There are singing competitions, and then there is American Idol.
For more than 16 seasons, millions of Americans have gone on a journey week after week to discover new voices and stars in the music industry.
But as the countdown continues for season 17 with Ryan Seacrest, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, E! News caught up with several past contestants for an E! News deep-dive concluding tonight at 7 p.m. They all agreed on one thing: American Idol can absolutely change your life for the better.
"Idol was incredible for me. When I was on the show, I learned so much. I was bagging groceries before I was on Idol and didn't know the littlest thing about the music business," season 10 winner Scotty McCreery shared with E! News exclusively at Angus Barn Restaurant in North Carolina. "I learned a lot. They took me under their wing…I feel Idol prepares you for the craziness of the music businesses."