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  • Kaitlyn Nicole

10 Successful Singers Who Were Contestants on Talent TV Shows

Top: Harry Styles via Reuters/Mario Anzuoni, Camila Cabello via Chris Polk/Shutterstock;

Bottom: Melanie Martinez via Derek Brad, Kelly Clarkson via David Becker/Getty Images


We're all guilty of watching reality talent shows on TV. Whether it's because you enjoy a good laugh during the audition portion of the show or you're genuinely curious who is going to win, you've seen at least one of these shows mentioned below. Although this type of TV show can be seen as 'cringe', singers see it as a chance to make their dreams come true. Although it doesn't work out for everyone, there is a decent amount of artists that have made a name for themselves and might not have been able to if it wasn't for participating in one of these shows. Whether they won or not, here's a list of pop singers who found success after being on a televised talent competition.


10. Adam Lambert


Adam Lambert won second place on American Idol's 8th Season in 2009. While on the show, he got to perform with one of his favorite bands, Queen as well as KISS. His range and control were unmatched during the competition, and many think he should've won. Even though he didn't make it to first place, that didn't stop America from continuing to support him after the show. Since 2009, he's sold over 3 million albums and 5 million singles and was nominated for a Grammy. He continues to perform and make music today, earning over 3 million Spotify monthly listeners.



9. Jordin Sparks


At only age 17, Jordin Sparks auditioned for the 6th Season of American Idol in 2007. She won the entire competition, making history as the youngest winner of the entire series. She went on to release a debut album which became certified platinum, selling over 2 million copies. She's earned spots in the Billboard Top 100 multiple times in her career and was nominated for a Grammy for her song 'No Air'. Since then she's dabbled in some acting, including musical theatre and Broadway, and continues to release music to this day.



8. Grace VanderWaal


Grace VanderWaal was only 12 years old when she auditioned for the 11th Season of America's Got Talent in 2016. Her audition video of her singing an original song with just her and her ukulele went viral on YouTube after Howie Mandel used his Golden Buzzer on her (meaning she would go straight to the live shows). Grace ended up winning the entire competition which led to her releasing a full album in 2017, touring with Imagine Dragons and becoming an award-winning artist. Grace continues to release music and currently has 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify.



7. Fifth Harmony


Fifth Harmony consisted of members Camila Cabello, Lauren Jauregui, Ally Brooke, Normani and Dinah Jane. They auditioned as solo artists in 2012 on the second season of the short lived American version of The X Factor. Facing a similar situation to One Direction, the girls were at risk of being eliminated and instead were put together as a group by Simon Cowell. They ended up placing 3rd in the competition, but were signed to Simon Cowell's record label, Syco Music, to continue their career together as a band. After Camila left in 2016 to be a solo artist, the bands time together was cut short after only 4 years. However, they still made a huge impact when it comes to girl groups.




6. Christina Grimmie


Christina Grimmie hands down had one of the best auditions in television history. Known as zeldaxlove64 on YouTube, her covers of just her voice and her piano would get millions of views. Wanting to take her career to the next level, she decided to audition for Season 6 of The Voice, in which she performed her own powerful rendition of 'Wrecking Ball' by Miley Cyrus. She got all 4 judges to turn their chairs for her and earned a standing ovation. After spending the season on team Adam, she placed 3rd. There was

no doubt that Christina was a star and she had an incredible career ahead of her.

*TRIGGER WARNING* Unfortunately, in 2016, 2 years after her time on The Voice, Christina was shot and killed at the young age of 22. Do us a favor, and keep her alive by continuing to stream her music here.


In Loving Memory of Christina Grimmie (1994-2016)



Honorable Mentions


Carrie Underwood - a country singer who won American Idol Season 4 in 2005.


Jennifer Hudson - A soul/RnB Singer and Actress who placed 7th in Season 3 of American Idol.


Leona Lewis - RnB/Pop Artist who won The X Factor in 2006.


Kellie Pickler - a country singer-songwriter who placed 5th in Season 5 of American Idol.


Chris Daughtry - Lead man of the rock band, Daughtry. Placed 4th in Season 5 of American Idol.


David Archuleta - Pop singer who won second place on Season 7 of American Idol.


Fantasia - RnB singer who won Season 3 of American Idol.



5. Carly Rae Jepsen


I bet you didn't know Carly Rae Jepsen was on Canadian Idol! in 2007, she placed 3rd in season 5 of the show. Although her presence on the show wasn't what made her name in the end, I'm sure it had a big hand in getting her where she is today. Her debut album in 2008 was a folk album, and she didn't dabble in pop until her best-selling song 'Call Me Maybe' was released in 2012. Since then, Carly has found her niche and continues to make pop bangers to this day.



4. Melanie Martinez


Melanie Martinez took the world by storm with her unique version of 'Toxic' by Britney Spears when she auditioned for The Voice season 3 in 2012. Her audition video went viral, and everyone knew that a star was about to be born. After Adam Lavigne, Blake Shelton and CeeLo Green turned their chairs, she ultimately chose to be on Adams team. She ended up placing 4th on the show, but that didn't stop her from becoming the star that she was meant to be. Creating an alt. pop sound that is uniquely her own, she now has over 18 million monthly listeners on Spotify.




3. One Direction


We all know who One Direction is. Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik were 5 hopeful teenage boys back in 2010 when they individually auditioned for the UK-Based Talent Show, The X Factor. Surprisingly, all 5 boys were to be eliminated during boot camp. Simon Cowell, who was a judge as well as the creator The X Factor and the Got Talent franchise, as well as an Executive Producer on American Idol, felt like letting them go would be a waste of talent. He called the 5 boys back and historically put them together as a group, creating the record-breaking boyband we know and love, One Direction. Although they didn't win the competition (they placed in 3rd), that wasn't the end of the road. Simon Cowell signed them onto his label, Syco Music, and the rest is history.




2. Little Mix


Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson originally auditioned for The X Factor in 2011 as solo artists. Although they got through the audition process, the extremely tight competition put these 4 at risk of elimination before the live shows even started. Kelly Rowland, a former member of Destiny's Child and a judge on the show at the time, saw something in these girls and didn't want to see them go quite yet. This led to the formation of Little Mix. Little did they know at the time, that they would end up not only being the first ever girl-group to win The X Factor, but the most successful girl band in history.




1. Kelly Clarkson


Kelly Clarkson is hands down one of the most incredible singers of our time. Her power and range is hard to beat. In 2002, Kelly auditioned for the first ever season of American Idol, and won. As a small town girl who never had any performance experience, Kelly had no idea that her spontaneous audition for this brand new tv show would change her life forever. As the first winner of American Idol in history, she set the bar high for the many seasons that were to come. She continues to make music today, and even has her own talk show. Watch Kelly's final performance below, ultimately leading her to win the entire show.



Which one of these artists impressed you the most? Do you have a favorite talent competition show? Follow us below and let us know!


Written By Kaitlyn Nicole



*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.


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