American Idol's 14 Winners and Where They Are Now

of 14

Season 1 - Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson. Photo by Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Kelly Clarkson was the very first American Idol winner. She was named the victor on September 4, 2002. Her "coronation" single "A Moment Like This / Before Your Love" was released  on September 17, 2002 and in three weeks it was #1. 

She has continued on to be one of the most commercially successful American Idol winners ever. Six consecutive albums have reached the top 3 on the album chart. She is credited with album sales exceeding 25 million. 16 singles have reached the pop top 40 in the US including the latest "Heartbeat Song." Her seventh album is Piece By Piece.

Top 10 Kelly Clarkson Songs

Watch "Heartbeat Song."

of 14

Season 2 - Ruben Studdard

Ruben Studdard
Ruben Studdard. Photo by Matthew Imaging / WireImage

Ruben Studdard earned the nickname "Velvet Teddy Bear" on his way to winning the second season of American Idol. It was a photo finish with Clay Aiken. His first single following the show was a cover of boy band Westlife's "Flying Without Wings" which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In recent years Ruben Studdard has earned consistent success in the adult R&B market. All six of his albums have charted at #12 or above on the R&B albums chart. With his gold-certified second album I Need an Angel he topped the gospel chart. His most recent album is 2014's Unconditional Love.

Watch "Meant To Be" 

of 14

Season 3 - Fantasia

Fantasia. Photo by Leon Bennett / WireImage

Fantasia Barrino, performing as simply Fantasia, gave one of the most celebrated American Idol performances of all time singing "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess on her way to winning season 3. She easily defeated runner-up Diana DeGarmo. She was only 19 and the youngest winner until Jordin Sparks won season 6 at age 17. Fantasia's first single "I Believe" debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Fantasia has had one of the most celebrated of careers among American Idol winners. She has received 10 Grammy Award nominations and won Best Female R&B Vocal for "Bittersweet" in 2010. Fantasia received acclaim for her Broadway performances in The Color Purple and After Midnight. Three of her four albums have reached the top 10 on the album chart. She has reached the R&B top 40 with 12 singles including the #1 smash "When I See U." She was married in July 2015 to boyfriend Kendall Taylor and is at work on a fifth studio album. 

Watch "Lose To Win"

of 14

Season 4 - Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood. Photo by Terry Wyatt / FilmMagic

Carrie Underwood, supported by her fan group "Carrie's Care Bears" battled Bo Bice to win the fourth season of American Idol. Following her victory, she released the single "Inside Your Heaven" and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Along with Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood ranks as one of the top two most commercially successful of American Idol winners. All four of her studio albums and her Greatest Hits collection topped the country album chart. Three of them went to #1 on the overall album chart with all of the studio albums certified platinum. She has topped the country singles chart 14 times. Carrie Underwood has won seven Grammy Awards from 12 nominations. In 2014 she topped the country chart with the single "Something In the Water" from her Greatest Hits collection. Her studio album Storyteller was released in October 2015 and went to #2 on the album chart. It includes the top 10 country hit "Smoke Break."

Watch "Something In the Water"

of 14

Season 5 - Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks
Taylor Hicks. Photo by David Becker / Getty Images

Taylor Hicks entered the season 5 finale of American Idol in a tight race with Katharine McPhee. At age 29, he became the oldest winner of American Idol. His first post-Idol single "Do I Make You Proud" debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold for sales.

Taylor Hick's self-titled first studio album after American Idol reached #2 on the album chart and received platinum certification. However, the second The Distance struggled and only reached #58. Four of his singles have reached the top 40 on the adult contemporary chart. Taylor Hicks had greater success performing in Grease on Broadway and in a national touring company. In 2012 he became the first American Idol winner to begin a long-term Las Vegas residency. It was moved to a larger venue in 2013.

Watch "Please Come Home for Christmas"

of 14

Season 6 - Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks. Photo by Paras Griffin / Getty Images

At age 17, Jordin Sparks became the youngest winner of American Idol yet. She defeated Blake Lewis in the American Idol finale. Her coronation single "This Is My Now" only reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and began a slow overall decline in commercial success of first singles by American Idol winners until Phillip Phillips in season 11.

Jordin Sparks kicked her recording career into high gear with her next single, the platinum-certified top 10 hit "Tattoo." It was her first of three top 10 pop hits thus far. Jordin Sparks' two solo albums have both reached the top 10 on the album chart. She appeared in the 2012 film Sparkle along with Whitney Houston in her final role. Her third studio album Right Here Right Now was released in August 2015 and was a commercial disappointment.

Listen to "Double Tap"

of 14

Season 7 - David Cook

David Cook
David Cook. Photo by Jason Davis / Getty Images

David Cook was the first rocker to win American Idol. He did not originally plan to try out for the show, but came to the auditions to support his younger brother. He won the finale over teenager David Archuleta. "The Time Of My Life," his official first single after the show, debuted at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

David Cook's self-titled first album after winning American Idol peaked at #3 on the album chart and sold more than 1.5 million copies. It included the platinum single "Light On." He followed that with another top 10 album This Loud Morning in 2011. David Cook has since left the RCA label and is at work on a third studio album. He released the single "Wait for Me" in November 2014 and is fourth studio album Digital Vein in September 2015. The album broke into the top 40 of the album chart.

