It’s been 18 years (!) since Kelly Clarkson, a then-not famous person, became the O.G. American Idol, aka a forever-wildly famous person. Yep, she launched a crazy successful career from a reality TV show. Whether she’s putting out hit records, judging The Voice or hosting her own talk show, she’s the true poster child for success. But long before 22 million people watched Clarkson win, Star Search was the original hit maker. Beyoncé, Usher, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera all took a shot at following their dreams. *pause for single tear to stream down face*
The truth is, you can find talent anywhere, whether it’s on a reality TV show, a YouTube channel, or a subway station. Reality TV competition shows like American Idol and The Voice get a bad rap for being an easy way to a record label, but there’s no doubt that these contestants are putting in the work. And the successful ones don’t just stop after the show ends. I mean, do you know how busy Carrie Underwood is?? Very busy, ppl!
And while there are a LOT of contestants whose stardom has failed to launch, reality TV show competitions are still churning out a lot of stars. Hey, you don’t even have to win. Jennifer Hudson finished seventh on American Idol and then won a freaking Academy Award (!) for her role in Dreamgirls. Anyway, here are 25 artists who rose to fame after appearing on a reality TV show. (Kevin Winter - Getty Images)