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Life After the Golden Ticket: This Is What the Most Memorable American Idol Stars Are up To Now

American Idol may still be on our TVs, but it’s safe to say that it has undergone quite the makeover over the years. While we love Katy Perry’s eclectic wardrobe choices and quirky personality, we miss the days where we could watch Simon Cowell’s teeth get progressively whiter as the seasons passed by. And don’t even get us started on Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Oh, how we long for their return.

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But the judges aren’t the only people we miss from the OG series of American Idol. This show brought some amazing singers into the limelight, but what’s happened to them since? Here at HypeGalore, we’re dishing the goss and telling you everything you could possibly need to know about what your favorite American Idol contestants are up to now. We’re just nice like that, you know?

Clay Aiken Ran for Congress

Remember this guy? Clay Aiken managed to bag himself second place back on season two of American Idol, and it’s safe to say that he won everyone over. After the show came to an end, Clay continued his music career and even earned himself a shiny multi-platinum plaque to hang on his wall thanks to his debut album, Measure of a Man. Since then, though, his career has gone in a slightly different direction…

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After the show, Clay made his way into the acting world. With offers of Broadway fame and television show glory, he just couldn’t turn them down. But then in 2013, he decided that it was time for him to run for Congress – a move not normally associated with American Idol alumni. Although he won the primary to run as Democrat in North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, he was ultimately pipped to the post. Second place again. Ouch.

Carrie Underwood Became a Grammy Award-Winning Artist

If you cast your mind back to season four of American Idol, you may remember a small-town girl by the name of Carrie Underwood. Of course, you may also remember that she won that season and went on to become one of the most successful recording artists of all time, right? While she’s made men quiver in their boots and worry about the tires on their four-wheel drive, she’s certainly made something of herself.

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In fact, Carrie made country music history when she released her debut album. Her 2005 Some Hearts album not only became the best-selling solo female debut album of all time, but it’s also become the best-selling country album of all time. Thanks to her singing prowess, she now has three beautiful Grammy Awards sitting on her mantelpiece. Go, Carrie.

Jordin Sparks Became a Broadway Star

In 2007, Jordin Sparks made musical history when she became the youngest-ever winner of American Idol at just 17 years old. Since then, her career has only skyrocketed, with fans across the globe loving her singing voice, her acting talent, her social media presence, and just about everything this woman has to offer.

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In 2020, Jordin released new music after a five-year break, but she definitely kept herself busy during that time. Over the years, Jordin has made a name for herself on Broadway and performed to thousands of theater-lovers in the audience. Perhaps her most popular role to date came as the leading lady in Waitress in 2019.

Taylor Hicks Opened a Diner

With his luscious silver locks and his dulcet tones, it’s no wonder that Taylor Hicks made it to the finale of season five of American Idol – and won it! Once the show came to an end, Taylor’s musical career took off and he was given the chance to host his own Las Vegas residency and strut his stuff on Broadway. However, times have now changed for Taylor.

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Although he’s still dipping in and out of the music scene, Taylor Hicks seems to have found a new passion over the years. Not only has he opened up his very own diner restaurant in Alabama, but he’s also bagged himself a food-based television show on Amazon Prime. State Plate has been running since 2016, and Taylor seems to have taken like a duck to water in front of the cameras.

William Hung Became a Technical Crime Analyst

American Idol has seen some extremely talented singers walk onto the stage over the years… and then there was William Hung. While he managed to win over many fans with his comical performance of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs,” he didn’t quite win over the judges. He didn’t make it past the audition, but he did garner a huge cult following.

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Although Hung tried to make a go of his music career after his initial fame, his five-minutes was soon over and he had to turn his attention back to his original craft. William had previously studied civil engineering at college, and so it wasn’t long before he was offered the chance to become a technical crime analyst. In 2018, he also ventured into the world of becoming a motivational speaker, and is surprisingly pretty booked up.

Fantasia Barrino Sang at an Icon’s Funeral

Season three of American Idol may seem like decades ago (well, a decade and a half ago) but we bet Fantasia Barrino remembers her moment of glory as though it was yesterday. After winning over the judges and viewers at home, Fantasia launched a singing career that landed her countless awards, including a coveted Billboard Award.

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As if that wasn’t enough, she was honored in 2018 when she was asked to perform at the funeral of the legendary icon, Aretha Franklin. More recently, Fantasia recorded an album with features from huge names such as Meghan Trainor and T-Pain. In November 2020, she confirmed that she was pregnant with her first child and we couldn’t be happier for her.

Adam Lambert Earned Himself a Las Vegas Residency

You may have heard of the phrase, “First is the worst, second is the best.” Well, there are some people out there who would say that Adam Lambert’s second-place position on American Idol was the best thing to ever happen to him. This is pretty obvious by the fact that he’s sold more than five million singles and three million albums since his time on the show came to an end.

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Thanks to his rock and roll voice and his impressive performances on stage, Adam Lambert has found success within a very specific niche. That’s because Lambert joined Queen as their lead vocalist many years ago, and he’s still touring the world and performing to millions as a replacement for the late and great Freddie Mercury. Pretty awesome, right?

