Chris Daughtry didn’t have to win “American Idol” for it to catapult him to stardom. The rocker took fourth place in 2006, during the show’s fifth season, which was won by silver-haired crooner Taylor Hicks. But Daughtry has since become one of the most successful contestants in the show’s history.
Currently on tour with his band, Daughtry has given “American Idol” nothing but praise in recent interviews, even as lesser-known contestants have publicly complained about their experiences. For instance, Season 6 runner-up Blake Lewis has said he’s “pissed” by the way he was portrayed on the show and Sanjaya, from the same season, has said he always felt like the butt of a joke. But Daughtry says he only has love for the show.
Daughtry Believes He Wouldn’t Be a Rock Star Without ‘American Idol’
In a July 13 interview, the singer told “The Gazette” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that winning “American Idol” wasn’t necessary for him to go on to succeed.
“Winning that season wasn’t the most important thing,” Daughtry said. “It was about getting a chance to show what I could do. I owe so much to ‘American Idol.’ I’ll never have a bad thing to say about that show.”
Daughtry told the newspaper that the exposure he received and experiences he had on the show, along with his own hard work, gave him a leg up in the music industry.
“If it weren’t for ‘American Idol,’ I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said. “I might be playing a club somewhere. Who knows if I would ever be in the place I am now? I work hard to be the best musician I can be.”
Rocker Got Eliminated From ‘Idol’ During His Favorite Week on the Show
In June 2022, Daughtry sat down with fellow “Idol” alum Kelly Clarkson on “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” He recalled that one of his favorite experiences on “Idol” happened the same week he was voted off the competition: meeting Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley at Graceland and performing an Elvis tune on the show.
“We went to Graceland,” he told Clarkson. “That was the week I got voted off doing Elvis! It was the week I was most proud of. I did ‘Suspicious Minds’ and I’m like ‘I’ve got this jam!’ I got to meet Priscilla and Lisa Marie. It was an incredible experience.”
But Daughtry’s elimination from the show didn’t hold the rocker back from success. He signed with RCA Records and, according to Reuters, his debut album — “Daughtry” — became the fastest-selling rock debut in Nielsen SoundScan history and was the top-selling album by an artist in 2007. By 2008, he was on the road for his first major tour, opening for Bon Jovi.
Now he’s touring and promoting his first independent album, Dearly Beloved, created under his own music label. And, despite enduring personal tragedies including the deaths of his mother and step-daughter in 2021, he remains grateful.
“Life isn’t easy,” he told “The Gazette.” “You just have to do the best you can and have faith.”
He feels fortunate, he told the paper, that he gets to keep doing what he loves with people he admires.
“I’ve had so many great experiences working with a number of my heroes. I can’t help but look back at all of that and smile at what I’ve accomplished,” he said. “I continue to be inspired. I’m incredibly fortunate.”