Our 10 Favorite “American Idol” Contestants

Our Top 10 Favorite “American Idol” Contestants

Last night as we watched young hopefuls audition for their big break on “American Idol” it was hard not to reminisce about how some of our favorite pop stars today were once those doe-eyed contestants hoping for their time in the spotlight. As the countdown begins for the next “Idol,” we take a look back at our favorite top 10 contestants of all time. While some didn’t make it till the end, they’ll always be winners in our minds.


Season 3 winner Fantasia always brought the house down with her powerhouse vocals (that girl can sang) and spirited performance. Even she couldn’t help but cry when she sang classics like “Summertime” and Porgy and Bess." Years later ‘Tasia is a successful R&B singer with a couple of Grammy nominations under her belt. We couldn’t think of a talent more deserving.

Ruben Studdard

Season two winner Ruben’s teddy bear vocals reminded everyone of a young Luther Vandross (and he nailed his rendition of Vandross’s “Superstar”). He has since released four albums.

Jordin Sparks

Atjust 17, Jordin Sparks’ sweet voice on season six made her the youngest winner of the competition. Her self-titled debut went platinum and her single, “No Air” (with Chris Brown) is still the highest selling “Idol” single on the show’s history.

Jennifer Hudson

She may have been booted from the show but even judge Simon Cowell admitted to making a mistake when this season 3 winner went on to become an Oscar-winner for her role in “Dreamgirls.” Hudson’s diva voice continues to surprise us.

Michael “Big Mike” Lynche

Season 9 finalist "Big Mike’s voice had superstar written all over it. He continues to tour with his band.

LaToya London

Considered one of the greatest “Idol” voices, season 3 contestant LaToya London always took the competition to new levels with stunning renditions of hits like “All By Myself” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” Post-Idol, London joined the cast of “The Color Purple.”

Melinda Doolittle

The little lady with the big voice, we were all rooting for season 6 contestant Melinda Doolittle. Since Idol Doolittle has sung at the White House, released her own solo album “Coming Back to You,” and traveled to Zambia with former First Lady Laura Bush. Not bad for a shy girl from Missouri.


Season 5 finalist Mandisa Lynn Hundley is most memorable for her beautiful interpretations of classics like “Don’t You Worry About a Thing” and “I’m Every Woman.” Post-Idol Mandisa has shared her struggles and triumphs with her weight. She’s also released two albums and is said to be releasing a new one in 2011.

Kimberly Locke

You could always count on Season 2 contestant Kimberly Locke to belt out a memorable tune. Since coming in third, the Tennessee native has gone on to release three albums and become a plus-size model.

Tamyra Gray

Season 1 finalist had us at hello. With her sweet renditions of classics like Diana Ross’s “Touch Me in the Morning” and Gladys Knight’s “If I Were Your Woman” we knew this was a competition we had to take seriously. Gray has since branched off to become an actress and songwriter.