working on her second album and has a book coming out in April 2009 titled 'One Step At a Time'
and she has been writing and co writing some of the songs for her second album.
This absolutely breathtakingly beautiful young Christian girl is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs. She has had a rocky start but her career looks very promising. I was not a fan of the team her father played for...but...I could see myself becoming one of her fans.
A bartending, college graduate with a degree in graphic design went to Nebraska to audition for American Idol.
With his hair plastered on his head like a rooster David Cook sang Bon Jovi's 'Living on a Prayer" and made it through to the Hollywood round.
In the 7th season of American Idol which had become known as the year of the 'Davids' rocker David Cook beat David Archuletta with 56% of the votes from fans. Cook grew on fans during the season amid controversy that some of his 'original' rendetions of several songs were in fact credited to other bands before. Cook's rendition of The Beatles 'Day Tripper' was credited to Whitesnake and Cook's rendition of The Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby' was recorded by a Seattle band, Doxology the year before. Cook later told Ryan Seacrest that his rendition of 'Eleanor Rigby' was in fact based on Neil Zaza and Doxology's versions. Even with the controversy Cook was praised for choosing song renditions that suited his unique vocal style.
A week after Cook's Idol win he broke several Billboard chart records! Cook had 11 songs debut on the 'Hot 100' that week beating the record set by Miley Cyrus in 2006 when she had 6. Cook also broke the record for most debuts for Billboard's Hot Digital Songs.
So far Cook has won 2 out of the 3 awards he has been nominated for. Cook has signed an endorsement deal with 'Skechers' that runs through December 2009. He visited over 7 bases during a USO tour in 2008.
His album was certified platinum for having over 1 million sold in January 2009 alone. Before the Finale of American Idol the year he won he caused mild controversy by asking former idolcontestant Kimberly Caldwell out. The pair dated for several months until the relationship ended in December 2008.
It is too early to tell what kind of impact David Cook will have on the music industry but one thing is for sure Cook will work hard he is determined to have a succesful music career.
With a short history on how our Idol winners are doing who do you think will have the most lasting impact on the music industry? Which Idol is doomed for failure? Share your thoughts on your favorite Idol and reasons why you think they are the best of the rest.!