15 American Idol losers who found their own stardom

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Tori Kelly (Season 9)

Unlike most of the stars on this list, you may not have even known this star was on American Idol! Tori Kelly may be a household name and a two-time Grammy winner now, but back in 2010, she was just a 16-year-old high school student with a dream of being a singer. That dream almost didn’t happen when her Idol journey was cut short.

Kelly auditioned for the show’s ninth season for judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, and Victoria Beckham in Denver, Colorado. She came with a big group of family and friends who were excited to cheer her on and she auditioned with John Mayer’s hit “Gravity”, but one of the judges was not impressed.

Kara loved her, and — in typical Posh fashion — Victoria praised her look. Randy gave her a 100 percent yes to Hollywood, but Simon, always the contrarian, didn’t like her at all. In fact, he thought her voice was annoying.

Though Kelly did make it through to the Hollywood round, she got cut before the Top 24. Most teens may have given up after being disappointed like that, but she kept on fighting and over the next few years, start making waves of her own in the industry, without Idol’s help.

She released her first EP Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly on her own label, Toraay Records, in 2012, and released her debut studio album Unbreakable Smile in 2014, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200.