American Idol Runners-up
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American Idol Runners-up

American Idol Season 11 has finally come to the end. It was a season full of shocking moments and drama as many favorites were ousted from the competition. The final two were Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez. Many were dismayed with the results as power belter Jessica did not get the title. But as many says, the title does not guarantee great success in the music world. So how many runners-up in the competition are now respected singers? Here is a run-down of the runners-up in the eleven seasons of American Idol.

American Idol is undoubtedly one of the most watched and anticipated reality singing shows on television. It is created by Simon Fuller and produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment. Its first show was aired in Fox on June 11, 2002, and since then, American Idol has produced some of the biggest names in the music industry. Among them are Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barino, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, and Scotty McCreery.

These names emerged as winners in the competition. However, some contestants also gained enormous success despite not being the grand winner. In the finals night, there is one person who has to lose the spotlight and watch the other being crowned. So where are the runners-up of American Idol? Are they as successful as their season’s winner? Or have they surpassed them?

Season 1: Justin Guarini. Kelly Clarkson was the winner of the first American Idol season in 2002. Second runner-up Justin Guarini also became successful. His self-entitled album debuted in June 2003 and more albums were released in the succeeding years. Consequently, he produced his own production company called Justice Entertainment while also working in television for the TV Guide Network. He also succeeded in the theater and Broadway, playing major roles in Good Vibrations, Vassar College, and American Idiot.


Season 2: Clay Aiken. Clay was beaten by a small margin by Ruben Studdard in American Idol Season 2. However, Clay had achieved so much after the competition, becoming one of the most successful runners-up. He released several albums, including Measure of a Man (2003), Merry Christmas with Love (2004), A Thousand Different Ways and All is Well (2006), On My Way Here (2008), Tried and True (2009) and Steadfast (2011). Clay has also appeared in countless television shows and Broadway productions.


Season 3: Diana DeGarmo. Fantasia Barino emerged as winner in American Idol Season 3. Runner-up Diana DeGarmo began a career in musical theater after the show. She released a number of albums under RCA Records. Her first single, “Dream”, debuted at number two in record sales and went number one on the Billboard US Singles Sales Chart.


Season 4: Bo Bice. Bo Bice lost the American Idol title to Carrie Underwood. His version of “Inside You Heaven” debuted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and number one on the Billboard Hot Single Sales Chart. His solo debut album “The Real Thing” in 2005 opened at number four, becoming the seventh-highest opening for a debut album by an American Idol. He also released See the Light (2007) and 3 (2010) which were both successful.


Season 5: Katharine McPhee. Katharine is another accomplished American Idol runner-up, finishing second to Taylor Hicks. Her albums were all huge successes, debuting on Billboard 200: Katharine McPhee (2007) is number two; Unbroken (2010) is number 27; and Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You (2010) is number 11 on the Billboard Top Holiday Album. She also appeared in many television shows and movies.


Season 6: Blake Lewis. Runner to Jordin Sparks American Idol Season 7 is Blake Lewis. Like her, Blake has also achieved great success. His albums and singles all debut in Billboard.


Season 7: David Archuleta. David Cook was crowned American Idol in the seventh season and was very successful. Runner-up David Archuleta also gained tremendous accomplishment in the music industry. Many of his song performances in the show debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 and Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. He released his self-titled album in 2008 and his first single “Crush” debuted number two in Billboard Hot 100. Along with David Cook, Archuleta placed second on Forbes’ list of “Breakout Stars of 2008”. In 2008, he received the Teen Choice Award surfboard for “Most Fanatic Fans.” The albums he released thereafter were likewise successful. He has also appeared in the hit series Hannah Montana and even played in a drama mini-series in the Philippines.


Season 8: Adam Lambert. Adam Lambert placed second to Kris Allen in American Idol Season 8. However, Adam proved to be more successful than Kris. Fresh from the competition, he received two awards in 2009: the Young Hollywood Award for Artist of the Year and the Teen Choice Award for Male Reality/Variety Star. His first album, “For Your Entertainment,” debuted number three on the Billboard 200 and reached the top 10 in several countries worldwide. His worldwide concert tour “Glam Nation” raved excellent reception. His 2012 album “Trespass” made its debut in the number one spot on the Billboard 200 album chart.


Season 9:  Crystal Bowersox. Season 9 is perhaps the least successful in all seasons of American Idol. Winner Lee Dewyze and runner-up Crystal Bowersox both did not achieved significant album sales. Her only album “Farmer’s Daughter” was released in 2010.


Season 10: Lauren Alaina. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler took the judges’ seat at American Idol, along with veteran Randy Jackson. The change reinvigorated the show and Scotty McCreery became the fourth guy in a row to win the title. Runner-up Lauren Alaina’s first single “Like My Mother Does” entered the Billboard Hot Country Songs and the Hot 100. Her debut album “Wildflower” debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 chart.


Season 11: Jessica Sanchez. After gaining the judges’ only safe vote, Jessica Sanchez made it to the final two but then lost the title to Phillip Phillips. Many celebrities and big names in the music industry were awed by her big voice, maturity and stage presence. Among them are Mary J.Blige, Jennifer Holliday, The Black Eyed Peas, Billie Joel, Richard Marx and many American Idol alumni. Without doubt, people believed that Jessica Sanchez will hit big in the music world.

Reference: Wikipedia

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Comments (8)

Clay Aiken has been my all time favorite even though he did not win the #1 spot. thank you for your work on this entertainment article.

Well done.  I forgot to watch it this season.

Sometimes, the runner ups are the real winners.

Impressive profile of the American Idols runners-up.

I always liked Katherine McPhee.  I watched her in the new TV series "Smash" this year, and she was fabulous.  This year's Idol contest was a close race.  Congrats to Phillip (love him!), and I also hope that Jessica has a great career ahead of her - so talented!  Thanks for this re-cap!

Very interesting. We don't have this show here. Thanks for the info, my dear friend.

Bo Bice is my fav among these runner ups. Nakakahinayang si Jessica pero bata pa naman siya. I'm sure mas sisikat pa siya in the future. Well done one this, kabayan.

Ranked #8 in Reality TV

I love this look at the popular contestants from Idol! I think that Jessica and Clay are so talented. Great work here.