From Carrie to Kelly, American Idol’s Greatest Hitmakers | Toronto Star

08 Apr 2016

Our music critic assesses the American Idol graduates who came closest to achieving their musical dreams.

If, like me, you’ve never seen an entire episode of American Idol in your life, you’ve still not been able to completely escape the large influence it has exerted over contemporary pop music for the past 15 years.

For good or ill, the show — which wraps up its “Farewell Season” on Fox on Thursday night — has foisted a lot of would-be pop stars on the public, some of whom have actually gone on to become real pop stars.

Granted, for every bona fide chart queen like Kelly Clarkson there are half a dozen Lee DeWyzes or Josiah Lemings or Carmen Rasmusens who’ve quietly gone back to waiting tables for a living and playing the occasional state-fair gig after seeing their post-Idol album releases fail to generate much excitement.

But, hey, a few American Idol graduates did get to live the dream, at least for a little while. Here are seven of the best.

3. Adam Lambert

One of the more colourful personalities to emerge from the Idol fold, Lambert always had the air of a pop star about him even though he wound up leaving Season 8 as a runner-up to victor Kris Allen. Turns out Lambert didn’t need the win, anyway, since he’s released three successful, appealingly glammed-up records since. He even had the honour of being the first “out” gay man to top the Billboard 200 with 2012’s Trespassing. To top all that off, he’s been Freddie Mercury’s replacement in Queen for the past five years and done a rather good job of filling those very big shoes. “Whataya Want From Me”

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