Twelve years ago, music competitions entered the reality world with the birth of American Idol. Since then we have seen Nashville Star, Rockstar I*N*X*S and Supernova, The Voice and X-Factor, as well as Platinum Hit. With the exception of two American Idols (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Anderson), none of the winners have made much of a splash in the music business. How many of you can even name the other nine winners of American Idol? (In case you're interested, they are Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreedy and Phillip Phillips.)
On the other hand, many of the non-winners have made it big, not just in music, but also in film, television and Broadway.
Jennifer Hudson (AI Season 3) has become a movie star, won an Oscar, and is currently part of the cast of NBC Smash, ironically co-starring opposite another American Idol runner-up, Season 5's Katharine MacPhee. In fact, four other Season 5 contestants have made a bigger splash than did the winner, Taylor Hicks. Chris Daughtry has enjoyed success with his band, while Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington blossomed in the country arena and Elliott Yamin in the pop arena. Others that have made a splash include Season 2's Josh Gracin (country) and Season 9's Adam Lambert (pop/rock). In addition, Constantine Maroulis (AI Season 4) is currently touring as a cast member in the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde.
But the biggest "non-winner" has to be Nashville Star Season 1's Miranda Lambert, who has not only become as big a star as Carrie Underwood, garnering award after award, but also managed to land her male counterpart in Blake Shelton.
So, while getting on a music competition reality show may be great for your career, history has shown that it is better to be a runner-up than a champion.