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Here's What The "American Idol" Winners Looked Like When They Won Vs. What They Look Like Now

Season 1, 2002: Kelly Clarkson

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Kelly sang “At Last” during her audition for the first season of American Idol. Since winning, she has sold over 70 million recordings worldwide and won three Grammy Awards.

Robert Mora / Getty Images, kellyclarkson / instagram.com

Kelly sang “At Last” during her audition for the first season of American Idol. Since winning, she has sold over 70 million recordings worldwide and won three Grammy Awards.

Season 2, 2003: Ruben Studdard

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After winning, Ruben Studdard received a Grammy Award nomination for his recording of “Superstar.” Ruben has released a total of seven studio albums, including Soulful – a platinum-selling debut album – and I Need An Angel, a top-selling gospel follow-up.

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After winning, Ruben Studdard received a Grammy Award nomination for his recording of “Superstar.” Ruben has released a total of seven studio albums, including Soulful – a platinum-selling debut album – and I Need An Angel, a top-selling gospel follow-up.

Season 3, 2004: Fantasia Barrino

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Fantasia won the judges over during her audition by singing “Killing Me Softly.” After winning the show, her debut single called “I Believe” became number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Then, her debut album – Free Yourself – was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, earning her three Grammy nominations in 2006. She has also been in The Color Purple and After Midnight on Broadway.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images, Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

Fantasia won the judges over during her audition by singing “Killing Me Softly.” After winning the show, her debut single called “I Believe” became number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Then, her debut album – Free Yourself – was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, earning her three Grammy nominations in 2006. She has also been in The Color Purple and After Midnight on Broadway.

Season 4, 2005: Carrie Underwood

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During her audition, Carrie revealed she had a third nipple removed. But, nipple aside, her voice clearly wowed people all over the world. According to Forbes, she is the most successful American Idol winner. She has sold more than 65 million records worldwide. She is the only solo country artist in the 2000s to have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, the only country artist to debut at number one on the Hot 100, and the female artist with the most number one hits in the history of the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images, Mike Coppola / Getty Images

During her audition, Carrie revealed she had a third nipple removed. But, nipple aside, her voice clearly wowed people all over the world. According to Forbes, she is the most successful American Idol winner. She has sold more than 65 million records worldwide. She is the only solo country artist in the 2000s to have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, the only country artist to debut at number one on the Hot 100, and the female artist with the most number one hits in the history of the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Season 5, 2006: Taylor Hicks

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Taylor was actually a professional musician before he even auditioned for American Idol. He had performed around the Southeastern United States for a decade and released two independent albums during that time. But, after winning the show, he was signed to Arista Records and released a self-titled major label debut. He has also performed on Broadway and was the first Idol winner to secure a long-term residency at a Las Vegas casino.

Stephen Shugerman / Getty Images, taylorhicksofficial / Instagram: @taylorhicksofficial

Taylor was actually a professional musician before he even auditioned for American Idol. He had performed around the Southeastern United States for a decade and released two independent albums during that time. But, after winning the show, he was signed to Arista Records and released a self-titled major label debut. He has also performed on Broadway and was the first Idol winner to secure a long-term residency at a Las Vegas casino.

Season 6, 2007: Jordin Sparks

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Jordin was only 17 years old when she won American Idol – making her the youngest contestant to ever win the show. She released a self-titled debut studio album after winning and it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Her collaboration with Chris Brown, called “No Air,” is currently the third highest-selling single by any American Idol contestant. The song also earned Jordin her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Michael Buckner / Getty Images, Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images

Jordin was only 17 years old when she won American Idol – making her the youngest contestant to ever win the show. She released a self-titled debut studio album after winning and it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Her collaboration with Chris Brown, called “No Air,” is currently the third highest-selling single by any American Idol contestant. The song also earned Jordin her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Season 7, 2008: David Cook

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After winning, David released a self-titled debut album that was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. David Cook was also cast in Broadway’s Kinky Boots in 2018.

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images, didavidcookofficial / Instagram: @davidcookofficial

After winning, David released a self-titled debut album that was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. David Cook was also cast in Broadway’s Kinky Boots in 2018.

Season 8, 2009: Kris Allen

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Before winning the show, Kris self-released an album called Brand New Shoes. After winning, his song “No Boundaries” and his version of “Heartless” charted within the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Kris also toured with American Idol Live last year.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images, kris_allen / Instagram: @kris_allen

Before winning the show, Kris self-released an album called Brand New Shoes. After winning, his song “No Boundaries” and his version of “Heartless” charted within the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Kris also toured with American Idol Live last year.

