During American Idol‘s past fifteen seasons, the reality show has seen its fair share of winners. Of course, some singers stand out among the crowd like the first winner of American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. Since winning the show, she’s gone on to have a successful career in the music industry. But, what most would be surprised to know is that Kelly, 36, didn’t want to win Idol during her season due to a certain contractual obligation — and she’s not the only one out of the past winners of American Idol to feel this way.
“I do remember Justin [Guarini] and I having the conversation before, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to win, I don’t want to win,’ because we found out we had to do a movie,” the “Love So Soft” singer told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. “He really wanted to do a movie. And I really didn’t want to do a movie. I was like, ‘It would be really super cool if I got second and you got first, because the winner has to do the movie and the second one doesn’t.'”
Kelly during her season 1 winning performance on _American Idol_ in 2002.
But, Kelly did end up beating Justin, 40, on Idol‘s debut season. Then they both starred in their movie, From Justin to Kelly, which she vowed to never show her children. Now, Kelly gets to witness the journey on the other side as a coach on The Voice. “It’s such a cool thing to have that leverage, to have an audience into you before you even have a record deal. I want to give someone that opportunity.”
There’s no denying that Kelly is one of the most successful American Idol winners in the show’s history, but what happened to the rest of the elite group of singers?
Scroll through the gallery below to see what each season’s champion is up to today!