Photo: Matt Stroshane/Getty Images
How Many "American Idol" Winners Have Won GRAMMYs? A Rundown Of Wins And Nominations For Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood & More
As "American Idol" season 20 comes to a close, take a look at all of the "Idol" winners and contestants that have won or been nominated for GRAMMYs.
For the past 20 years, "American Idol" has helped discover some of the biggest names in pop, country, R&B and beyond. As “Idol” winners and contestants have had success in the music industry, many have been awarded with GRAMMY wins and nominations.
Season 20 wraps up with the finale on May 22, when HunterGirl, Leah Marlene and Noah Thompson will compete to be the latest "American Idol" winner. This season has seen several contestants who play instruments or are also songwriters; the talent has been touted as some of the best Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan have seen in their five seasons as judges.
Will any of this year's finalists end up in the GRAMMY ranks with their "Idol" predecessors? Time will tell, but for now, see how many "American Idol" winners and contestants have scored GRAMMY Awards and GRAMMY nominations.
Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson and Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard were the first "Idol" winners to be nominated for a GRAMMY, both receiving nominations in 2004. Clarkson became the first "Idol" winner to win a GRAMMY two years later, when she scooped up two awards: Best Pop Vocal Album for Breakaway, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her smash "Since U Been Gone."
Clarkson became the first "Idol" contestant to win a GRAMMY for an album twice in 2013, when she won the Best Pop Vocal Album GRAMMY for 2011's Stronger. To date, Kelly Clarkson has won three GRAMMYs and has received 15 nominations.
Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood has won eight GRAMMYs and has received a total of 16 nominations, making her the "Idol" contestant with the most GRAMMY wins and nominations. Her most recent win came in 2022, when she won Best Roots Gospel Album for her 2021 release, My Savior.
Underwood is the only "Idol" winner (and contestant) to win Best New Artist. Until 2022, she was the only "Idol" alum to even be nominated for the coveted award, but her fellow country star Jimmie Allen joined that rare rank.
Along with Underwood, Clarkson and Studdard, Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino and Season 6 champion Jordin Sparks are the only other winners to be nominated for a GRAMMY. Though Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks hasn't technically received a nomination, he was featured on Jimmy Fallon's 2012 album Blow Your Pants Off (on the track "Friday"), which won Best Comedy Album in 2013.
Season 8's Adam Lambert is the only "Idol" runner-up to be nominated for a GRAMMY. He was nominated for a Best Male Pop Vocal Performance GRAMMY for "Whataya Want From Me" in 2011.
Perhaps two of the most remarkable GRAMMY-winning "Idol" alums are Jennifer Hudson and Tori Kelly. Each have two GRAMMYs to their name, but clearly "Idol" viewers and judges didn't see the star within: Hudson placed seventh on Season 3, and Kelly was cut before the top 24 on Season 9.
Another GRAMMY-nominated finalist who finished outside of the top 3 is Chris Daughtry, who placed fourth on Season 5. Daughtry has been nominated for four GRAMMYs, all of which came in 2008 thanks to his eponymous debut album and its hits "It's Not Over" and "Home." (Fellow Season 5 contestant Ace Young co-wrote "It's Not Over," making him another GRAMMY-nominated "Idol" star, as the single earned a Best Rock Song nomination.)
Mandisa, who placed ninth on Daughtry's season, is also a GRAMMY-winning finalist, as her 2013 album, Overcomer, won a Best Contemporary Christian Music Album GRAMMY in 2014. (She has received five nominations overall.)
Season 8's third place contestant, Danny Gokey, has also had a successful career in Christian music. He has been nominated for three GRAMMYs, with two of his albums receiving Best Contemporary Christian Music Album nods and his song "Haven't Seen It Yet" earning a Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song nom.
A number of "Idol" alums have proven you don't have to win "American Idol" to win a GRAMMY or earn a GRAMMY nomination. Whatever the outcome of Season 20, be sure to keep watch on your favorite contestants — you might just see them on the GRAMMY stage one day.
