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Singing Their Way to
Success: Our Favorite
'American Idol' Stars


Whether they won the title or not, American Idol has produced some of our favorite musicians— and tonight marks the beginning of the show’s twelfth season, where judges Mariah Carey, Randi Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are ready to make even more dreams come true.

It’s been less than one year since Phillip Phillips won the 11th season of American Idol, but he’s already launched a prosperous singing career. His debut single, "Home" became the best selling coronation song in the show's history, debuting at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 list and peaking at number six. The track also became the unofficial anthem of the 2012 USA Olympic Team.

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While Phillip is only just getting started, the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, has taken her win and launched it into the most successful Idol career of all time. Since winning the show in 2002, the newly-engaged star has created five albums, all of which went platinum.  “When I auditioned, my apartment in Los Angeles had recently burned down and I had a box of photographs to my name,” the star says. “I figured I’d get to sing and make some money to pay the bills. Nobody thought that show was going to be what it is now.” After two Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, two MTV Music Awards, and 11 Billboard Music Awards, Kelly’s come a long way from struggling to make ends meet.
And then there’s country superstar Carrie Underwood.  Early on in the competition, former show judge Simon Cowell predicted that the Season 4 contestant would not only outshine the others and take home a victory, but he also said he was confident the blonde beauty would outsell all previous Idol winners…  and he was right. Carrie went on to become a multi-platinum selling recording artist, winning multiple Grammys and CMAs.

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Of other Idol stars like Katharine McPhee, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry and more, Carrie admits, “We’re just normal people trying to do what we love and follow our dreams.”

Check out our gallery of other American Idol alums who’ve sung their way to stardom!