Now that the “Idol” era is over, take a look back at some of the most memorable Black contestants and find out where they are now.
In 2004, Fantasia became the winner of the third season of “American Idol.” Since winning the competition, Fantasia has had a pretty promising music career with chart-topping hits, a Grammy Award and a stint on Broadway in The Color Purple. Most recently, the singer released her new single “Ugly” on the finale episode of “American Idol” and is working on a new album. She’s also going on tour with Anthony Hamilton beginning later this month.
Jennifer Hudson may have finished in seventh place in season three of “American Idol,” but she has remained one of the most successful contestants from the reality competition. Most recently, the singer and Oscar-winning actress appeared in Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq. She is currently appearing in The Color Purple on Broadway, and will appear in HBO’s upcoming film, Confirmation.
Known as “The Velvet Teddy Bear,” Ruben Studdard won the second season of America. In 2014, Ruben Studdard became the first celebrity contestant on “The Biggest Loser” and also released his sixth album, Unconditional Love. Late last year, he received an honorary Masters of Art degree from his alma mater, Alabama A&M University.
At age 17, Jordin Sparks became the youngest winner ever of “American Idol” back in 2007. Last August, the singer released her third album, Right Here, Right Now, which debuted at #4 on the Billboard R&B Albums.
Like Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson, LaToya London also appeared on season three of “Idol” and finished in fourth place. A few years ago, London joined a musical variety show in Myrtle Beach, SC, and she recently reunited on stage with Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson for the “American Idol” Finale Show.
Candice Glover was the winner of season 12 of “American Idol.” She also returned to the show for the finale, and is currently working on her second album, which she plans to release later this year.
During season 12, Amber Holcomb finished in fourth place. Since appearing on the show, Holcomb had a daughter and she is currently working on her first single. She also appeared on the finale episode of “Idol.”
Appearing on the second season of “American Idol,” Kimberley Locke finished in third place. Locke is currently working on a new album, and she also has her own entertainment company, I AM Entertainment.
Melinda Doolittle finished in third place on the sixth season of “Idol”, the same season that Jordin Sparks won. In recent years, Melinda Doolittle has been pretty busy from doing performances across the country to serving as a co-host for TVLine’s Reality Check.
Tamyra Gray appeared on the first season on “American Idol” and finished in fourth place. Earlier this year, she joined the cast of Broadway musical If/Then to play the role of Kate on a national tour.
Finishing in eighth place on season 13 of “Idol,” then-15-year-old Malaya Watson was one of the youngest contestants to make it on the show. Now 18, Malaya has sung the national anthem at a Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints game and she is working on her debut EP, “My Diary.”
Rayvon Owen appeared on the 14th season of “American Idol,” finishing in fourth place. He recently released his first song and video, “Can’t Fight It,” where he opened up about his gay sexuality. Owen is also working an EP which he plans to release later this year.
Frenchie Davis may have been disqualified from “American Idol” in 2003 due to topless photos, but she has remained in the public eye. She acted in the Broadway musical Rent, appeared on “The Voice” in 2011, and recently made her film debut in Dumbbells.