Goodbye, American Idol! Here's a reminder of the artists it discovered

Published Thursday, May 14 2015, 15:42 BST  |  By  |  Add comment
So American Idol is to end next year after 16 years on air. Why should we care, you ask. It's a US show for a US audience. How does it us impact on us whether it airs or not?

Well, it matters because Idol is responsible for unearthing and promoting some major talent – and we're not just talking about the winners. Between them, they clocked up bazillions of sales, Grammy Awards and even an Oscar!

So, in memory of its cancellation – here's our picks of the biggest names it discovered during 15 series on air. It wraps with its 16th series next year.

Kelly Clarkson

'American Idol''s Kelly Clarkson (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

© Gregg DeGuire/WireImage


Kelly Clarkson seen arriving at capital fm this morning - 19/2/2015.



The first-ever winner of Amercian Idol was crowned in 2002 and for many, she's still the best-ever winner*. Kelly's debut single 'A Moment Like This' – yep, the same one used by X Factor's Leona Lewis in 2006! – was the biggest selling single of the year in the US and broke records for the fastest jump up the US music charts in history.

And that was just the start!

Fast-forward to present day and Kelly's a Grammy Award-winning, internationally successful artist with MILLIONS of sales under her belt. She's also belted out some of the catchiest Girl Power tunes since the Spice Girls including 'Miss Indepent', 'Since U Been Gone' and 'Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You). Her seventh album, Piece By Piece, featuring the track 'Heartbeat Song' was released this year.

(*Let's just forget that movie Kelly & Justin, right?

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson competes on stage during a taping of 'American Idol' Season 3 (Photo by Ray Mickshaw/WireImage)

© Ray Mickshaw/WireImage


Jennifer Hudson poses for photos on the red carpet during 'We Day' at the Allstate Arena on April 30, 2015 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

© Raymond Boyd/Getty Images


A prime example that not winning does not meaning a life of obscurity. It's hard to believe that the insanely talented Jennifer Hudson only came SEVENTH on the third series. SEVENTH! Now she's an Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Grammy Award-winning superstar. She even has a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame!

She first won us over with her INCREDIBLE performance of 'And I Am Not Telling You I'm Going' on Idol, but it was after she left the show that her career really skyrocketed. She nailed her performance in 2006 movie Dreamgirls opposite Beyonce and while Bey was the big name on the ticket, it was Jen who scooped up at every single awards show going.

Jen's since starred in Sex and the City - as Carrie's assistant Louise from St. Louis! – and movies including The Secret Life of Bees and Winnie Mandela. If you take a look at her Wikipedia page, it's basically ALL just honours, awards and nominations!

Oh, she's also friends with President Obama!

Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks arrives to American Idol's Annual Top 12 party held at the Astra West/Pacific Design Center on March 8, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

© Michael Buckner/Getty Images


Jordin Sparks attends HealthCorp's 9th Annual Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on April 29, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

© Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images


Jordin was crowned Idol champ in 2007 after winning the sixth series of the show – although she actually failed her initial audition! She tried out in LA but didn't make it through to the next round, but a later audition in Seattle was successful. And thank goodness! Where would we be without pop anthem 'Battlefield'?!

Her first-single was 'Tattoo', which sold more than two million copies in the US. She went on to duet with Chris Brown in the fabulous 'No Air' before really making an impact with the incredible album Battlefield featuring that insanely catchy lead single of the same name.

She's a Grammy-nominated performer currently working on her third album Right Here, Right Now and has dabbled in acting with roles in the likes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Sparkle. She also enjoyed a romance with Jason Derulo.

Adam Lambert

American Idol contestant Adam Lambert arrives at the American Idol Top 13 Party held at AREA on March 5, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

© Kevin Winter/Getty Images


Singer Adam Lambert at the 102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango concert at StubHub Center on May 9, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

© Gregg DeGuire/WireImage


Right from the One Direction school of not winning but still achieving mega success! Vocal powerhouse Adam was runner-up to Kris Allen in 2009 (we know, poor Kris, we haven't heard anything from him lately either…) After showcasing his AMAZING voice on Idol, it's no wonder Adam was snapped up for a record deal.

His first album For Your Entertainment contained mega tracks including 'Whataya Want From Me' and the title track, which caused a fair bit of controversy in the US thanks to the choreography when he performed it at the American Music Awards… but, hey, if everybody didn't know his name before, they certainly did afterwards!

These days he's enjoying mega, MEGA fame thanks to his role in Queen. Yes, Queen the band! He's stepped into the big shoes vacated by the late Freddie Mercury and is totally killin' it on stage. The coupling of Queen + Adam Lambert in 2012 was so successful, they ended up touring together and Brian May has been nothing but hugely flattering about his young protégé.

Now, Adam's working on his third studio album The Original High, which features lead track 'Ghost Town'. Ps. If you haven't checked out his second album Trespassing, do it! It's amazing!

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage for Fox Television Network)

© Gregg DeGuire/WireImage for Fox Television Network


Carrie Underwood onstage during the 48th annual CMA awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

© Rick Diamond/Getty Images


The totally amazing Ms Underwood blew audiences away in series four and was crowned the winner. Ten years later and she is a bona fide megastar and queen of the country world. She's won SEVEN Grammy Awards and a whole slew of other major trophies including a whopping 16 Billboard Awards. She's also been Golden Globe-nominated.

She's earned more dosh than any other Idol star with recent estimates putting her fortune at more than $100 million. Wow! And even if she's more known in the US, you'll definitely recognise some of her tunes: 'Cowboy Casanova', 'Before He Cheats', 'Good Girl', 'Jesus Take The Wheel', 'Blown Away'… if you haven't heard them, get downloading NOW!

Carrie's sold more than 60 million records worldwide and holds the Guinness record for most country number ones ever in the US. 14, FYI. According to reports, in 2013 she made more money than any of the actual Idol judges at the time (including Mariah and Nicki!) She's also now crossed into acting, appearing in Soul Surfer and How I Met Your Mother, as well as a US TV live showing of The Sounmd of Music where she played Maria.

Beautiful AND talented: yep she has both!

Honourable mentions


Fifth series finalist Chris, who decided to pursue life as a group musician rather than solo artist, formed the American rock band. And good thing he did! Daughtry's debut album broke records as the fastest selling debut rock album and sold more than four million copies. You must know their smash hit 'It's Not Over'.

Katharine McPhee

Singer/actress Katharine was the runner-up on Daughtry's fifth series and, like many runner-ups, also landed herself a record deal. Her debut album hit number two in the US but she also dabbled in acting making a name for herself in US comedy series Glee.

Amber Riley

Actress Amber auditioned for the second series of Idol when she was 17 – but didn't make it through to the live shows. Whaaaaat? Well, that didn't stop her! Now we all know her as the fabulous Mercedes Jones on Glee. She also appeared in the US version of Strictly Come Dancing.

2013 Teen Choice Awards_Pressroom, At the Gibson Amphitheater, Universal City - Amber Riley

© WENN / FayesVision

Tori Kelly

This YouTube sensation already had fans before she appeared on series nine of Idol. She didn't actually make it to the live shows, being eliminated just before they began. Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun spotted the potential, however, and snapped her up. Now she's working on her debut album and collaborating with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Pharrell Williams!

Goodbye, Idol, we will miss you!

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