Ruben Studdard Appeared on The Biggest Loser

We’ve already met the runner-up from season two, so why don’t we see what the winner is up to now? Ruben Studdard blew us all away with his gospel tones, and it was no surprise to many that he won the top price and rose to victory on American Idol. Since then, Ruben has released seven studio albums that have all done well. But it’s fair to say that most people know him for his appearances on other television shows.

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As well as making his mark as a television actor in shows such as Life on a Stick and 8 Simple Rules, Ruben also appeared on The Biggest Loser back in 2013. After struggling with his weight, he sought the help of the celebrity coaches and entered the competition at 462 pounds. Although he was eliminated in week eight, he ultimately lost 119 pounds throughout the process.

Paul McDonald Became a Hollywood Heartbreaker

Season ten of American Idol saw Paul McDonald shine on the stage with some of his own original songs, and while he left the show in the eighth place, the exposure did wonders for his career – and the career of his bandmates. That’s because Paul has been a member of the band The Grand Magnolias since 2010, even though he tried to embrace a solo adventure on the show.

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Despite his decision to do it alone, Paul is still part of the band, and they are now more successful than ever. This success allowed him to meet actress Nikki Reed – and it’s fair to say that they hit it off. After a short but sweet relationship, the couple tied the knot. Of course, the path of true love never does run smooth, and they parted ways in 2014. Today, Paul is a Hollywood heartbreaker and supposedly dating actress Emily Kinney.

Kris Allen Became a Humanitarian

Season eight of American Idol saw Kris Allen and Adam Lambert battle for the top spot, but Kris just managed to squeeze past and win the victory. Life has been good for Kris since then, and it’s safe to say that he’s been pretty busy. Not only has he released a whopping six albums, but he also married his high school sweetheart and has welcomed three kids into the world.

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But that’s not all. Kris is a keen humanitarian who has traveled across the globe to help those in need. Over the years, he has traveled to Kenya, Haiti, and Rwanda as a missionary. His fans have been inspired by his charity work to donate tens of thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations in his name.

Kelly Clarkson Became a Children’s Author

Of course, she’s done so much more than that since winning American Idol in 2002. As one of the most recognizable faces to come from the show, it’s fair to say that Kelly Clarkson’s life was changed forever when she stepped in front of the judges and sang for her golden ticket. While her musical talent has put her into the history books, Kelly has also proved herself to be a well-rounded celebrity with countless strings to her bow.

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As if selling 45 million singles worldwide wasn’t enough, Clarkson has also written numerous children’s books, served as a celebrity judge on The Voice, acted in movies and TV shows, and even become the host of her very own talk show host. Yep, you can’t deny that you’ve watched at least one or two episodes of The Kelly Clarkson Show. She’s come a long way since her American Idol days, that’s for sure.

Katharine McPhee’s Romantic Life Caused a Stir

There’s a high chance that you have forgotten that Katharine McPhee was on season five of American Idol. After all, she’s now so famous that her second-place position is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to her career. After the competition, it wasn’t long before she was showing off her singing and acting talent in shows such as Scorpion and Smash – and she’s even taken Broadway by storm.

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However, it’s Katharine’s McPhee’s personal life that has really got people talking. Or should we call her Katharine Foster? That’s because this American Idol alum married musical legend David Foster back in 2019. While it’s clear to see that they love each other – and they’re even expecting a baby together – many people have raised eyebrows over their 35-year age gap.

Scotty McCreery Became a Sports Blogger

American Idol sees youngsters from across America make their way in front of the judges, and Scott McCreery was one of the younger contestants in season ten. In fact, he won the show when he was just 17 years old, and it wasn’t long before he was recording his debut album – plus another three after that.

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But when he’s not recording new music, Scotty is either spending time with his wife or watching sports. In 2013, he even landed himself a rather unusual gig as a sports blogger. Major League Baseball asked him to commentate on the season, and that’s exactly what he did. While he hasn’t continued this job, he regularly posts about sports on his social media.

Phillip Phillips Became a Television Actor

Phillip Phillips probably doesn’t have any problem remembering his name, but what about his lines? After the confetti rained down on him as the winner of American Idol in 2012, Phillips continued his music career and released three albums. What many people didn’t expect of him, though, was for him to become a television actor.

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Yes, since making his way into the limelight, Phillips has toured the globe and sang for millions of people. But one of his shining moments was bagging a guest acting spot in the hugely popular television show, Hawaii Five-O. While his acting career was short-lived, Phillips keeps himself busy raising money for the pandemic efforts.

David Archuleta Became a Missionary

What were you doing at 16 years old? While most of us were causing trouble, David Archuleta made it to the final two in season seven of American Idol. Although he didn’t win the competition, David quickly became a teen idol who was loved across the globe for his music and his adorable personality.

