American Idol: What Have the Early Winners Done Since Taking the Crown?

American Idol has long taken America (and much of the world) by storm since 2001. With Phillip Phillips having won the eleventh season, it is easy for some people to forget about the earlier winners. However, here is a brief look at the early winners of American Idol and what they have done since:

Season 1: Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson (born April 24th, 1982) won the first season of American Idol by defeating Justin Guarini with 58% of 15.5 million votes. Since claiming the title, she has released a number of albums, including:

• Thankful (2003)
• Breakaway (2004)
• My December (2007)
• All I Ever Wanted (2009)
• Stronger (2011)

Clarkson has also made a number of television appearances on such shows as:

• American Dreams (2003 - 2004)
• Damage Control (2005)
• Reba (2007)
• X Factor (2009)
• The Voice (2012)

Season 2: Ruben Studdard

Ruben Studdard (born September 12th, 1978) was the winner of the second season. He defeated Clay Aiken with 50.6% of 24 million votes. Since the show, he has released five albums that include:

• Soulful (2003)
• I Need an Angel (2004)
• Love Is (2009)
• The Return (2009)
• Letters from Birmingham (2012)

Studdard has also appeared in such films as:

• Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)
• Natural Born Komics (2006)
• Lifted (2011)
• The Perfect Girl (2011)

Season 3: Fantasia Barrino

Fantasia Barrino (born June 20th, 1984) defeated Diana DeGarmo with 51.2% of 65 million votes. Following her win, she has released three albums, including:

• Free Yourself (2004)
• Fantasia (2006)
• Back to Me (2010)

Barrino has also appeared in a number of television series, including:

• The Simpsons (2005)
• An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Patti LaBelle (2009)
• Soul Train Awards (2009)
• Wrestlemania 26 (2010)

Season 4: Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood (born March 10th, 1983) won the fourth season of American Idol after defeating Bo Bice with 53.4% of 63 million votes. Since winning, she has been very successful in her career. She has won a number of awards and released four albums, including:

• Some Hearts (2005)
• Carnival Ride (2007)
• Play On (2009)
• Blown Away (2012)

Underwood has also made multiple appearances on television, including:

• Saturday Night Live (2007)
• How I Met Your Mother (2010)
• Blue Bloods (2011)
• Behind the Music (2012)

Season 5: Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks (born October 7th, 1976) was the fifth winner after beating Katherine McPhee with 56% of 63.4 million votes. He has released three albums, including:

• Taylor Hicks (2006)
• Early Works (2008)
• The Distance (2009)

With American Idol auditions underway for the twelve season, it will soon be time to add yet another name to the famous list. However, no matter how long the show continues, the early winners of the show will always hold a special place in the hearts of millions.

Jackie Wither is an independant entertainment journalist. Her favorite shows include American Idol, Grey's Anatomy and House.


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