American_Idol_logoI was driving between schools the other day, Tuesday or Wednesday I think, and was listening to the radio like I usually do when I am in the car. When I am in my own car on the weekend I listen to satellite radio because I just find the local station boring. In my work vehicle I don’t have much choice other than CDs and they don’t always work properly in the extreme cold so CJCD it usually is.

The one thing I like to listen to CJCD for is the local news. It’s always good to find out what is going on in the city. I don’t always get to read the local paper and their online presence is limited unless you are a subscriber so the radio is it.

Anyway, I was driving and the DJ, Janel, happened to be talking about the premiere of American Idol’s new season on Wednesday night. She was talking about how she liked the first shows the best but she really didn’t understand why people kept going on the show. I think her words went something like “no one ever becomes famous for being on the show’. “Other than the first winner Kelly Clarkson that is”.

Well you think that someone in the music industry would know or at least do some fact finding before they start talking about things on air for everyone to hear. It is very easy these days to find out any information you want.

Kelly Clarkson is one of better known of the American Idol winners mostly because she was the first winner. But, she is also successful and continues to crank out music after 9 more seasons of the show. But she isn’t the most successful of the winners and she isn’t the only contestant that has won awards. The fact is that Carrie Underwood is the most successful of the AI alumni. Kelly Clarkson has picked up 2 Grammy Awards, 4 American Music Awards and 12 Billboard Music Awards. That is 18 awards since winning in September, 2002.

Carrie Underwood (season 4) has collected 5 Grammy Awards, 6 American Music Awards and 15 Billboard Music Awards. Her 26 awards since winning in May, 2005 makes her the most successful of the winners. While winning doesn’t guarantee success, it does give one the exposure to at least have a shot at a career. 2 other winners have also collected awards with Fantasia Barrino (season 3) has collected 1 Grammy Award and 3 Billboard Music Awards, and Jordin Sparks (season 6) collecting an American Music Award.

Just being on the show at least gets the exposure to possibly make headway into a tough market to get into. 3 other non-winning alumni have also won awards. Chris Daughtry (4th on season 5) with his band Daughtry has picked up 4 American Music Awards and 6 Billboard Music Awards, Clay Aitken (2nd on season 2) received 1 American Music Award and 3 Billboard Music Awards and Jennifer Hudson (7th on season 4) collected 1 Grammy Award and is the only alumni to get an award not associated with her music as she was awarded and Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

So, while appearing on Idol doesn’t guarantee success, it does get your foot in the door and sometimes that is all that is needed and often is the hardest part. Once the foot is in the door it is up to the individual and their talent. Those that have it will make it, those that don’t will just disappear. Has anyone heard of Justin Guarini (second place) or Nikki McKibbin (third place) since?