Successful Artists Who Auditioned for Talent Shows

It’s been twenty years since Kelly Clarkson won the first-ever edition of the ‘American Idol’. And while winners like Clarkson and Carrie Underwood rose to fame after winning talent shows, many pop stars and artists have auditioned for talent shows and found success even after they were rejected or eliminated. 

Harry Styles, Camila Cabello, ZAYN, and Normani are some solo artists who first auditioned for ‘The X Factor’. They were all called back along with other contestants to form the groups One Direction (which consisted of Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne) and Fifth Harmony (Camila Cabello, Normani, Lauren Jauregui, Dinah Jane, and Ally Brooke). Little Mix, one of the biggest girl groups on the planet, too were formed on ‘The X Factor’

We’ve compiled a list of some successful artists who auditioned for talent shows –

Britney Spears

Being a passionate singer and dancer from a very young age, the ‘Toxic’ hitmaker entered the talent show ‘Star Search’ when she was ten years old. Despite being beaten by her competitor, Britney is now an influential singer in the realm of pop music. She has offered us hits like ‘…Baby One More Time’, ‘Gimme More’, and ‘Oops!…I Did It Again’, with a total of nine studio albums released in her career.

Her debut album ‘…Baby One More Time’ came in 1999, and her last album ‘Glory’ was released seven years ago in 2016. With an MTV Video Vanguard Award, her first album and debut single ‘…Baby One More Time’ becoming one of the best-selling albums and songs, she is one of the greatest pop artists in music history. 


R&B singer Usher was 13 when he was on ‘Star Search’. He held the record of holding the longest note any child did on the show. The Texas-born star’s record was 12 seconds. Although the singer didn’t win the competition, he made a name for himself as he was signed to LaFace Records.

‘DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love’, ‘Yeah!’, ‘My Boo’ are some of his hits, and the star even won Grammy awards for the last two. He has taken home 8 Grammy awards and 18 Billboard Music Awards in his career, among other accomplishments. Later in his career, Usher became a coach on the popular singing competition on television called ‘The Voice’.

Christina Aguilera

Just like most artists mentioned earlier, this powerful vocalist appeared on ‘Star Search’ too. She was on the show in 1990. The star didn’t win, but now she is lauded to be the “Voice of a Generation.” Xtina has received 20 Grammy nominations and won 5 awards. She was also named the Female Artist of the Year in 2000 at the Billboard Music Awards. The singer has released ten studio albums since her self-titled debut album in 1999. Her latest album ‘AGUILERA’ came out this year in May. Some of her hits include ‘Genie In a Bottle’, ‘Beautiful’, and ‘What A Girl Wants’. Aguilera was also a judge on ‘The Voice’.

Carly Rae Jepsen

The ‘Call Me Maybe’ singer not only auditioned for a talent show but finished third on one! She appeared on Canadian Idol. Jepsen has received an American Music Award, 2 Billboard Music Awards, and 2 Grammy nominations for her song ‘Call Me Maybe’. They were Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. She has released five albums so far. Carly’s upcoming album ‘The Loneliest Time’ comes out on October 21. ‘I Really Like You’, ‘Run Away With Me’, and ‘Cut to the Feeling’ are some of her hits and well-known songs.


The incredibly talented and celebrated artist Beyoncé too has showcased her skills before judges on talent shows. The star began her musical journey at the age of 7. She sang John Lennon’s popular song ‘Imagine’ at her first talent show. This led her to more wins at local talent shows. In 1990, the ‘Break My Soul’ hitmaker went on to form a group that would become one of the most widely-known girl groups of all time. They first went by the name ‘Girl’s Tyme’.

The group auditioned for the US show ‘Star Search’. Its members were Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, LeToya Luckett, and Beyoncé. The group, which was eliminated, later went on to sell over 60 million records worldwide as ‘Destiny’s Child’. It spawned hits like ‘Say My Name’, ‘Survivor’, and ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’.

Since her departure from ‘Destiny’s Child’, the star boasts a collection of 28 Grammy wins and 79 nominations – the most-nominated female artist in GRAMMY history. Beyoncé has been awarded 14 AMAs, 28 Billboard Music Awards, 3 Brit Awards, and 28 MTV VMAs and was also honored with a Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 2014. She also received a nod at the Academy Awards for lending her voice to the song ‘Be Alive’ for the film ‘King Richar

The singer’s 2018 documentary film ‘Homecoming’ even bagged Emmy nominations. She is one of the greatest artists in music history and one of the most successful solo artists.

Tori Kelly

Before her musical career could take off, Tori Kelly auditioned for ‘American Idol’. She was 16 at the time and although she was eliminated, that wasn’t the end of her career in music. She had a long way to go.

The ‘Should’ve Been Us’ singer has released 4 albums until now. Her second studio album ‘Hiding Place’ even won a Grammy for Best Gospel Album. She is also a Billboard Music Award winner. Some of her well-known songs include ‘Nobody Love’, ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ feat. Ed Sheeran, and ‘Dear No One’. Kelly also took home the Best Gospel Performance/Song at the Grammy in 2019 for ‘Never Alone’ (with Kirk Franklin).

Bebe Rexha

Bebe Rexha auditioned for ‘American Idol’. The ‘I’m A Mess’ didn’t get through but she still has a successful career with many accolades under her belt.

She co-wrote ‘The Monster’, which was performed by Eminem and Rihanna. It won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Bebe has also collaborated with artists such as Nicki Minaj, G-Eazy, Martin Garrix, and Florida Georgia Line on hits ‘No Broken Hearts’, ‘Me, Myself & I’, ‘In the Name of Love’, and ‘Meant To Be’, respectively. Last month she released a song with David Guetta called ‘I’m Good (Blue)’. 

Maren Morris

Country music and pop star Maren Morris has auditioned for talent shows too. They included ‘American Idol’, ‘The Voice’, and ‘America’s Got Talent‘. She even shared her American Idol audition ticket on Instagram. Her Instagram post read: “My mom found my American Idol audition ticket from 2007. I didn’t make it past the first round cattle call… I wasn’t really into sports growing up but this feels like the equivalent of your mom saving your 10th place trophy. ??”

‘The Middle’ hitmaker Morris was rejected from all those talent shows, but she didn’t give up. She was 17 when she auditioned for ‘Amerian Idol’ but now the 32-year-old star has released 3 studio albums. Her popular songs include ‘The Bones’ and ‘Good Friends’ off her latest album ‘Humble Quest’, which was released in March this year. 


Superstar Rihanna has taken over the world! She’s not only the “best selling digital artist of all time” but also has a great influence on fashion. RiRi was even honored with a CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers) award for Fashion Icon in 2014.

The ‘Needed Me’ singer was also honored with the Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award in 2017. She is also an entrepreneur who launched Fenty Beauty – a cosmetics brand, Savage X Fenty – a lingerie brand, and has even acted alongside greats like Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett. Rihanna won her high school talent competition when she was younger. She was also in a school beauty pageant before she could step into the world of music and business.

Rihanna has won 13 American Music Awards, 12 BBMAs, 2 Brit Awards, 8 GRAMMYs, and 7 MTV Video Music Awards including a Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. ‘Love On The Brain’, ‘Don’t Stop The Music’, ‘Only Girl (In The World)’, and ‘Diamonds’ are some of her biggest hits.

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