Table of Contents
American Idol’s new season is airing now. It has been a cultural phenomenon since its debut in 2002. Ryan Seacrest has been associated with the show since day one, viewers have seen many superstars rise to fame throughout its two decades on the air, such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Phillip Phillips. The reality TV gave unknown singers from diverse backgrounds a chance to fulfill their dreams of becoming a star.
After 15 seasons on Fox, the show moved to its new home ABC in 2018, where the current trio of judges – Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie are bringing a new wave of enthusiasm and excitement.
Year after year, American Idol continues to bring audiences the best of reality TV entertainment, and to propel talented singers into the spotlight.
American Idol Winner (All 20 Seasons)
Here are the winners of all 20 seasons of “American Idol”:
Originally aired: June 11, 2002-September 4, 2002
When Kelly Clarkson, 20, took to the stage for her audition in Dallas, Texas belting out Etta James’ “At Last” and Madonna’s “Express Yourself”, she had no idea that she was about to start a revolution. To this day, many fans consider her to be their favorite ever American Idol champion.
Her participation in American Idol has had an immense impact on the entertainment industry. As the first-ever winner of the show, she rocketed to fame with her debut single “A Moment Like This,” and went on to become one of the most successful pop acts of all time.
Originally aired: January 21, 2003-May 21, 2003
Studdard, 24, made his mark on the music industry when he auditioned for American Idol in Nashville, Tennessee with Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky”. Taking home the win with his song “Flying Without Wings”, Ruben became the show’s first male winner and the first person of color to ever win.
Ruben has also returned to the show many times since his win, lending his knowledge and insights as mentor and contestant. He was awarded a Teen Choice Award and was nominated for a Grammy, and more recently appeared on The Biggest Loser.
Originally aired: January 19, 2004-May 26, 2004
Barrino’s influence on American Idol cannot be overstated. At 19, she wowed the judges with her soulful rendition of “I Believe” and was crowned the winner of the show’s third season.
Ever since then, she has become an inspiration to many, becoming a symbol of courage and perseverance. She found success outside of the show as well, with her debut album “Free Yourself” reaching platinum status and winning her three Grammy Awards.
Despite her success, Fantasia continues to be an active participant in American Idol, returning to the show multiple times as a mentor, guest performer, and even a contestant.
Originally aired: January 18, 2005-May 25, 2005
Underwood is a household name thanks to her remarkable success on American Idol’s fourth season. At 22, she won the hearts of audiences with her powerhouse performance and stunning range of vocals on winning song “Inside Your Heaven”, eventually being crowned the champion.
Her subsequent success has been unparalleled, with numerous chart-topping hits and seven Grammy Awards to her name.
Originally aired: January 17, 2006-May 24, 2006
Hicks’ journey on American Idol was a thrilling one, being crowned the show’s fifth season winner. At 29 years old, he captivated audiences with his unique blend of blues and soul, combined with an infectious energy that made him an undeniable favorite. His winning song was “Do I Make You Proud.”
Despite his success on the show, he kept his passion for music alive through various projects, from releasing several albums to appearing on Broadway.
Originally aired: January 16, 2007-May 23, 2007
Sparks, 17, became the youngest-ever winner of the show’s sixth season, charming audiences with her vocals and captivating stage presence. After her win, Sparks embarked on a highly successful career, releasing several chart-topping albums and singles, and appearing in several films. She was nominated for a Grammy and won a Teen Choice Award, NAACP Image Award, BET Award.
Despite all her success outside of the show, she continues to make appearances on American Idol, returning multiple times as a mentor, guest judge, and even a performer.
Originally aired: January 15, 2008-May 21, 2008
Cook’s win on the seventh season of American Idol changed the course of his life forever. At 25, he became a household name thanks to his powerful performances and original song arrangements. He performed on ‘The Time of My Life’ in the finale.
His post-Idol career has been equally successful, with multiple chart-topping singles and albums. His self-titled first album was certified platinum and won a Teen Choice Award.
Originally aired: January 13, 2009 May 20, 2009
Allen participated at 23 years old. He auditioned for American Idol in Louisville, Kentucky singing Leon Russell’s “A Song For You”, he had no idea that he was about to make history. He also sang the winning song “No Boundaries” which was written by “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi. Allen has gone on to release two albums, earned a Teen Choice Award nomination.
Originally aired: January 12, 2010-May 26, 2010
Originally from Mount Prospect, Illinois, DeWyze auditioned in Chicago at the age of 23 on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” At 24 years old, he wowed audiences with his emotive performances and original song arrangements.
Lee’s winning song was U2’s “Beautiful Day.” Since his victory on American Idol’s ninth season, Lee DeWyze has remained a constant and beloved presence in the show.
Originally aired: January 19, 2011-May 25, 2011
Scotty McCreery achieved fame at the tender age of 17 when he won the tenth season of American Idol. His audition with Josh Turner’s “Your Man” and Travis Tritt’s “Put Some Drive In Your Country” was an instant hit, leading to his win with his song “I Love You This Big”.