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In recent years, David has continued to record and release music, and he even released his eighth studio album in May 2020. However, his focus has often changed as he’s gotten older. In 2012, Archuleta confirmed that he would take a two-year break from music as he would be undertaking missionary work in Chile with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Caleb Johnson Formed His Own Band

In 2014, Caleb Johnson became a firm favorite for American Idol fans across the globe. And it was their loyalty that allowed the rock singer to win first place and walk away with the title that many can only dream of. Amazingly, Caleb’s subsequent debut album rocked up the charts and still holds the record for the quickest album release in American Idol history.

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Although Caleb won the singing competition on his own, it seems as though he prefers playing with a band. In 2018, he joined Trans-Siberian Orchestra on their winter tour and rocked out to progressive metal, and in 2019 he formed his own band. Today, he forms part of Caleb Jonson and the Ramblin’ Saints.

Sanjaya Malakar Became a Bartender

When it comes to American Idol controversy, we have to talk about Sanjaya Malakar. This singer appeared on season six of the show, and while some people voted for him to land seventh place, others did not agree with his place on the show. The judges criticized him, and Simon Cowell made no secret that he didn’t like Sanjaya.

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While he earned a fair bit of fame and fortune from his place on the show, by 2012, he was working as a bartender in New York. He later confirmed that all of his earnings from the show and subsequent fame had gone. He said, “I was young. I didn’t know anything. Some people took advantage. Some skimmed a little off the top, financially.” Today, he works in theater and seems to have a pet goat.

Kellie Pickler Became a Talk Show Host

Kellie Pickler may have finished in sixth place during season five of American Idol, but that hasn’t stopped her from reaching for the stars. The country music singer has released four albums and even toured with Rascall Flatts, but it seems as though most people now know her for her place on television rather than in front of the microphone.

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Yes, in 2013, Kellie followed in the rhythmic footsteps of countless celebrities before her and appeared on Dancing with the Stars. With her partner, Derek Hough, she won the glitterball and was thrust even further into the limelight. This helped her score her very own talk show with comedian Ben Aaron. Pickler & Ben ran from 2017 until 2019.

David Cook Debuted on Broadway

Although David Cook started to record and release music before he appeared on American Idol, his win in 2008 definitely solidified his place as an artist. He’s now released four albums overall, with his self-titled album, David Cook, is now certified platinum. But it seems as though David prefers singing for a live audience, rather than those listening in their cars or at home.

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That’s because many people now know him for his Broadway debut, and what a debut that was! From 2018 until 2019, David donned some long red boots and performed for thousands of adoring fans as the leading man in Kinky Boots. David is also a firm fan favorite of American Idol viewers, which means that he often returns to the stage to perform during other seasons.

Jennifer Hudson Became an Award-Winning Actress

We’re just going to go ahead and assume that you’re pretty familiar with Jennifer Hudson. After all, she’s one of the most famous people in the world. But do you remember when she placed in season three of American Idol? She came seventh! Despite the fact that she only just made it to the finals, Jennifer Hudson has one of the biggest careers of all the American Idol alumni.

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Jennifer has released three studio albums, but her real claim to fame has been both on the stage and the screen. Not only has Hudson stolen the show in Broadway shows like The Color Purple, but she’s also become a Hollywood icon. In recent years, she’s taken on leading roles in Cats and Hairspray Live!, and she was a judge on the UK and US version of The Voice from 2017 until 2019.

Justin Guarini Became the Face of a Soft Drink

Can you believe that the first season of American Idol aired almost 19 years ago?! Justin Guarini became the first runner-up the competition ever saw, and he’s managed to maintain a fairly successful career ever since. While he’s only released two studio albums, Justin has solidified his place within the world of musical theater over the years.

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As well as performing in Broadway adaptations of American Idiot, Wicked, In Transit, and Mamma Mia!, Justin also became the face of a soft drink. Yep, he has been the face of Dr. Pepper for many years now – but you may not have recognized him. Making himself known to the world as “Lil’ Sweet,” Justin has donned his pink wig and fingerless gloves for these commercials since 2015.

Diana Degarmo Married a Fellow Contestant

Diana Degarmo may look a little different from how she did on season three of American Idol, but this lady has done pretty well for herself since taking the runner-up position. While she’s still singing on a stage, Diana is now making waves on Broadway rather than in front of the studio lights. In recent years she has starred in countless productions.

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From West Side Story to Hair, Diana has certainly kept herself busy – and she’s always had her husband by her side. Yes, Diana has now been married to season five’s Ace Young for seven years, and when they’re not being adorable on social media, they’re working together. In 2018, Diana and Ace donned their leather jackets to sing alongside each other in Grease.

Blake Lewis Became a Philanthropist

We’re used to seeing singers on American Idol, but when Blake Lewis made his way to the stage on season six, he proved to everyone that he was more than just a singer. His ability to sing, write songs and beatbox landed him second place on the show, and he’s done pretty well since. Blake has recently released his fourth studio album, but he’s also a keen philanthropist.

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Over the course of his career, Blake has put a huge amount of time and effort into fundraising for charities close to his heart. While he is keen to help anyone in need, he has continually supported the cancer research cause. This is due to the fact that two of his close friends have been diagnosed with lymphoma during their lifetimes.

