As American Idol closes out its final season, we look back at the most memborable performances and ‘Idols’ from around the world.
The first winner of American Idol in 2002 was working as a waitress in a comedy club when her chance for pop stardom came around. Her debut single A Moment Like This became the best-selling single in America that year.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen was the most famous of the Canadian Idol contestants – even though she did not win her 2007 competition. Four years later she had written the biggest-selling digital single of all time, Call Me Maybe.
Hong Kong-born Hung’s 2005 rendition of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs made him an internet superstar. The engineering student, now 33, went on to record three albums, one selling 200,000 copies.
He is the man – although he seemed like a boy at the time – who brought worldwide interest to Arab Idol. The United Kingdom’s Financial Times called him the “Golden Boy of Gaza” recently, and last year’s film The Idol, based on his life gives this Dubai resident one of the best Idol stories of all.
She did not pass the audition but the show did make her famous. When Hasan tried out for Bulgarian Music Idol 2 in 2008, she butchered the lyrics to Harry Nilsson’s Without You, turning “can’t live” to “Ken Lee”. She even thought that is what the song was called. Hasan was later invited back as a guest on the show.
The one that got away. Hudson only made it to seventh in American Idol 2004 but two years later she was celebrating an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the screen musical Dreamgirls. An actress and singer with impressive range.
Nislen was the first winner of Norway’s Idol, Jakten pa en Superstjerne, in 2003. The plumber was the recipient of one of the greatest one-liners from a judge in Idol history: “You have the voice of an angel but you look like a hobbit”. Nilsen’s country rock, however, beat Kelly Clarkson and Will Young to the World Idol prize.
Underwood is probably the most successful Idol winner. She has sold more than 65 million of her country-flavoured albums worldwide. After her victory in 2005, Rolling Stone magazine called her “the female vocalist of her generation in any genre”. Not bad for someone who had basically given up on being a singer.