Not only was he the first ‘Idol’ winner born in the 1990s, but he has since become a multi-award-winning country music star. He has won trophies at the American Country Awards, ACM Awards, and CMT Music Awards and continues to make waves in the music industry.
Originally aired: January 18, 2012-May 23, 2012
Phillips is an American idol winner who won the title at the age of 21 with a performance of “Superstition” and “Thriller.” His winning song, “Home,” became an instant hit and went quadruple platinum.
He was among five consecutive guitar-playing winners in a row and he has been rewarded with several awards such as two Teen Choice Awards and other industry accolades.
Originally aired: January 16, 2013-May 16, 2013
Originating from Charlotte, Glover auditioned with “Syrup & Honey” at the age of 23. She became an American Idol winner by performing winning song “I Am Beautiful.”
Following her win, her debut album “Music Speaks” was released. Her powerful voice, appealing personality and warm presence have propelled her career to great success. She has received Teen Choice Awards and was invited to perform at many music festivals.
Originally aired: January 15, 2014-May 21, 2014
Johnson is an inspiration to many aspiring singers. His victory on American Idol came after several attempts over the years – ultimately cementing his spot as the second contestant to win on their third try after Candice Glover.
His passionate vocals and heartfelt original song “Into the Void” won him a place in the hearts of viewers across America. With the winning song “As Long as You Love Me,” Johnson has set an example for aspiring musicians everywhere that hard work will eventually pay off.
Originally aired: January 7, 2015-May 13, 2015
Nick Fradiani has been an inspiration to many aspiring singers, having worked hard for years before eventually winning the 14th season of American Idol.
His impressive audition with “In Your Eyes” set him up for a place in the show and his previous experience competing with Beach Avenue on America’s Got Talent undoubtedly helped him win over the judges and viewers. Nick has become a beloved member of the AI family with the winning song “Beautiful Life”.
Originally aired: January 6, 2016-April 7, 2016
Harmon was a remarkable contestant of American Idol, who captured the nation’s hearts with his amazing singing and charm. With an age of 25 on the show, he proved that age doesn’t define talent. He proved this with his audition song “Unaware” by Allen Stone and winning song “Falling”.
Despite a close and controversial battle with La’Porsha Renae, he emerged as the winner and last to ever be crowned American Idol Champion – ending the original series with Kelly Clarkson, the first champion.
Two years after the original series had finished, ABC picked up American Idol again, allowing a second chance for singers to become champions.
Originally aired: March 11, 2018-May 21, 2018
Maddie Poppe, the winner of the 16th season of American Idol, was 20 years old when she auditioned for the show. Her powerful rendition of “The Rainbow Connection” with Kermit the Frog impressed both the judges and audience alike.
In the May 21st 2018 season finale, Maddie was given the opportunity to perform the song once again with Kermit himself. Maddie won over America’s heart as more than just a talented singer, but also as a strong independent woman who showed her passion and determination to achieve success.
What made it even sweeter was that Maddie’s boyfriend and the runner-up of the season, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, was there to cheer her on and share her joy.
Originally aired: March 3, 2019-May 19, 2019
Laine Hardy accomplished a real feat when he became the winner of season 17 of American Idol in May 2019. He wasn’t originally planning to audition but after accompanying a friend, the judges forced him to take to the stage.
He eventually prevailed over runner-up Alejandro Aranda and join the ranks of Candice Glover and Caleb Johnson as people who have previously competed for the show and won.
Just Sam (Samantha Diaz)
Originally aired: February 16, 2020-May 17, 2020
Just Sam (Samantha Diaz) is the winner of season 18 of American Idol, greatly impressing judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie from her very first audition. In a sign of the times during the coronavirus pandemic, all live shows for the season had to be remote and so her victory song was performed from home – “Rise Up”.
Originally aired: February 14, 2021-May 23, 2021
Chayce Beckham made his mark in American Idol history when he won the title in the Season 19 finale which aired on May 23, 2021.
He was up against Willie Spence who put up a great fight, but in the end, Chayce’s talent shone through to take him to victory.
As a 24 year old forklift driver from Apple Valley, California, he showed the world that hard work and dedication pays off. His winning song “23” was an original tune which had already begun climbing the iTunes country charts even before he claimed his prize.
Originally aired: February 27, 2022-May 22, 2022
Thompson added to the long list of American Idol’s success stories when he won the title in the Season 20 finale on May 22, 2022. He was up against runner-up HunterGirl who also put up a great fight, but Noah ultimately won out with his performance of the song “One Day Tonight”.
At just 22 years old, Noah is a construction worker from Louisa, Kentucky who proved that hard work and dedication can lead you to success.
Stay connected with us for all the latest updates and news about American Idol.