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Where are the past winners of “American Idol” now?


One of the most famous and long-running singing competition series will soon come to an end – “American Idol” is said to have its final season (Season 15) in 2016.

The decision was announced by FOX on Monday where host Ryan Seacrest – who is the only one that has been with the series since its debut in 2002 – along with Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban, will all return as the final season’s judges.

The series which has brought in more than 30 million viewers, have produced numerous award-winning talents including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Jordin Sparks and more.

According to The New York Times, it has been described as one of "the most impactful show in the history of television".

The series had been ranked number one in U.S. television ratings for eight consecutive years (2003-2010) but the popularity of the show had begun to drop following the departure of Simon Cowell – the series’ most famous judge – in 2010.

The decline is also primarily caused by the growing popularity of another rival singing competition series, “The Voice” which first started in 2011.

Despite that, it is a fact that “American Idol” has become one of the most influential TV series in the world which sprouted other similar singing and non-singing competition such as “The Voice”, “The X Factor”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, “Dancing With The Stars” and more.

To commemorate the season finale, let’s take a look back at all the past winners of “American Idol” and where are they now.

1. Kelly Clarkson – Season 1 
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Kelly Clarkson is one of the most successful “American Idol” winners who has gone on and won a total of 62 awards and has been nominated 87 times for various award shows. She mentored the Top 8 on the 14th season of “American Idol” for the "Evening with Kelly Clarkson" week, and is set to perform at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, which will be held on 17 May 2015.

2. Ruben Studdard – Season 2 
(Photo source: billboard.com)

Ruben Studdard is an American R&B, pop and gospel singer who has been awarded and nominated in several award shows including American Music Awards, BET Awards, Billboard Music Awards and Grammy Awards. He released a total of 6 albums with his latest album, “Unconditional Love” released in 2014. Studdard most recently appeared in the 15th season of “The Biggest Loser”.

3. Fantasia Barrino – Season 3 
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Fantasia is an R&B singer-songwriter, actress, and author who have been dubbed as the "Queen of Rock Soul" due to her raspy, gritty and soulful voice. She has been influenced by many soul singers including Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Tina Turner. Fantasia will soon release her fifth studio album by this year.

4. Carrie Underwood – Season 4 
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Carrie Underwood is the most successful singer from “American Idol” with a total of 130 awards won and 186 nominations. She has won 7 Grammy Awards and in 2007, she became only the second country artist to ever win the award in the 56-year history of the Grammy Awards, following LeAnn Rimes. Time has also listed her as one of their 100 most influential people in the world.

5. Taylor Hicks – Season 5 
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After winning “American Idol”, Taylor Hicks was signed to Arista Records where he released his self-titled major label debut album in 2006. Hicks was the first male Idol to be featured on a Grammy winning album when he performed "Friday" on Jimmy Fallon's “Blow Your Pants Off”, which won him the Best Comedy Album in 2013.

6. Jordin Sparks – Season 6 
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Jordin Sparks was the youngest winner in “American Idol” history, she was 17 when she won. Her self-titled debut album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and has sold over two million copies worldwide. Sparks will be releasing her upcoming third studio album titled “Right Here, Right Now” which is scheduled for release in May 2015.

7. David Cook – Season 7 
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Prior to “American Idol”, David Cook released an independent album entitled “Analog Heart”. This was then followed by his post-Idol major-label debut album which has also been certified platinum by the RIAA. Cook is currently working on his untitled fourth studio album. It was announced that Cook had signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music in 2015.

8. Kris Allen – Season 8 
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Kris Allen is most known for his lead single “Live Like We’re Dying” from his self-titled post Idol debut album. He released his second major-label album “Thank You Camellia” in 2012 with the lead single “The Vision of Love”. He worked on his third studio album “Horizons” with award winning producer Charlie Peacock, which was released in August last year.

9. Lee DeWyze – Season 9
(Photo source: billboard.com)

Before joining “American Idol”, Lee DeWyze had a band under his own name. He also released two independent albums called “So I'm Told” in 2007 and “Slumberland” in 2010, under WuLi Records. In 2010, DeWyze won the award for Male Reality/Variety Star at the Teen Choice Awards. His latest album to date is “Frame”, which was released in 2013.

10. Scotty McCreery – Season 10 
(Photo source: billboard.com)
Scott McCreery is an American country music singer who is the youngest male winner of “American Idol” and the second youngest winner overall after season 6's Jordin Sparks, who was also seventeen when she won. McCreery has so far released three studio albums; “Clear as Day”, “Christmas with Scotty McCreery” and “See You Tonight”.

11. Phillip Phillips – Season 11 
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Phillip Phillips is most recognised for his coronation song “Home” which also became the most best-selling of all coronation songs. So far, Philips has only released 2 albums; “The World from the Side of the Moon” and “Behind the Light”. Recently in January 2015, Philips was reported to have filed a lawsuit against his own label 19 Recordings.

12. Candice Glover – Season 12 
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Candice Glover is the first female winner to have won the series since Jordin Sparks in 2007. Her debut album “Music Speaks” was released in February last year. She is the fourth African-American winner in “American Idol” history and the first winner to have auditioned three times before being cast for the live show. Glover was recently featured on Chadd Black's new single, "Love No Fear".

13. Caleb Johnson – Season 13 
(Photo source: billboard.com)

Caleb Johnson used to be in two bands before joining “American Idol”; Rock Bottom and Elijah Hooker. He auditioned for American Idol three times in four years since 2011 and finally won the title in 2014. Johnson debut album “Testify” was released in August 2014 and it is the quickest debut album released by an “American Idol” winner.

The Season 14 of “American Idol” is currently ongoing.

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