Picking up three years after the show's game-changing original run ended on FOX, the show produced dozens of singers who went on to become pop stars, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtey, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson and this past season's winner, Maddie Poppe.
However, not all of the show's 16 winners went on to become superstars, while some rejects proved not making it far on the show was not a death sentence.
Maren Morris, Hillary Scott, Naya Rivera and others did not let their Idol failures define their careers. Instead, they pressed on and found roles on TV shows or scored record deals based on their talent, not because they won a TV talent show.
Here is a look at 10 music stars who were rejected by American Idol, but still found success in the business.
Maren Morris is one of the bright young stars of country music today, but she was rejected by both The Voice and Idol.
"I think about all of the freaking talent shows I've tried out for in my life and I'm so glad I didn't make any of them," Morris told Rolling Stone. "It's full circle, because I was rejected from The Voice. I was rejected from American Idol — and I'm happier for it now."prevnext
Naya Rivera auditioned for Idol in San Francisco, but did not make it past the first round. According to Rolling Stone, she sang the Bee Gees song "Emotion," which she performed again in her audition for Glee. While Idol did not work out, Glee did.
Since Glee ended, Rivera has focused on acting and made an unsuccessful attempt to release a solo album. She now stars on YouTube's Step Up: High Water series.prevnext
Today, Hillary Scott is the lead singer of Lady Antebellum. But her career did not start off that well. She tried out for Idol twice, and failed to make it to the judges in both cases.
She later met Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, and they began writing and performing songs in Nashville. Lady Antebellum was born in 2006. They released their seventh album last year.prevnext
When Tori Kelly was only 14 years old, she auditioned for the ninth season of American Idol. She reached Hollywood, but was cut before the Top 24. Despite not doing well on Idol, she persevered.
In 2016, she was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy. Her most recent album, 2015's Unbreakable Smile, included the hits "Nobody Love" and "Should've Been Us."prevnext
Alan Ritchson famously performed a striptease during the third season of American Idol, and made it to Hollywood. After getting rejected, he went on to start an acting and modeling career. He famously played Aquaman in Smallville, and voices Raphael in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films. He will return to the DC universe in Titans, playing Hank Hall/Hawk in a recurring role.prevnext
Amber Riley auditioned during Idol's second season and was rejected by the producers. She did not let that stop her from pursuing a career in music, as she landed a role on Fox's Glee. She played Mercedes Jones on all six seasons of the show. Riley also won the 17th season of Dancing With The Stars.prevnext
According to Rolling Stone, Mary Lambert auditioned for Idol at age 16. Today, she is best known as the featured singer on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love." She also had a hit with "She Keeps Me Warm," which was derived from "Same Love." She is dating The Voice season four runner-up Michelle Chamuel.prevnext
Colbie Caillat was rejected before she even performed before the Idol judges during her first attempt. She tried again, but was rejected after performing for the judges. Instead, she found fame through MySpace and released her debut album in 2007. She continues to perform and record, even sharing a Grammy with Jason Mraz for their 2010 duet "Lucky." She was also featured on Taylor Swift's Fearless album.prevnext
Colton Swon auditioned for the seventh season of American Idol and made it to the Top 48. He joined his brother Zach for the fourth season of The Voice, and finished in fourth place. They opened for Carrie Underwood in 2016 and will release their latest single, "What Ever Happened," this year. They released a self-titled album in 2014.prevnext
Chris Lane auditioned for American Idol in season seven with his twin brother Cory. They auditioned as a beatboxing rap duo, a major departure from his career as a country singer. Today, Cory is Chris' drummer. Last year, Lane recorded the hit "Take Back Home Girl" with another famous Idol reject, Tori Kelly.prev