Lauren Alaina Appeared on Dancing With the Stars

American Idol viewers love a country singer, so it should come as no surprise to learn that Lauren Alaina’s country twang proved to be extremely popular during season ten. Although she didn’t quite take the top spot, she came in second and has since released two studio albums. As if that wasn’t enough, she also had the pleasure of touring with Blake Shelton in 2019.

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However, her shining glory came during season 28 of Dancing with the Stars when she was partnered with Gleb Savchenko. Her country rhythm certainly worked in her favor on this show, as they ultimately placed fourth and garnered impressive viewer support in the process. What an experience that must have been.

Candice Glover Made Her Way To Broadway

They say third time’s the charm, but for Candice Glover four was certainly her lucky number. After auditioning three times for American Idol without much success, she decided to give it one last shot in the run-up to season 12. Thankfully, her perseverance paid off, and this R&B singer soon walked away with the American Idol title in her hands.

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While Candice has only released one album since her win, she has been pretty busy on the stage and screen. As well as appearing in television shows such as Underground and GRITS: Girls Raised in the South, Candice has also made her way to Broadway. In 2017, she took center stage in Home For the Holidays, Live on Broadway.

Jena Irene’s Social Media Posts Caused a Stir

We all love a wildcard, right? In 2014, Jena Irene became the first-ever female contestant to make it to the finale as a Wild Card contender, and she ultimately came second in the whole competition. After releasing her debut album and subsequent EPs, many people followed Jena on social media to keep up to date with her career. However, some people haven’t been impressed with her content…

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While there’s no doubt that Jena’s Instagram page is full of stunning selfies and artistic photos, she has recently collaborated with a brand to endorse their products. Because these products are extremely controversial because they contain illicit substances, many have suggested that she negatively influences her younger fans.

Maddie Poppe Wrote Music for Movies

Some people are just meant for stardom, and those who know Maddie Poppe will agree that she’s one of them. After unsuccessfully making it onto The Voice in 2015, Maddie decided to give American Idol a whirl in 2018. This decision – alongside her ability to play countless instruments – worked in her favor as she ultimately won season 16 of the show.

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Although it’s only been a couple of years since she won the American Idol title, Maddie has already proved to the world that she has what it takes to be a superstar. Not only did her third single, “Made You Miss,” spend an incredible 16 weeks in the charts, but she’s also made music for movies. Yes, one of Maddie’s songs was featured in the recent Disney movie, Godmothered.

Laine Hardy Headlined His Own Tour

Do we need to tell you that Laine Hardy has become America’s sweetheart? No, we thought not. Laine won over everyone’s hearts in season 17 of American Idol – mainly because it wasn’t actually his first time. In his audition, Hardy noted that he had actually auditioned the year before. While he had previously made it into the top 50, his journey ended there.

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He came back stronger in 2019 and eventually walked away with the winning title to his name. It’s only been a year or so since his win, but he’s already released five singles and an extended play by the name of In the Bayou. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s toured across the U.S and made fans swoon uncontrollably in the process.

Crystal Bowersox Became an LGBTQ+ Advocate

Nobody could deny that Crystal Bowersox was a force to be reckoned with during season nine with her dreadlocks and piercings. Plus, she managed to bag herself the runner-up title with her impressive singing voice and songwriting talent. Although she may not be quite as famous as some of the other names on this list, she’s been quietly doing her thing behind-the-scenes.

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Since coming in second on American Idol, Crystal has released three studio albums and even made her mark as an actress. However, more than anything, she has used her platform to bring attention to issues close to her heart – especially surrounding her diabetes diagnosis and her place within the LGBTQ+ community. In recent months, Crystal has been running songwriting workshops online for her followers to enjoy.

Jessica Sanchez Appeared on Glee

What you might not realize about Jessica Sanchez is that American Idol wasn’t her first singing competition rodeo. Before finishing in second place in season 11, Jessica had appeared on two other shows. In 2005, she made her way onto the stage of Showtime at the Apollo, and a year later, she competed in America’s Got Talent.

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But it was Jessica’s American Idol career that really thrust her into the limelight. Not only has she since released her own music and collaborated with artists such as Ne-Yo and Christian Bautista, but she’s also appeared on countless television shows. She’s made her way back to the American Idol stage numerous times, and she even had the chance to take on a minor role in the musical television show Glee.

Ace Young Started His Own Music Company

With dreams of becoming a famous singer, Ace Young moved to Los Angeles in 2001 in search of stardom. However, when things didn’t exactly go to plan, he decided to audition for season five of American Idol, hoping that he would finally land the record deal he had been drooling over. Although he placed seventh on the show, that hasn’t stopped him from making his mark.

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After the show, Ace bagged himself countless jobs within the music and musical theater industry – but in the end, he opted to make his own destiny. He started his own music company and released his music through “Young Brothers Entertainment.” While the company is no longer running, Ace is still keeping busy with his work on Broadway. Amazingly, he is often cast alongside his wife, Diana DeGarmo.

