The Star Search Legacy

Star Search Logo
Star Search Logo. Courtesy Star Search

Before there was American Idol, there was the original version of Star Search. Before a brief rebirth in the early 2000's, Star Search ran from 1983-1995 as a top TV talent search. Although singers were only a small part of the talent displayed (models, comedians, actors and dancers were included as well), the show did provide the first television exposure for some top pop music stars to come. Below is information on 7 stars who got their TV start on Star Search.

As a child of 10 , the future R&B superstar Aaliyah appeared on the Star Search stage singing "My Funny Valentine."  At age 11 she appeared in concert with the legendary Gladys Knight. Just four years later, in 1994, she was in the top 5 of the US pop singles chart.

  • Destiny's Child

An early incarnation of Destiny's Child, known by the name Girl's Tyme appeared on Star Search as a rapping girl group in 1992. The group was put together by Beyonce's father Matthew Knowles. R&B producer Arne Frager was an early champion of the group, but they lost the competition on Star Search. All of the girls were ages 10 or 11 at the time. It would be 6 more years before the group, with a pared down lineup, had involved into Destiny's Child and began hitting the pop charts

  • Alanis Morissette

​Performing under the name Alanis Nadine, dropping her last name, the 14-year-old Alanis Morissette competed on Star Search in the late 1980s. Nearly 10 years later, after a career as a teen pop starlet in her native Canada with two top 40 hit albums, she became a superstar in the US with the landmark album Jagged Little Pill.

  • LeAnn Rimes

    LeAnn Rimes was only eight years old when she appeared on Star Search in 1990. However, there was no mistaking her huge voice. She won her debut week beating out 11-year-old Levi Garrett, but her reign ended the following week. Five years later at the tender age of 13, she stormed the pop and country charts with her debut single "Blue."

    • Britney Spears

      ​11-year old Britney Spears lost in the second round of Star Search in 1992. However, she would not be discouraged. In December of 1992 she was cast in the New Mickey Mouse Club, and, in 1998, her debut single "...Baby One More Time" was released. Soon she was on her path to becoming one of the biggest female pop stars of all time.

      • Justin Timberlake

      ​1992 was also the year TV audiences got a first look at this curly-haired boy, performing as Justin Randall, from Tennessee singing country songs in a cowboy hat as a contestant on Star Search. Before long he headed to the New Mickey Mouse Club along with Britney Spears. By 1998 Justin Timberlake was hitting the charts as a member of the group 'NSYNC. His first solo album Justified appeared in November 2002.

       Usher Raymond IV, better known simply as Usher, was only 13 when he set a record with the longest sustained note, over 12 seconds, held by a child on Star Search. Following his appearance on the show, he was invited to audition for LaFace records executive L.A. Reid. His solo debut Usher was released in 1994 when Usher was only 15, but it wasn't until his second album My Way in 1997 that Usher became a pop and r&b superstar.