Now that we’re all caught up on our favorite American Idol winners, we’re turning our attention to all the talented singers who came in second place. Quite a few went on to launch hugely successful careers (oh hey, Adam Lambert) while others ventured into new territories, like acting and politics. But if there’s anything we’ve learned from this talented group, it’s that runners up can also make it big. So, is Justin Guarini still pursuing music? And what has Crystal Bowersox been up to these days? As we continue to celebrate the milestone 20th season of the competition series, we’re revisiting the full American Idol runners up list to see where they are now.Yes, we’re totally guilty of shipping Kelly Clarkson and Guarini as a couple after they filmed From Justin to Kelly. But aside from making a musical rom-com, he released two studio albums, partnered with Dr. Pepper (you might remember him as “Lil’ Sweet”) and even appeared on Broadway, making his debut in the musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Since then, the actor and singer has starred in at least a dozen more plays, including Rent, Chicago, Wicked and his latest work, Once Upon a One More Time. Additionally, he released a best-selling book called Audition Secrets.
This vocal powerhouse went from winning hearts on the American Idol stage to winning votes as a determined Southern politician. He released six studio albums and sold more than 5 million copies, making him the fourth highest earning Idol contestant. He also acted on Broadway and appeared in a number of TV shows, from Scrubs to The Office. But by 2013, the gay rights activist decided to shift his focus to politics and ran for Congress in North Carolina. Though he won the Democratic primary, he lost to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers—but he’s definitely not giving up. In January, he announced he’s running for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina’s fourth congressional district.Like DeGarmo’s website bio reads, she has “conquered it all and then some.” After Idol, the singer and actress released two albums and two EPs, including her 2019 release, Gemini. She also dabbled in musical theater, making her Broadway debut in Hairspray as Penny Pingleton in 2006, then moving on to shows like Brooklyn: The Musical and The Toxic Avenger.
In 2011, DeGarmo landed a recurring role as Angelina Veneziano on The Young and the Restless. Since then, she has taken on a few TV and film roles, including All About Christmas Eve and After the Sun Fell. (Fun fact: DeGarmo is currently married to Ace Young, an American Idol finalist from season five.) Like DeGarmo’s website bio reads, she has “conquered it all and then some.” After Idol, the singer and actress released two albums and two EPs, including her 2019 release, Gemini. She also dabbled in musical theater, making her Broadway debut in Hairspray as Penny Pingleton in 2006, then moving on to shows like Brooklyn: The Musical and The Toxic Avenger.