Nick Fradiani Is Making Music With His Father

Many of the contestants on American Idol appeared on other singing competitions before they made it big, and this was also the case for Nick Fradiani. A year before he won season 14 of American Idol, he had managed to get to “Judgment Week” on America’s Got Talent – and he was so determined to be successful that he didn’t give up.

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Thankfully, his American Idol win means that he’s pretty famous now. Not only has he mentored subsequent contestants on the show, but he’s since released countless songs as a solo artist. But that’s not all. In the past two years, Nick has teamed up with his music-loving father to write and perform songs across America. So far, his fans seem to love this new duo.

Melinda Doolittle Became a Talk Show Host

Who wants to stay in the background their entire life? Melinda Doolittle didn’t want to, that’s for sure. After working as a backing singer for many years before her American Idol fame, Melinda decided that it was time for a change in 2007. She auditioned for season six of the show, and she finished in third place. Shortly after, Melinda took part in the American Idol Tour.

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Since then, she has written a book, become a philanthropist, and even become a talk show host. Moments With Melinda gave her fans the chance to ask her questions and talk about her life, although this was only a short-lived venture. More recently, she has been taking part in virtual concerts for music lovers to enjoy during the pandemic.

Jason Castro Became a Real Estate Agent

Well, he certainly looks different, doesn’t he? Although Jason made his mark on season seven of American Idol thanks to his dreadlocks and hippie ways, it was his singing voice that truly blew viewers away. He eventually bagged fourth place on the show, and many expected him to continue his singing career for years to come.

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While he is still singing and performing on and off, Jason Castro decided to work on a side hustle to support his wife and three children in 2018. He obtained his real estate license and started working with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage that year. And today, he runs his own property company with his brother.

Elliott Yamin Became a Spokesperson for Diabetes

Season five of American Idol was definitely one to write home about. From awesome contestants to sassy judges, Elliott Yamin got to experience this season first-hand – and he even got to walk away in third place. A year after his kind-of-victory, he released his debut album independently, and it’s safe to say it flew to the top of the charts. In fact, it was certified gold within just seven months.

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Since then, Elliott has released nine studio albums and continued to make music regularly. However, when he’s not behind the microphone, Yamin spends a huge amount of his time working as a spokesperson for issues close to his heart. He is most notably the spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – something he is incredibly proud of as a person with diabetes.

Constantine Maroulis Became a Tony Award Nominee

It’s not every year we come across a talented rock singer on American Idol, but season four saw Constantine Maroulis bag himself a golden ticket. After making his way to Hollywood, he came in sixth place – but some would say that he’s now even more famous than the contestants who beat him. Thanks to his unique voice and his alternative style, he’s become a smash hit on Broadway.

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In 2009, he became the “Broadway Star of the Year,” and fans loved seeing him rock their socks off in shows such as Jekyll and Hyde and Rock of Ages. For the latter show, he was even nominated for a coveted Tony Award. Just recently, Maroulis also confirmed on his Instagram page that his music had been streamed over two million times in 2020 alone. That’s something to be proud of.

Mandisa Hundley Struggled With Her Faith

Mandisa Hundley may have only bagged herself ninth place in season five of American Idol, but did that stop her from winning a Grammy Award for her fifth studio album? Of course, it didn’t. Five seems to be the lucky number for gospel singer Hundley, but life hasn’t exactly been easy for her over the years.

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In 2014, Mandisa seemingly disappeared from view. After losing her friend a year earlier, the singer struggled with her thoughts and her faith. She felt as though God had let her down, and her mental and physical health struggled because of it. After a few years on her own, Mandisa returned to music in 2017 and released an album that delved into the struggles she had been facing.

Syesha Mercado Became a Dreamgirl

What were you doing in 2008? Syesha Mercado took the third-place trophy on season seven of American Idol, but that wasn’t her first foray into the music world. Before her time on the show, Mercado had actually performed on other talent competitions called The One: Making a Music Star and Florida Super Singer. Today, though, her life is pretty different.

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Since her time on the show, Syesha’s career has taken many turns. In 2009 she was offered the chance to become one of the Dreamgirls in the Broadway production of the same name, which accelerated her fame and fortune. But Syesha has slowed down in recent years. Her Instagram page is now associated with meditation, crystals, mindfulness, and more, and she seems to be enjoying a new, spiritual life.

Haley Reinhart Was Arrested

Haley Reinhart is the ultimate good girl gone bad. At least she was for a little while, anyway. After coming in third in season ten of American Idol, her fans expected great things from her – and she hasn’t let them down. Over the years, she has released her own music and even collaborated with artists such as Postmodern Jukebox and Jeff Goldblum, but she hasn’t always been at the top of her game.

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In 2018, Reinhart found herself in a jail cell after she was arrested for battery. She had physically assaulted a bouncer, and she ultimately pleaded guilty to the charges. Instead of staying behind bars, Haley had to pay a $500 fine plus another $139 to cover court costs. She also had to agree to a two-year probation period and adhere to the rules of her probation. Since then, she’s stayed out of trouble.

