Nearly 20 years ago, the world became infatuated with a certain televised singing competition.
Long before Blake Shelton spun around in a giant red chair on The Voice or The X-Factor introduced fans to One Direction, there was American Idol. It was one of the first shows to find a new solo artist determined by the hearts and minds of the people…a real democratic rise to stardom, if you will.
Not only did it help skyrocket Ryan Seacrest into superstardom, but it also gifted us with Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and countless other household names whose music we are still listening to on repeat. And today, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie are making sure America's talent is still getting a chance to shine thanks to the reboot of the beloved franchise. (The original FOX hit signed off air in 2016 after 15 seasons and made its grand return to ABC in March 2018.)
Now, in honor of Fantasia Barrino's, birthday, we're taking a trip down memory lane and checking in on some contestants of years past!