The Country Side of American Idol

UnknownWhether it was Sanjaya’s bizarre Mohawk, Simon Cowell’s cranky comments or Ryan Seacrest’s charming persona, American Idol was by far my favorite show to watch with my family as a child. The peak of its popularity was while I was in elementary school, captivating its viewers by showing the journey of each contestant from the moment they tried out, all the way until they made it to the big stage in Los Angeles. What most people might not realize is how much American Idol has contributed to the country music industry. Almost every season of American Idol produced a country singer, whether they were first place or not. Lets now go through a few contestants who have added to the success of country over the past ten years.

Unknown-1 Carrie Underwood:

Carrie was the winning contestant in Season four, and is no question the most famous artist that has ever come out of American Idol. She’s one of the hottest artists in country right now holding number 26 on iTunes Top Purchased Songs for her single “Something in the Water” and has won several awards for her work. Only some of her awards consist of six Grammy’s, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, and eleven Academy of Country Music Awards. Not only does her record breaking music success have girls all over aspire to be like her, but also her famously toned legs, attractive NHL player husband and the fact that she is insanely gorgeous contribute to that. Her powerful voice captivated millions of music listeners when she won in Season four, and has consistently been loved ever since.

Unknown-3 Scotty McCreery:

As the winner of Season ten, Scotty McCreery stole the hearts of viewers all over at a mere age of seventeen. This North Carolina native shockingly has one of the deepest voices I have ever heard that is undoubtedly country. His most famous songs that are out right now are “Feelin’ It” and “See You Tonight”. After seeing him live at the Orange County fair, I loved him way more than I ever thought that I would. He was such an incredible performer, and so down to earth. He was just so interactive with the audience and you could tell that he was my age by the way that he was acting. After the concert I followed him on Instagram and saw that his posts were so normal that you wouldn’t be able to tell that he was famous just by viewing his profile. To this day he is one of my favorite performers because of his amazing personality and his catchy music.

UnknownKellie Pickler:

Even though she wasn’t the winner of the show, she still had some success in country. Her high, twangy voice and thick country accent caused country fans to be attracted to her. She has come out with four albums since she has been eliminated on the show, and is arguably more successful than the actual winner of her season, Taylor Hicks. Many people compared her to Carrie Underwood while she was going through the show, however she put forth a lot of effort to stand out as an original artist. My personal favorite single of hers is “Best Days of Your Life” because of its catchy tune and lyrics that make you want to sing along.


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8 Responses to The Country Side of American Idol

  1. Amy, I really appreciated this post. I *don’t* follow American Idol, so it is helpful to have a list of the country artists who have started their careers there. I recently posted about CMT’s list of the most influential country performers of all time and, incredibly, Carrie Underwood ranked #40. (The only other “current” female artists on the list were Miranda Lambert and Reba.) I LOLed a bit when I saw that you had mentioned Kellie Pickler. I only know her because of her version of “Santa Baby,” which is pretty catchy. Wasn’t Julianne Hough also on American Idol? Isn’t she “kinda” country?

  2. Victoria Horvath

    Amy, I found your post really interesting as I watched A LOT of American Idol growing up (at least when it was still relevant). It is completely true that the majority of artists who actually made it big on the show were country music artists. Even Kelly Clarkson dabbled in country music after her pop career! Maybe American Idol should debut a country-centered show someday? It could be pretty interesting.

    And Dusty, Julianne Hough was actually on Dancing with the Stars, but I would count her as “semi”-country nonetheless!

  3. Zane Gurwitz

    Amy, I am very happy you created this post. I grew up watching American Idol as well and was kind of like a family tradition in my house. I think you hit the nail on the head with Carrie Underwood and Scotty McCreery. They are by far the most successful and popular contestants to come out of American Idol. Although she is not really considered country, Kelly Clarkson has been featured in a few country songs. I still remember watching Scotty’s audition and being completely amazed at how low and awesome his voice is. However, no one will come close to Carrie Underwood as far as success and popularity.

  4. Holly Kern

    Amy, I enjoyed your post! I was also (like everyone else it seems) a huge American Idol fan when growing up. I’m kinda sad that all the original judges left because that’s when I stopped watching it, it just wasn’t the same without Randy, Paula and Simon. I remember watching Carrie Underwood’s first audition in that plain pink shirt with her cute curly blond hair and who would guess she turned into the beautiful sex symbol she is. I must admit I am more of the Voice watcher now, but we do have some amazing talents to thank American Idol for.

  5. Dena Lipper

    I used to absolutely love American Idol, but it really just isn’t the same without the original judges. I watched the show very religiously (partly because I always wanted to be a contestant on it) up until the season where Scotty won. I think Carrie Underwood’s season has been my favorite, by far, though. Like Holly, I also love seeing the transformation that all contestants make from auditions to finale. I never realized how few country stars have actually emerged from the show, but I guess it really is mostly pop music and random other genres thrown in there too. I never really hear much about the show anymore, but now that you’ve put it back in my mind, I might have to go watch the next season to see how it’s doing!

  6. Alina Monzon

    Apparently it seems like everyone loved or still loves watching American Idol. I guess I am one of the only ones that did not grow up watching it. Although I would hear things going on in the show, I was not always too informed so having this post was great. I can definitely agree about Carrie Underwood. I think by now, everyone can tell I like her because I did my album project on her and music video. I think Underwood is amazing and definitely deserved to win on American Idol and all those awards since then. I also listen to Scotty McCreery but not so much Kellie Pickler but I did enjoy watching her on Dancing with the Stars. Country music is everywhere!

  7. Brittany Fietsam

    American Idol, the original singing competition show. This was definitely a favorite of mine while growing up. I was never a very good singer (LOL) but for some reason I always thought I would try out. I remember Carrie Underwood from the beginning and her small town story! She won over the hearts of many Americans from the very beginning of the show in 2005, and continues to do so today. I also loved Kellie Pickler! She was cute and fun and had a voice that sounded like older country music. I still remember my favorite performance of hers on the show. It was when she sang “I Go Out Walking.”

  8. Carilu Martinez

    Amy, I really enjoyed reading your post! I used to watch American Idol all the time and it brought back many memories. I remember my cousin and I would alternate going to each others houses to watch it. I was super excited when Carrie Underwood won season 4! I love hearing her sing and not to mention she is really beautiful. Scotty McCreery, I do not even know where to begin! It just amazes me how much talent he has! At such young age he was put in the spot light and he did not allowed fame to get to his head. He is such a humble guy and that just makes me like him even more.

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