Being on a show like ABC’s “American Idol” doesn’t guarantee a rise to fame or a successful career in the music industry. The show has, however, provided a launchpad for artists who want to have a career in music, even if they did not come away winning the show.
During season 19 of the show, some fans were upset when their favorite contestants Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence were beaten out by Chayce Beckham in the finale. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be successful in the music industry, however.
Read on to learn more about the contestants who didn’t win on “American Idol” but went on to be successful anyway.
Jennifer Hudson Finished in 7th Place
Jennifer Hudson was a contestant on season three of “American Idol,” and she didn’t even make it into the finale. The power vocalist finished in 7th place overall that season. Fantasia Barrino won the season.
Two years later, Hudson starred in Dreamgirls, and she won an Oscar for her role as a supporting actress in the movie. She released her self-titled album in 2008, which sold over one million copies worldwide and won Hudson her first Grammy Award.
In 2020, Hudson was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.
Constantine Maroulis: Season Three Sixth-Place Finisher
Constantine Maroulis finished in 6th place on season four of “American Idol,” which was eventually won by Carrie Underwood.
He later went on to receive a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his role in “Rock of Ages” and also starred in “Jekyll and Hyde” on Broadway.
Lauren Alaina was the runner-up on season 10 of Fox’s “American Idol.” Since then, she has been working in the music industry and making waves. Her second album, which was released in 2017, included her first song to reach number 1 on the country charts. Then, she released a song with country star Kane Brown that also reached number 1, according to Billboard.
Alaina was a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” where she came in fourth place. Currently, Alaina is set to go on tour with Florida Georgia Line in 2021.
Haley Reinhart: Third Place on Season 10
Haley Reinhart is another “American Idol” contestant who didn’t win but later made it in the industry. She was on the tenth season of the show, and she came in third place.
Reinhart’s debut album, “Listen Up!” came out in 2012 and got positive reviews. Then, the star became the first “American Idol” contestant to perform at Lollapalooza. Reinhart made her big-screen debut in 2020 in Netflix’s We Can Be Heroes, a superhero film that served as a follow-up to The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl. Reinhart played a character named Ms. Vox who had a sonar scream as her super power.
Tori Kelly: Hollywood Week, “American Idol” Season 9
Tori Kelly may be the contestant who finished in the lowest space on the show to make it big after her appearance. She released her EP in 2012, two years after her “American Idol” journey, and she has since released four studio albums.
The second received two Grammy Awards: one for Best Gospel Album and one for the Best Gospel Performance/Song. She was also nominated for Best New Artist at the 58th Grammy Awards.
Kellie Pickler: Sixth Place, Season 5
Kellie Pickler is another female country artist to ride out the “American Idol” train to find fame. After her time on the show, she signed a record deal and released her first album, which sold 900,000 copies.
She went on to win the sixteenth season of “Dancing With the Stars” and was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.
Chris Daughtry: Fourth Place, Season 5
Chris Daughtry may be one of the best-known people to come out of “American Idol.” The singer finished above Picker in season five.
Now, Daughtry is the lead vocalist and guitarist for Daughtry. The band has released three albums since then, according to Bustle. He has also starred in musicals and has expressed interest in venturing into Broadway.
Adam Lambert: Runner-Up, Season 8
Adam Lambert did not win “American Idol,” but he’s sold over 3 million albums worldwide since he began releasing music, according to Billboard.
Recently, Lambert headlined the Pride celebration at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, according to People.