Kelly Clarkson (2002) – Pop-rock singer Kelly Clarkson will go down in history as the first American Idol. Kelly’s single “A Moment Like This” set a record when it went from number 52 to number one in one week on the Billboard singles chart. Her first album, “Thankful,” sold almost 300,000 copies in its first week. It was certified double platinum.
Kelly has won many awards, including Grammy awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album. She did the soundtrack for the movie “Love Actually.” Kelly lived in Burleson, Texas and was 20 years old when she tried out for American Idol. She was working as a cocktail waitress.
Ruben Stoddard (2003) – R&B Singer Ruben Stoddard was known as the Velvet Teddy Bear during season two of American Idol. Ruben’s first album “Soulful” was number one on the Billboard album chart, having sold 400,000 copies. Ruben was nominated for a Grammy for his performance of the song “Superstar.” His gospel album in 2004 sold 96,000 copies to send it to number one on the Gospel charts. Ruben has sold more than 2.4 million albums in the United States.
Ruben is a vegetarian. He was 25 years old when he tried out for American Idol. He hails from Birmingham, Alabama and was a voice major at Alabama A&M University.
Fantasia Barrino (2004) – R&B singer Fantasia Barrino was a struggling single 19-year-old mother when she tried out for American Idol. According to Billboard Magazine, Fantasia is the first new artist in history to debut a single (I Believe) at number one. In 2005, her life story “Life is Not a Fairytale” was published. It revealed Fantasia’s struggles as a single teen mother and high school dropout who was functionally illiterate.
In 2007, Fantasia made her stage debut in the Broadway musical “The Color Purple.” She won the Theater World Award for this debut performance.
Carrie Underwood (2005) – Country singer Carrie Underwood was the first American Idol to release a country album. Her first song “Inside Your Heaven” was the best-selling song in the country with 170,000 copies sold in its first week in the stores. Carrie’s first album which features “Jesus Take The Wheel” and “Some Hearts” has gone five times platinum.
The Country Music Awards (CMA) named her the best female vocalist in 2006, winning out over Faith Hill. She was also selected as one of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People of 2006. Carrie completed her college degree after becoming the American Idol in 2006. She has long been considered the most popular and most successful American Idol winner. She is the first American Idol winner to win all three major music awards in the same awards show season. These included American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and two Grammy awards.
Taylor Hicks (2006) – Soul singer Taylor Hicks’ single “Do I Make You Proud” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. His self-titled album “Taylor Hicks” was number two on The Billboard 200 album chart, selling almost 300,000 copies. The album was certified platinum in 2007. Christ Daughtry who finished fifth in the year that Taylor Hicks became the winner of American Idol outsold Taylor Hicks with his albums. Taylor Hicks was 29 years old when he tried out for American Idol, startling all with his prematurely gray hair. He has a huge following of devoted fans who are known as the Soul Patrol.
Jordin Sparks (2007) – Pop singer Jordin Sparks, at age 17, is the youngest winner in the history of American Idol. At her audition, Simon Cowell criticized her for being too cute but the three judges were impressed with her. Her self-titled debut album has gone platinum, selling over 2 million copies worldwide. Her second single “No Air” is the song with the most paid downloads by any American Idol contestant, selling over 4 million digital copies worldwide. Because of the success of her debut album and its four top 20 singles, she won an American Music Award in 2008 and her first Grammy in 2009.
David Cook (2008) – Rock singer/songwriter David Cook received 56% of the votes in the Finale of American Idol winning out over David Archuleta. After winning, David had eleven songs debut on the Hot 100 that week, beating the previous record set by Miley Cyrus when she had six songs debut on the chart. David’s first single “The Time of My Life” debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100. In the same week, he broke the record for the most debuts on Billboard’s Hot Digital Songs chart, where he placed 14 debut entries. Bon Jovi had previously held the record in 2007 with six entries.
David’s older brother Adam died of brain cancer in 2009. He had been battling the disease since 1998. Though not present, David had canceled several performances to be with Adam to say their goodbyes several weeks earlier.
Kris Allen (2009) – Singer/songwriter Kris Allen from Conway, Arkansas beat out front-runner Adam Lambert in a surprise upset. Kris’ song “No Boundaries” and his version of “Heartless” were both in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 in 2009. His self-titled album debuted at #11 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
Allen is a Christian and served as assistant music director of New Life Church in Arkansas. He has also done missionary work in Burma, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Spain and Thailand.
Kris Allen married his girlfriend of seven years, Katy O’Connell, in 2008. The two began dating in their junior year in high school.
2010 ? – We will learn this result on Wednesday, May 26, 2010. The finalists are Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze.