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American Idol: 2002-2011 History of Winners

Posted by on December 28, 2010 at 7:51 PM EST

american idolAmerican Idol history of winners from 2002-2010 to prepare for the upcoming 2011 season premiere.

With the new season of American Idol just around the corner I wanted to go back and revisit the past winners of the show and see what they are up to these days. Some we know because they are huge stars, but others, we might have forgotten about. Let’s take a little walk down “American Idol” memory lane.

Season 1 – The show debuts and did really well, probably better than anyone expected. Kelly Clarkson wins what was a pretty close vote and rockets to stardom. Her debut album sells around 250,000 copies in the first week of release and she goes on to have numerous hits and sells more than 23 million albums worldwide.

Season 2 – The show really hit its stride. Co-host Brian Dunkleman left the show and is now officially American Idol’s Pete Best. The rating are through the roof as we see Ruben Studdard barely beat Clay Aiken. More than 24 million votes were cast and Studdard won by a margin of 134,000. While Studdard won the show, he was never able to eclipse the success of runner-up Clay Aiken. Studdard’s first album sold well, but he dropped off fast after that. Most recently he and Aiken performed a variety style concert show. He also has lost some weight and is working on building an acting career.

Season 3 – This season is known as the William Hung season. Hung was one of the “bad” singers featured during the beginning of the show. His horrid rendition of “She Bangs” became a viral hit and landed Hung a record deal. Fantasia Barrino won this season and while she had some initial success on the charts she has mostly found work on Broadway. Her success is pale in comparison to 7th place finisher Jennifer Hudson who went on to win a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls.

Season 4 – This was the season of Carrie Underwood and arguably the last season any winner of the show went on to any prominence. Underwood, of course, is a superstar in the country music world and has sold well over 12 million albums in the U.S.

Season 5 – This is American Idol season of that old looking guy. The finals got the most votes of any other season and crowned Taylor Hicks as the winner. His debut album sold around 700,000 copies in the US and his follow-up only sold 52,000. While he has fallen off the radar fellow contestants from that year Chris Daughtry, Katherine McPhee and Kellie Pickler all went on to various levels of success.

Season 6 – The season of Sanjaya. Vote for the Worst and Howard Stern as well as many other people got in on the fun to vote for Sanjaya, a terrible singer, and it kept him around week after week while other better singers got voted off. It was the first time American Idol was shown to be susceptible to outside manipulation. Eventually Sanjaya got voted out and Jordin Sparks won. Sparks debut album went platinum, but her second record flopped and she has mostly focused on her acting/stage career.

Season 7 – The producers, desperate for good contestants, are now letting in people with prior singing experience/recording deals. In a battle of opposites rocker David Cook beats out Glee-like singer David Archuleta. Cook has sold about 1.3 million records in the U.S. About twice that of Archuleta.

Season 8 – American Idol brings on new judge Kara DioGuardi. At the end of this season Paula Abdul left the show. Kris Allen was the winner, but his debut album barely sells 300,000 copies. Adam Lambert, the flamboyant runner-up sells about 775,000.

Season 9 – Ellen DeGeneres joins the show as Paula’s replacement and then both she and Simon Cowell leaves the show at the end of the season. Lee DeWyze is the winner. Both he and runner up Crystal Bowersox recently released their debut albums. Both albums have struggled with neither selling 100,000 copies.

So there you have it, a brief round-up of the past American Idol winners and a few other notables. As this season gets underway with new judges and some new formats it will be interesting to see how the show holds up.



(1) Reader Comment

  1. Gosh, it would be nice if someone could do their homework before writing an article. Taylors Hicks level of success is a good deal better than you think. True, he was badmouthed by the big boys and harm was done, but few are busier. He may be off your radar but he has a good many loyal fans that are willing to travel many miles to see him, more willing I think than most idol fans. He cleared a good 3 and half to 4 mil in Grease. His album sold well for an independent making his own publicity. He did a club tour about 25 dates , raised nearly a million for childrens cancer and at his last sold out show of the year collected nearly 50,000 dollars worth of toys for toys for tots in just a few hours. He was the spokesperson. Worked with Wounded Warriors, Childrens ranch and many many more appearences. He barely took a day off the whole year. He has a kick ass band and puts on an incredible show. You may not be paying attention but he has a good solid career and I believe he is going about it in a way thay will keep him around long after others have disappeared.
    Would be nice if media paid more attention. They do not realize what they are missing.

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