Phillip Phillips was voted the winner of the 11th season of “American Idol” and released his first single, “Home,” which debuted at No. 10 on Billboard’s Adult Pop Songs in November 2012. The Georgia-bred singer/songwriter is currently opening for John Mayer on the “Born & Raised” tour this summer.
‘American Idol’ winners: Where are they now?
The “American Idol” production crew was in Foxborough on Aug. 2 looking for the next big thing. While we wait to find out who will be crowned the next “Idol,” take a look at where the past 12 winners of the show and where they have wound up.
Pictured: South Carolina crooner Candice Glover, left, beat out Tennessee’s Kree Harrison, right, and took home the “American Idol” season 12 crown this spring.
The very first “American Idol” has gone on to a respectable pop career since her 2002 win. Her debut, “Thankful,” went double platinum, while her sophomore effort, “Breakaway” (2004), which featured the hit single, “Since U Been Gone,” sold over 12 million albums worldwide. Since then, Kelly has released three albums: “My December,” “All I ever Wanted,” and her latest, “Stronger,” which went platinum in June 2012.
The Alabama-bred “Velvet Teddy Bear” has branched out beyond pop music in the nine years since his “Idol” win. His debut, “Soulful,” debuted at No. 1, but Studdard followed the R&B album with the gospel release “I Need an Angel” in 2004. He has since toured with the stage production “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” and has dropped about 70 pounds from his “Teddy Bear” frame.
The season-three champ kicked off a solid R&B career post-”Idol,” racking up eight Grammy nods and becoming the first artist to have a debut single enter the charts at No.1. She also spent a year on Broadway as Celie in the Oprah-backed musical “The Color Purple,” published a bestselling memoir, and starred in the VH1 reality show “Fantasia For Real.” However, she went through personal struggles that culminated in a 2010 suicide attempt. She appears to have bounced back, giving birth to her second child in 2011. Her newest album, “Side Effects of You,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
The fourth-season victor became the first “Idol” alumna to make an impact in the country world. Her latest song, “Two Black Cadillacs,” marks Carrie’s 17th No. 1 single and her 8th No. 1 hit as a songwriter on the Mediabase country airplay charts. She’s also been nominated for two CMT Awards — Video of The Year for “Blown Away” and Female Video of The Year for “Two Black Cadillacs.” NBC also recently selected Carrie to sing “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night,” the opening theme for Sunday Night Football this September.
Season-five champ scored tons of love on the show, and his 2006 self-titled major release debuted at No. 2 on the charts. However, Hicks wasn’t able to keep up his career momentum, and was later dropped by his label, Arista. The crooner eventually took a role on Broadway in 2008 in “Grease” and toured the country. Hicks is heading back to the stage with a residency at Bally’s Las Vegas.
Sparks is one of the youngest winners of “Idol,” taking the title when she was just 17. Her self-titled debut went platinum, and her duet with Chris Brown, “No Air,” sold over 4 million digital downloads. Since then, Jordan has immersed herself in a few alternative routes, most recently appearing on the May cover for Women’s Running Magazine, where she discusses her 50-pound weight loss, and her boyfriend, Jason Derulo. She also appeared alongside Michelle Obama at an exercise initiative event for schools in Chicago.
After taking home the top prize in season seven of “Idol,” Cook promptly broke chart records by having 14 debuts on the publication’s Digital Songs chart. His 2008 eponymous debut entered the Billboard album chart at No. 3. Unfortunately, his cancer-stricken brother Adam, who had always supported Cook on “Idol,” died during David’s “Declaration Tour.” The singer released his second album, “Loud This Morning” in 2011. David most recently performed his single, “Laying Me Low,” during his return to the “Idol” stage in late April.
The season-eight winner scored a hit with the single “Live Like We’re Dying” from his 2009 self-titled debut. Allen has since maintained a relatively low-profile, continuing to get involved in charity initiatives, including a visit to earthquake-devastated Haiti in 2010. He released his second album, “Thank You Camellia,” in May 2012.
Season nine’s winner didn’t exactly set the world on fire. His major label debut, “Live It Up,” was the lowest-selling debut ever from an “Idol” champ, and his label, RCA, dropped him in late 2011. However, his pre-”Idol” label, WuLi, released some of DeWyze’s earlier work in February 2012. The singer said in a post on The Daily Beast website in May 2012: “I can’t sit here and say winning ‘American Idol’ was everything I thought it would be.”
The Garner, N.C., native and youngest “Idol” winner followed up his season-10 win with the album “Clear as Day,” which made McCreery both the first country star to have a debut album enter the Billboard 200 at No. 1 and the youngest man to debut at the top of the chart. The album has since gone platinum, and Scotty spent 2012 opening up for fellow country star Brad Paisley’s Virtual Reality Tour 2012. He is now enrolled in undergraduate school at North Carolina State University.