By Abby Hassler
(RADIO.COM) – American Idol is officially returning to television after its final season on Fox last year. The iconic reality singing show’s 16th season will arrive in 2018 on ABC.
With all the excitement surrounding the revived show, we wanted to reminisce about some of the best American Idol participants and winners over the years. Here are Radio.com’s top five:
#5 Scotty McCreery
At 17 years and seven months old, McCreery made American Idol history as the youngest male winner during his season 10 debut. At only 23-years-old, this star is making huge waves in the country music scene, earning certified platinum status for his 2011 debut studio album, Clear as Day.
#4 Jennifer Hudson
Hudson is arguably one of the more successful American Idol finalists, especially considering she only came in a shocking seventh place during her third season run. She snagged her 2017 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album as the principal singer of The Color Purple record, on which she made her broadway debut in 2015. Hudson has also won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress for her film debut playing Effie White in the 2006 hit picture Dreamgirls.
#3 Adam Lambert
Lambert was the runner-up to Kris Allen during the show’s eighth season, but most fans would argue that with his millions of records sold worldwide, Lambert is the true Idol star. With his powerhouse voice and stage presence, it seems only nature that the highly acclaimed Queen + Adam Lambert collaboration began in 2011, leading to several world tours and their North American concert series this summer.
#2 Kelly Clarkson
Who could ever forget the show’s first-ever winner? Clarkson made her mark on the show and music industry as the fun, girl-next-door with an incredible voice and range. Even a decade and a half later, fans are still rocking out to some of her greatest early 2000 hits, “Sine U Been Gone,” “Because Of You,” “Miss Independent,” “Walk Away” and many more. Oh, and a few Grammy awards and nominations under her belt doesn’t hurts either.
#1 Carrie Underwood
It’s hard to believe that current powerhouse country star Underwood was once a nervous 21-year-old auditioning for the fourth season of Idol. She won the season and has gone on to snag seven Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards and eight American Music Awards. To add to the list, she’s even been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. By far, she is the best-selling and all around most successful American Idol winner or contestant.