The Biggest Upsets in ‘American Idol’ History, According to Fans

American Idol upsets

Getty Pictured (L-R) Gabby Barrett, Adam Lambert, Maddie Poppe

With nearly 20 seasons under its belt, the hit reality singing competition “American Idol” is sure to have a number of runner-ups and finalists who didn’t win that fans believed were robbed.

On a Reddit thread created by user u/Alarmed-Landscape-91, fans shared what they believed was the biggest upset in “American Idol” history. The poster shared that they believed Adam Lambert’s season featured the biggest upset.

Lambert was the runner-up on season 8 of then-Fox’s “American Idol.” The singer lost to Kris Allen, who explained that he thought that Lambert was deserving of winning, according to Rolling Stone.

One person commented on the post to say they were also upset that Lambert lost, but it was actually a good thing.

“IMO Adam Lambert is one of the biggest w’s of the entire show,” they wrote. “if he had won, he would’ve been into a contract that was not great and tied down.” They also referenced that Lambert now gets to sing for Queen, which is a very famous band.

Read on to learn about other singers who fans think were the subject of the biggest upsets in “American Idol” history.


Some Fans Were Shocked When Chris Daughtry Was Eliminated

Chris Daughtry, who is now a successful singer and songwriter in his band Daughtry, was a contestant on season 5 of “American Idol,” and he placed fourth that season. Some fans believe that Daughtry’s elimination is the biggest upset in “Idol” history.

“Daughtry being eliminated when he did was the biggest shock to me,” one person commented. “I thought he would win.”

Another wrote, “I couldn’t believe when Daughtry was eliminated. I thought him and Katherine [McPhee] were the most talented that season and should have been top 2.”


Just Sam Winning Over Arthur Gunn Was an Upset for Some Fans

When it comes to ABC’s version of “American Idol,” which has only been around for four seasons, fans referenced Samantha ‘Just Sam’ Diaz winning season 3 over Arthur Gunn as an upset, saying that they didn’t see it coming.

“Arthur should have beat Just Sam for sure,” one person commented. “I think her best performance was singing Selena in Hawaii. She shouldn’t have made it as far as she did and definitely shouldn’t have won. If they didn’t sell her sob story, I don’t think she would have gotten that far at all.”

Gunn received another chance in the following season due to a controversial decision to allow some of the top performers from the previous season to return and sing for their chance to win again. He later backed out of performing at the “American Idol” season finale after he was voted off the show. The story of his skipping the performance was bizarre, as Heavy reported at the time.


Maddie Poppe Versus Gabby Barrett: Season 16

In the post, some fans also argued about whether Maddie Poppe or Gabby Barrett should have been crowned the winner of their season. Poppe pulled off the win, but Barrett is now a country superstar with multiple number one hits on the charts. The women competed on season 16 of “American Idol,” which aired in 2017.

Many people said that Poppe is a better singer but lacks the same type of promotion that Barrett receives on her singles and albums.

“Maddie outperformed everyone and she got the most votes every week. I don’t think it was an upset,” one fan wrote.

READ NEXT: Former ‘American Idol’ Contestant Calls the Show ‘A Mess’ and ‘Unhealthy’


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