Daniel Noriega Became a Hugely Popular Drag Star

Daniel Noriega made his mark on the seventh season of American Idol, and while there’s no doubt about the fact that he’s become a hugely successful singer since then – he’s now famous for something else. That’s because, after his stint on the show, he rose through the ranks of another popular television competition. Yep, we’re talking about RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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The drag queen appeared on season six of the show, and it wasn’t long before “Adore Delano” had become one of the most popular drag acts on our screens. After placing in the final three, he later went on to appear in Drag Race All-Stars. Although he chose to leave of his own accord, Daniel/Adore still has a huge following on social media and within the drag scene.

DeAndre Brackensick Moved Down Under

With his curly locks and his R&B voice, there’s no doubt about the fact that DeAndre Brackensick made a mark on season 11 of American Idol. And while many people assumed that he would snake his way up the charts after his success on the show, it seems as though life has been a little quiet for him recently.

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After riding on the coat-tails of his American Idol fame and popularity, DeAndre toured across the country and the world with his fellow contestants. While touring, he fell in love with Australia and ultimately decided to move there. He’s now residing in Melbourne, where he is still releasing music and performing as a solo singer.

Tamyra Gray Has Become a Broadway Superstar

If you cast your mind back to season one of American Idol, you may remember that Tamyra Gray came this close to the top three. While she managed to scoop fourth place in the end, she has also managed to maintain her fame and enhance her singing career over the years. This has been as a solo artist, but also as a Broadway superstar.

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As well as appearing in Bombay Dreams and Rent on Broadway, Tamyra most recently took on the role of Papa Ge in Once on This Island. It seems as though she also loves to spend her time with her family when she’s not working, with her Instagram profile full of family photos and vacation snaps.

Kimberley Locke Has Become a Television Host

Can you believe that 2003 was 18 years ago? It seems as though it was only yesterday when Kimberly Locke was on our screens, singing her heart out for first place in the American Idol finale. In the end, she managed to bag herself third place – and while she’s not primarily known for her singing now, she’s super famous.

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After showcasing her talent on the show, Kimberly’s impressive presence made its impact, but it seems as though her physique also made its mark. Unhappy with her weight, Locke appeared in the 2007 production of Celebrity Fit Club. And since losing a huge amount of weight, she has built a health and fitness brand for herself, including a talk show she co-hosts called Dr. and the Diva.

John Stevens Became a Member of a Swing Orchestra

Remember when “Teen Martin” took to the American Idol stage? John Stevens was only 16 years old when he appeared on season three of the show, but his crooner vocal style certainly made him seem older than he was. While some people loved this young Frank Sinatra, he often struggled amongst his contemporary competitors. That didn’t stop him coming in sixth, though.

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Thankfully, John didn’t give up on his dreams of being a full-time singer when the season ended. He put all of his efforts into his solo work, but it soon became clear that he suited being part of a band. So, he joined the Beantown Swing Orchestra in Boston, and he still stands tall today as their lead singer. How cool is that?

Camile Velasco Performs Under a New Stage Name

When Camile Velasco made her way to the American Idol stage, she made no secret of the fact that she had dreams of stardom. She was stuck working at an IHOP in Hawaii, but she wanted more from her life. Thankfully, she managed to bag herself a golden ticket and finish in ninth place in season three. It probably wasn’t where she wanted to finish, but she still did well.

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In fact, she’s now become more successful than other contestants who came closer to the top spot, and she’s still making music today. But you won’t find her music under the name of Camile Velasco. This Filipino singer now releases and performs her music under her stage name of Eli-Mac. She’s definitely undergone quite the transformation.

Mikalah Gordon Bagged Herself a Nightclub Residency

When you think about it, Mikalah Gordon didn’t exactly reach for the stars when she appeared on season four of American Idol. Sure, she proved to the world that she had exceptional talent, but she was also the second finalist to be eliminated. Because of this, it seems as though Mikalah has now made it her mission to make her name known across the world.

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Not only has she built up an incredible fan following on Instagram thanks to her beauty and her style, but she’s also continued to work as a singer. After her stint on American Idol, she bagged a few gigs here and there, but she has truly proved her worth in a Las Vegas nightclub residency in recent years.

Lisa Tucker Became A Television Star

What you might not realize about Lisa Tucker is the fact that her first stint of the limelight didn’t come at 16 when she auditioned for American Idol. Six years earlier, she had managed to score herself the role of “Young Nala” in the Broadway adaptation of The Lion King. However, it’s fair to say that her stint on the singing competition put her in front of a crowd like never before.

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Since coming in 10th on season five, Lisa has kept herself pretty busy. Her place within the American Idol tour helped showcase her talent, and it wasn’t long before casting agents were looking at her acting potential. Over the years, she has worked on shows such as Zoey 101, Pretty Little Liars, 90210, and The O.C.

Ramiele Malubay Became a Nurse

American Idol can push contestants into a life that revolves around singing and performing, but it can also push them away from that – and it seems as though that was the case with Ramiele Malubay. While Ramiele sometimes shows off her singing talent on Instagram, she’s now found herself in a whole new profession.

