15 American Idol losers who found their own stardom

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Kellie Pickler (Season 5)

There may not be any American Idol contestant as beloved as Kellie Pickler. The blonde country girl from Albemarle, North Carolina charmed the judges and audiences around America, and that’s why we’re still talking about her in 2019!

Pickler was 19 years old when she auditioned for season 5 of the show (along with Ace Young and Katharine McPhee). Right from the start, you could tell she had something special, and the judges loved her from the moment she walked in. She had some big shoes to fill when she performed Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” but Paula Abdul immediately perked up. Pickler also accomplished something not many Idol hopefuls did: she won over Simon. He loved her Southern charm and predicted she’d be in the final three.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), Kellie didn’t make it to the final three. She was eliminated in the Top 6, but she had won over so many hearts thanks to her lovingly ditzy moments on the show that she wasn’t down for long. She released her first single “Red High Heels” in September 2006 and her debut album Small Town Girl in October of the same year. The album was #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and even went to #2 on the Billboard 200, making her the highest-selling first weeks sales for a new artist that year.

Since her time on Idol, Pickler has released four studio albums, and won season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. She has won Three CMT Music Awards and three ASCAP Awards, plus she has been the co-host of the syndicated talk show Pickler & Ben since 2017, which earned her a Daytime Emmy nomination.