Watch "Fade Into Me"

of 14

Season 8 - Kris Allen

Kris Allen
Kris Allen. Photo by Tibrina Hobson / FilmMagic

Kris Allen won what many considered an upset victory in American Idol's eighth season. Runner-up Adam Lambert received the bulk of attention from the media, but in the end Kris Allen was victorious. "No Boundaries," his first official single after the show, debuted at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The platinum certified top 20 charting single "Live Like We're Dying" kept Kris Allen's recording career moving strong, but his self-titled album became the first initial album by an American Idol winner to fail to reach the top 10 on the album chart. He has released two subsequent albums that both charted inside the top 100 of the US album chart. The 2012 single "The Vision of Love" reached the top 40 at adult pop radio. His most recent album Horizons was released in August 2014. In December 2015 Kris Allen announced a 2016 concert tour in support of an upcoming fourth studio album.

Watch "Prove It To You"

of 14

Season 9 - Lee DeWyze

Lee DeWyze
Lee DeWyze. Photo by Rick Diamond / Getty Images

Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze had released two independent solo albums prior to his victory over Crystal Bowersox. The judges encouraged him to break out of a shy persona on his way to winning. His first single after the show was a cover of U2's "Beautiful Day." It only reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

Live It Up, the first album from Lee DeWyze following his American Idol victory, only reached #19 on the US album chart and has sold just over 150,000 copies. His follow-up Frames, released in August 2013, failed to reach the top 100, but it included the top 40 adult pop hit "Fight." His song "Blackbird Song" gained some sales success in March 2014 after being included on the TV series The Walking Dead.

Watch "Fight"

of 14

Season 10 - Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery
Scotty McCreery. Photo by Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

17-year-old Scotty McCreery won a battle of teenagers in American Idol's 10th season when he defeated fellow country singer Lauren Alaina. His first single following the show was "I Love You This Big," and it debuted at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also received strong country support and earned a platinum certification.

Scotty McCreery, with his strong, deep voice, has emerged as a young country star. Two of his three albums have topped the country album chart. All three hit the top 10 on the overall chart as well. It took some time for country music radio to embrace Scotty McCreery, but his two most recent singles have reached the top 10. His most recent album is 2013's See You Tonight. The single "Southern Belle" was released in August 2015 in advance of his next studio album.

Watch "Feelin' It" 

of 14

Season 11 - Phillip Phillips

Phillip Phillips
Phillip Phillips. Photo by Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images

Borrowing a few moves from Dave Matthews, Phillip Phillips won the 11th season of American Idol over teenager Jessica Sanchez. He was the only contestant in the season who never faced possible elimination. Phillip Phillips' first single "Home" became the bestselling American Idol "coronation" song ever selling over 4 million copies on its way to reaching the top 10 across mainstream pop, adult pop, rock, and adult contemporary radio. 

Phillip Phillips' maintained his momentum with his second #1 adult contemporary hit "Gone, Gone, Gone." Both of his albums have reached the top 10, and the most recent, 2014's Behind the Light, included two more adult pop hits "Raging Fire" and "Unpack Your Heart." He toured throughout the summer of 2014. Phillip Phillips married his girlfriend Hannah Blackwell in October 2015.

Watch "Raging Fire"

of 14

Season 12 - Candice Glover

Candice Glover
Candice Glover. Photo by Earl Gibson / BET / Getty Images

Candice Glover became the first female winner of American Idol after the victories of five consecutive male contestants. She was a contestant twice before advancing to live performances on TV in her third try. Candice Glover defeated Kree Harrison in the finale. Her first single after the show was "I Am Beautiful." It edged into the Billboard Hot 100 at #93 and reached the top 40 on the R&B chart.

Candice Glover released her debut album Music Speaks in March 2014 and it climbed to #14 on the album chart. It included the top 20 charting Adult R&B single "Cried." Candice Glover is at work on her second album. It is expected to include a duet with fellow American Idol contestant Amber Holcomb.

Watch "Cried"

of 14

Season 13 - Caleb Johnson

Caleb Johnson
Caleb Johnson. Photo by Chelsea Lauren / WireImage

Like Candice Glover in the season before, Caleb Johnson tried twice on American Idol before he made it to live television in his third try. He defeated Jena Irene in the finale. His first single "As Long As You Love Me" reached the rock songs chart but failed to hit the Billboard Hot 100.

Caleb Johnson's first album Testify was released in August 2014. He co-wrote six of the 10 songs. The album reached #24 on the US album chart.

Listen to "As Long As You Love Me" 

of 14

Nick Fradiani

Nick Fradiani
Nick Fradiani. Photo by Noam Galai / FilmMagic

Nick Fradiani was the leader of the regional band Beach Avenue before auditioning as a solo artist for American Idol in 2014. They band competed on America's Got Talent in the summer of 2014. Nick Fradiani was named the 14th season winner in May 2015. His winning song and first single was "Beautiful Life." It was chosen as the official anthem for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The song broke into the top 30 of the adult contemporary chart.