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Yes, her social media profile states that she is a “Wife|Singer|Nurse|DogMama,” so we can only assume that she has found herself a full-time job outside of the world of song. But that doesn’t mean that fans of the show have forgotten about her. She has almost 5,000 followers, many of whom remember her American Idol days.

Brooke White is Now One-Half of an Indie-Pop Duo

When Brooke White made her way onto the American Idol stage back in 2008, it was clear to see that she was an incredibly strong solo singer. She was able to stake her claim on the stage, and her folk style won over her fans at home. In the end, she managed to finish in seventh place overall. But she’s certainly made up for that since.

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After the show came to an end, Brooke continued her solo career. Her first single made its way to number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100, and she got her name out there as someone to watch. However, it seems as though she is now much more comfortable as a duo. She is one-half of Jack and White, and she’s even cooler now than she was before.

Ryan Starr Became a Lifestyle Blogger

American Idol has certainly come a long way since season one, and it’s no secret that Ryan Starr has also followed suit. Although she only placed seventh in the show, Ryan has been able to continue her fame and improve her popularity even more – but not necessarily in the music world.

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Over the years, Ryan’s larger-than-life personality and her beauty have worked in her favor. After living across the globe in places like Bali, Paris, and Los Angeles as a musician, producer, and model, she has built up an impressive following. Today, she focuses most of her attention on being a lifestyle blogger and Instagram influencer.

Corey Clark Has Been Arrested Multiple Times

Well, Corey Clark definitely made his mark on season two of American Idol. But it wasn’t for a good reason. In fact, this singer was disqualified from the show after it was suggested that he was in a rather intimate relationship with his judge, Paula Abdul. Unfortunately, it seems as though life hasn’t gotten any better for Clark since then, either.

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While Corey has tried to make a go of his singing career, his legal issues always come back to bite him. He has been arrested numerous times over the years for bad checks, battery charges, violating court orders, and more. He seems to have now disappeared from the limelight, and it’s not known exactly what he’s up to now.

Kimberly Caldwell Married a Professional Soccer Star

Season two of American Idol brought us some talented singers, and Kimberly Caldwell was one of them. She made her way to the finals and won over the crowds, and while she didn’t win the show, she has continued her reign within the world of fame and fortune. Yes, life has been good to Kimberly.

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As well as marrying professional soccer star Jordan Harvey, Kimberly has also turned her hand to acting and television hosting. She has worked on the likes of P.Diddy’s Starmaker and Best Ink, and she has become somewhat of a household name. During that time, she has also continued to record and release her own music.

Didi Benami Became a Singing Teacher

Remember the contestants on season nine? Well, Didi Benami was one of them, and this singer-songwriter ultimately managed to sing her socks off to take tenth place. However, this was a huge achievement for the singer and one that she is still incredibly proud of today. This exposure also gave her the chance to write her debut album, Reverie.

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After the show, Didi was also given a chance to tour the country, singing National Anthems and hosting her own shows. While life is now a bit quieter than it was a few years ago, that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her dream. Didi now offers singing lessons to budding musicians who want to follow in her footsteps and appear on American Idol.

Scott MacIntyre Became a Motivational Speaker

American Idol has seen some incredible humans walk onto the stage, but there was something even more inspiring about Scott MacIntyre when he appeared on season eight. This singer showcased his voice and his piano skills on the show, making him all the more impressive because he is visually impaired.

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Despite the fact that Scott only has a 2% field of vision, that didn’t stop him from reaching eighth place or even continuing his musical career. He has released numerous pop and classical albums, and he’s even become an inspirational speaker in the process. However, it seems as though his biggest achievement to date is his wife and children.

Allison Iraheta Is a Member of a Three-Piece Band

What you might not know about Allison Iraheta is that this season eight alum actually appeared on another TV talent show before American Idol. In fact, she won the Quinceañera: Mamá Quiero Ser Artista competition – which thrust her into the limelight, but not as much as she would have hoped. So, she decided that fourth place on American Idol would do as well.

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Since the show, Allison has made sure that music has always been at the forefront of her career. While she has performed and released music as a solo artist, she has also joined forces with other musicians to form numerous bands. Most recently, she formed a three-piece band that goes by the name of Fuhm.

Danny Gokey Was Nominated For a Grammy Award

Singers of faith always seem to do well on American Idol, and this was no different when Danny Gokey made his way to the audition room in season eight of the show. Ultimately he placed third, and his Christian roots and dulcet tones left him with thousands of adoring fans who wanted them to perform live for him.

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Thanks to this fame and fortune, Danny has been able to continue his career as a performer. His Christian sound bagged him numerous record deals, and he has released his own music in the process. Not only did he receive a Grammy Award nomination for his album, but he’s also been able to tour the country with various tours, including Natalie Grant’s Burn Bright tour and The Bible Tour 2015.

