American Idol, three judges sitting at a blue desk.

All American Idol Winners in Order

American Idol has been running for over 20 years, with hundreds of contestants taking the show’s stage. But who actually won? Here are all American Idol winners in order.

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All American Idol Winners in Order

American Idol switched networks and took a couple of years off, but this talent show is still going strong. So, if you’re tuning in and want to keep yourself up to date, here are all American Idol winners in order:

1) Kelly Clarkson (Season 1, 2002)

An image of American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson.

Singer and songwriter Kelly Clarkson was American Idol’s first winner. Her appearance won her an RCA record deal, and she’s had many hits since, including “A Moment Like This” and “Miss Independent.”

2) Ruben Studdard (Season 2, 2003)

Ruben Studdard, with his soulful R&B style, was American Idol’s second winner and went on to win a Grammy for his cover of “Superstar.” He’s still putting out albums and cropped up in the Masked Singer as one half of the duo Beets.

3) Fantasia Barrino (Season 3, 2004)

A black and white image of Fantasia Barrino

Fantasia Barrino wowed the judges with her performance of “Summertime,” a song she revisited for the final. She’s gone on to have a long-running musical career and played Celie in the Broadway musical A Color Purple. She eventually reprised her role in the movie version of the musical.

4) Carrie Underwood (Season 4, 2005)

Carrie Underwood’s country stylings led her to victory in Season 4. Since then, she’s been putting out a mix of country and gospel songs, with her last album, Denim & Rhinestones, dropping in 2022.

5) Taylor Hicks (Season 5, 2006)

After auditioning in Las Vegas, Taylor Hicks’ soul-rock combo took him to victory in Season 5. He’s less prominent than some other winners, with his last album arriving in 2009. But he’s still writing music and turned up as a Super Smash Bros. competitor in the Evolution fighting game tournament.

6) Jordin Sparks (Season 6, 2007)

Jordin Sparks, singing in front of a microphone.

Jordin Sparks won Season 6 with the pop/R&B ballad “This is My Now” and went on to win an NAACP Image Award, a BET Award, an American Music Award, and a People’s Choice Award. She took a break from music but is back and has also got into acting. 

7) David Cook (Season 7, 2008)

Auditioning in Omaha, David Cook’s rock/grunge melodies won him Season 7. His debut single, “The Time of My Life,” entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number three, and during the show, he delivered an impressive rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

8) Kris Allen (Season 8, 2009)

Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert to win Season 8, which included a standout rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. He released his last new album in 2016, though he did put out a compilation album, 10, in 2019.

9) Lee DeWyze (Season 9, 2010)

Lee DeWyze singing into a microphone.

Lee DeWyze wasn’t as much of a newcomer as some American Idol winners, having had a solo career, including two albums. This indie rocker is still putting out tunes, including an album, Ghost Stories, which dropped in 2021.

10) Scotty McCreery (Season 10, 2011)

Scotty McCreery beat fellow country singer Lauren Alaina to win Season 10 of American Idol. If you were any doubt to about his country qualifications, his last album, released in 2021, is called Same Truck.

11) Phillip Phillips (Season 11, 2012)

Phillip Phillips didn’t just win Season 11 – his single “Home” became the best-selling single in American Idol history. He took his folk rock on the road in 2023 on a tour to promote his Drift Back album.

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12) Candice Glover (Season 12, 2013)

Candice Glover in an elaborate red and black dress.

Candice Glover is an R&B powerhouse who, while not putting out a full album since 2016, is still singing. As reported by ItsAllPink, she’s currently one of the music coordinators and directors at Savannah College of Art and Design.

13) Caleb Johnson (Season 13, 2014)

Caleb Johnson, who rocked his way through Season 13 of the show, is currently touring with Neverland Express, backing bad for the late Meat Loaf.

14) Nick Fradiani (Season 14, 2015)

Season 14 winner Nick Fradiani, who wowed the judges with his performance of “Beautiful Life,” is currently starring in A Beautiful Noise, the musical based on the life of Neil Diamond.

15) Trent Harmon (Season 15, 2016)

Another country-singing American Idol winner, Trent Harman doesn’t appear to be currently signed with a label, but he’s still making music. The arrival of his daughter means he may have other things on his plate.

16) Maddie Poppe (Season 16, 2018)

Maddie Poppe with her guitar. This image is part of an article about all American Idol winners in order.
Image: ABC

Folk-pop singer Maddie Poppe strummed her way to victory in Season 16, the first season on the ABC network. Her finale saw her singing alongside Kermit the Frog, and while there’s been no further Muppet duets, she’s still putting out singles.

17) Laine Hardy (Season 17, 2019)

After failing to make the cut in Season 16, Laine Hardy returned to storm to victory the next season. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he’s covered a range of rock styles and has continued to put out albums.

18) Just Sam (Season 18, 2020)

R&B singer Just Sam won American Idol with songs like “Rise Up” by Andra Day and “Stronger” by previous winner Kelly Clarkson. Winning didn’t turn out as good as previous winners for them, but as reported by The Washington Post, they have a new management team helping them break back into the industry.

19) Chayce Beckham (Season 19, 2021)

Mixing country, folk, and rock, Chayce Beckham released his debut studio album Bad for Me, with lead single 23 reaching d number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

20) Noah Thompson (Season 20, 2022)

Winning with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” Noah Thompson released his first EP in 2023, inspired a little by Zack Wylde but with a definite country twang.

21) Iam Tongi (Season 21, 2023)

Singer Iam Tongi, singing into a microphone. This image is part of an article about all American Idol winners in order.

Hawaii-born Iam Tongi was the first Pacific Islander to win American Idol, and right up until his father bought him a guitar, the ukulele was his instrument of choice. He released his first EP last year, An Iam Tongi Christmas, featuring covers of “White Christmas” and more.

And those are all American Idol winners in order.

American Idol airs on ABC.


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Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.