Singing competitions have been around for as long as we can remember, but in 2002, they stormed the national television networks with American Idol, which in its first season, was watched by over 23 million viewers. Since then, they have grown into an entertainment phenomenon that people crave to watch.
One unique thing about American Idol was that it gave the viewer several options. You could either vote for the artist you liked or you could line up outside your hometown stadium for a chance to show America what you got. This feature helped to drive their ratings way up. Years later, similar shows like X-Factor and The Voice followed.
But what is their role? Are they a money-making gimmick or are they really building the next generation of star singers?
Since American Idol, there have been other singing contests, like Simon Cowell's X-Factor. The Voice is another singing competition that started in 2011. But none have had the success stories equal to American Idol. Televised singing competitions have benefited much since they first began in 2002. And today we have talented artists who used singing competitions to get their chance to shine. Here are five artists that have used singing competitions as a platform to make their dreams come true in a big way.
Before she flooded the airwaves with "Without Me", she was in that long line waiting to prove herself to Idol judges. Fantasia was definitely a big addition to the music industry. She was passionate, she had her story and struggle and she helped make American Idol work for the music industry. She also does a good job blending into the music industry by doing collaborations with artists like Missy Elliot and Kelly Rowland.
American Idol also did a good job for Ruben Studdard. He was the winner of season two and went on to be a Grammy Award nominated star. Ruben Studdard has recorded five albums and has made several television show appearances. So the singing competition worked for him and the music industry.
Kelly Clarkson was a big plus for the music industry — she was also the first singer to win American Idol and proved that the singing competition did work. Kelly dropped a successful debut album in 2003. Since then she has been a dominant vocal powerhouse in the music industry.
Jennifer Hudson has gotten a lot of exposure from being on American Idol. She's been in advertisements and movies from the singing competition's publicity. In 2004, Hudson came in seventh place in season 3 of American Idol. Nevertheless, she has become a Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum star. Jennifer Hudson also starred in the 2006 musical film, Dreamgirls, beside Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Beyonce. For Jennifer Hudson, yes the singing competition worked out good.
There is no doubt that Jordin Sparks owes it all to singing competition exposure. Sparks rose to fame with her hit single, "No Air", a ballad with singer Chris Brown. But before she had "No Air", she was the youngest winner of American Idol at age 17.