Pia Toscano Appeared In a Netflix Smash Hit

Thanks to her winning smile and her beautiful voice, Pia had the chance to blow us all away when she received her golden ticket and made her way to Hollywood in season 10 of American Idol. Although she only finished in ninth place, it’s fair to say that this exposure has kept her pretty busy over the years.

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As well as becoming somewhat of an Instagram superstar, Pia has also continued her music career. As well as touring with Andrea Bocelli in 2018, this leading lady was also given the chance to put her name to a Netflix smash hit. Yes, she became a cast member in the 2018 musical show, Westside.

Bo Bice Became an Actor and Recorded the Title Song of a Movie

With his luscious long hair and charming smile, there was no doubt about the fact that Bo Bice stood out from the rest of the season four crowd. He became a fan favorite among American Idol watchers, and this eventually brought him all the way to second place. However, coming second to Carrie Underwood meant that he was largely overshadowed.

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But that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t done anything with his life since his days on the show. Bo has continued to tour the country as a solo artist, and he even joined a band until he decided to leave in 2018. In 2019, he was given an amazing opportunity when he was offered the chance to not only star in the movie Invisible but also write and record the title song for it.

Nadia Turner Became a Nature Photographer

After making her mark as a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins during the mid-1990s, Nadia decided to pursue her true passion; singing. It took her a while, but she eventually made her way in front of the American Idol cameras during season four, and she managed to walk away with eighth place under her belt. Since then, she’s added more strings to her bow.

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As well as continuing her music career and merging her way into the acting world, Nadia has also learned a new hobby. In her free time, she loves to surround herself with nature and venture out into the great outdoors. Before too long she was taking photos and learning more about photography as a whole. Today, she has her very own nature photography page on Instagram.

Paris Bennett Landed a Leading Role on Broadway

If you cast your mind back to season six of American Idol, you might remember the bubbly personality and the soulful voice of Paris Bennet. It seemed as though five was Paris’ number back in the day, as she landed fifth position in the reality singing show – and we have a feeling that she was probably pretty proud of that.

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But it’s fair to say that she has a lot more to be proud of, as Bennett has continued to thrive in her career ever since. Not only has she recorded a few albums under her own name, but she even managed to bag herself a leading role on Broadway. In fact, she starred as Dorothy in The Wiz!

Skylar Laine Retreated From the Limelight

While there are many American Idol contestants who thrive in front of the limelight and dream of only getting bigger and better as the years go by, there are others who tend to retreat. Skylar Laine has been one of those contestants, which is a shame for all of the fans who voted for her on season 11 of the show.

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Although Skylar has released music every now and then, she now seems to be spending more time on her family and her faith. As a large name within the Church of Latter-Day Saints, she regularly helps out with the local community and sings as part of her outreach programs. Plus, she has a few children who definitely keep her busy.

Siobhan Magnus Became a Fisherwoman

If you cast your mind back to season nine of American Idol, you might remember a fiery youngster by the name of Siobhan Magnus. This singer-songwriter had a rockstar tone to her voice, and those voting from home loved her alternative style. Since coming in sixth place, not much has changed for her.

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Siobhan still has a love for music and all things alternative today – and judging by her Instagram page, she also loves cats! Although Siobhan released her own solo music a few years ago, we haven’t heard much of her since her last release in 2016. Now, it seems as though she’s spending her days reading, bowling, and, apparently, a lot of fishing.

Dalton Rapattoni Became a Teacher

Remember this guy and his frosted tips? Dalton Rapattoni appeared on season 15 of American Idol, and his rockstar appearance and voice definitely worked in his favor. Those at home loved him, and he was able to walk away in third place. Many people assumed that big things would be on the horizon for Dalton, but it seems as though that hasn’t been the case.

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While he tried to make a go of his music career, he just couldn’t seem to maintain his American Idol momentum when he got home. And as we all know, if you can’t do then you can always teach – and that’s exactly what he’s done. For the past few years, Dalton has worked as a teacher at the School of Rock in Dallas and Rockwell.

Elise Testone Is Still Performing Today

Season 11 of American Idol saw some strong contenders make their way to the stage, and Elise Testone was certainly one of them. Despite the strong competition, she managed to walk away in sixth place and with a newfound love and admiration for the music world. It’s no wonder she’s still going strong today.

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While she’s certainly more of an indie singer-songwriter now, that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have a huge fan base who love to watch her performances. She’s constantly releasing new music and attending new venues, and from the looks of her Instagram page, she’s just generally living her best life. You can’t go wrong with that, right?

Chris Daughtry Collaborated With Huge Artists

Season five of American Idol was pretty great, right? Taylor Hicks won the competition, it had the best ratings of any other season, and Chris Daughtry made it onto our screens. While this rock singer only managed to bag himself fourth place, he’s actually become the third most successful American Idol alum when it comes to record sales.

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His solo career and his smash-hit debut album have had something to do with that, but it’s his band that’s also helped him thrive in the music industry. Yep, not long after his American Idol experience, Chris formed Daughtry. This band has since released five albums, and they’re now extremely well-known across the globe. In 2019, Chris appeared on another singing show called Masked Singer, coming in second place.