Season 9, 2010: Lee DeWyze

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Lee already had a solo career and formed the Lee DeWyze Band before he won the show. His first post-Idol album was called Live It Up and he has released seven albums since then, including his latest, 2018’s Paranoia.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images, leedewyzeofficial / Instagram: @leedewyzeofficial

Lee already had a solo career and formed the Lee DeWyze Band before he won the show. His first post-Idol album was called Live It Up and he has released seven albums since then, including his latest, 2018’s Paranoia.

Season 10, 2011: Scotty McCreery

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Scotty’s debut studio album, Clear as Day, was released after he won the show in 2011 and was certified platinum in the United States. The next year, he released a Christmas album, Christmas with Scotty McCreery, and it went certified gold. The first single from his third album became his first song to reach the top ten on Billboard’s Country charts. In 2017, with his single “Five More Minutes,” Scotty became the only country music artist in Country Aircheck/Mediabase history to chart a song without a record label.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images, Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

Scotty’s debut studio album, Clear as Day, was released after he won the show in 2011 and was certified platinum in the United States. The next year, he released a Christmas album, Christmas with Scotty McCreery, and it went certified gold. The first single from his third album became his first song to reach the top ten on Billboard’s Country charts. In 2017, with his single “Five More Minutes,” Scotty became the only country music artist in Country Aircheck/Mediabase history to chart a song without a record label.

Season 11, 2012: Phillip Phillips

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Phillip’s song titled “Home” became the all-time best selling song from American Idol. He has released three albums since winning the show, and toured regularly, opening for The Goo Goo Dolls in 2017 and co-headlining a tour last year with Gavin DeGraw.

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Phillip’s song titled “Home” became the all-time best selling song from American Idol. He has released three albums since winning the show, and toured regularly, opening for The Goo Goo Dolls in 2017 and co-headlining a tour last year with Gavin DeGraw.

Season 12, 2013: Candice Glover

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Candice was the first Idol winner to have auditioned three times before being cast for the live shows. During her last audition, she sang “Syrup and Honey” and finally won the judges over. She has released one album – Music Speaks – since winning. She was also on a 2017 Christmas show on Broadway called Home for the Holidays.

Matthew Eisman / Getty Images, candiceglover / Instagram: @candiceglover

Candice was the first Idol winner to have auditioned three times before being cast for the live shows. During her last audition, she sang “Syrup and Honey” and finally won the judges over. She has released one album – Music Speaks – since winning. She was also on a 2017 Christmas show on Broadway called Home for the Holidays.

Season 13, 2014: Caleb Johnson

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Caleb’s album, Testify, was recorded three weeks after he won the show in 2014 and it is the quickest an American Idol winner has ever released a debut album. He then went on to create his second album independently.

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Caleb’s album, Testify, was recorded three weeks after he won the show in 2014 and it is the quickest an American Idol winner has ever released a debut album. He then went on to create his second album independently.

Season 14, 2015: Nick Fradiani

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James was in a band called Beach Avenue before he entered American Idol as a solo artist and won in 2015. He released an album, Hurricane, the following year and then released a six-song EP as an indie artist and toured with The Alternate Routes.

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James was in a band called Beach Avenue before he entered American Idol as a solo artist and won in 2015. He released an album, Hurricane, the following year and then released a six-song EP as an indie artist and toured with The Alternate Routes.

Season 15, 2016: Trent Harmon

Paul Morigi, officialtrentharmon / Instagram: @officialtrentharmon

Trent’s winning coronation single “Falling” was written by singer/songwriter and American Idol judge Keith Urban with Dallas Davidson and Brett James. Trent got a car and a recording contract with Big Machine Records for winning the show. He released his debut album, You Got ’Em All, in 2018.

Paul Morigi, officialtrentharmon / Instagram: @officialtrentharmon

Trent’s winning coronation single “Falling” was written by singer/songwriter and American Idol judge Keith Urban with Dallas Davidson and Brett James. Trent got a car and a recording contract with Big Machine Records for winning the show. He released his debut album, You Got ’Em All, in 2018.

Season 16, 2018: Maddie Poppe

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Maddie won the most recent season of American Idol. She is a multi-instrumentalist who plays the guitar, piano, and ukulele. Prior to winning the show, Poppe released an EP titled Songs from the Basement.

Allen Berezovsky / Getty Images, maddiepoppe / Instagram: @maddiepoppe

Maddie won the most recent season of American Idol. She is a multi-instrumentalist who plays the guitar, piano, and ukulele. Prior to winning the show, Poppe released an EP titled Songs from the Basement.



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