Maroon 5 Auction To Benefit GRAMMY Foundation
Auction offers pairs of tickets to GRAMMY-winning band's Southern California dates on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6
The GRAMMY Foundation will auction 80 pairs of tickets to Maroon 5's upcoming performances with Kelly Clarkson and Rozzi Crane on Oct. 4 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, Calif., and Oct. 6 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The auction for both concerts is open now and ends Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. PST.
Proceeds will benefit the GRAMMY Foundation, which cultivates the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the impact of music on American culture through music education programs, scholarships and grants.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations: Jennifer Hudson
From timeless classics to infectious pop gems, GRAMMY winner Jennifer Hudson goes deep on six influential GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings
(To commemorate the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame's 40th Anniversary in 2013, GRAMMY.com has launched GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations. The ongoing series will feature conversations with various individuals who will identify GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings that have influenced them and helped shape their careers.)
Vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson grew up in Chicago in the '80s and '90s, but it was a piece of classic '70s disco that first made her want to put her talents to use as a professional performer.
"When I heard 'Got To Be Real' [by Cheryl Lynn] it just grabbed me," says Hudson. "That was the song that made me think, 'Oh God — that's what I want to do.' I'd mark off a little stage on the floor and hold my hairbrush microphone and jump up and down. I'd lose it."
A solid disco beat can still move her, but Hudson also cites gospel music as a major influence, having sung often in the church in her childhood with an extended family of talented vocalists.
Hudson got the chance to make her own music career real in 2004 when she delivered several knockout performances as a contestant on "American Idol." Her breakout role in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls followed in 2006, and two years later she took home Best R&B Album honors for her self-titled debut at the 51st GRAMMY Awards [link to show page].
With plans underway for her third studio album, Hudson reigns as one of the most gifted and affecting performers of her generation. Here are six recordings from the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame that continue to make her want to reach for the microphone — hairbrush or otherwise.
"I have a hard time remembering what I was doing the first time I heard a lot of the Whitney songs because I went crazy for everything she did. That first album really had an effect on me. 'Saving All My Love For You,' 'How Will I Know,' 'Greatest Love Of All' — just saying the names of the songs makes me want to cry all over again. I do remember that 'Greatest Love Of All' was a total game changer for me. It was a song that had a very different kind of power. It didn't make you want to dance like my other favorites had done — this one captivated you. It put you into a trance. You started listening to that song and the world around you went silent.
"Whitney had that effect right from the start. There's a time to dance, and there's a time to listen, and Whitney had a voice that you had to listen to. The thing that has always amazed me is that her music is so powerful, and yet it's so soothing. In some ways it's perfect ear candy, but it can also move you to tears."
"When it is time to dance, this is the [song]. I think everybody has the experience with music that certain songs are powerful enough to take you right back to a certain time and place. There are songs you appreciate for the music, but there are songs you just feel are like old friends — you've got some history with them. For me, hearing Patti LaBelle and the group singing 'Lady Marmalade' takes me right back to the times when I was first getting so excited about music. This is the kind of song that just made me jump up and want to be a part of what was going on.
"I also remember being impressed by the look and the image of LaBelle too, which I didn't really know about until I'd already been familiar with the song. [They were] so much fun, and so expressive. I wish things were a little more like that now. Sometimes it feels like everything's been done. You think somebody has a new look and it turns out LaBelle [were] already there.
"Oh Happy Day"
Edwin Hawkins Singers
"I started out singing in church choruses, and even before I was singing I was sitting [on] my grandmother's lap while she was singing the chorus on Sunday or at choir rehearsal. My whole family sang — my grandmother was the youngest of 11 siblings and they all sang together as a group. I remember they'd do these warm-ups where they'd go around and everybody in the family had to sing their name: 'My name is Jennifer Hudson, how do you do?'
"I always loved that feeling of being surrounded by music and family, and that's a feeling I get from 'Oh Happy Day,' which is kind of funny because for all the singing we did in church, I don't think we sang that song. Once I heard it though, I couldn't get enough of it. It's one of those great pieces of music that's a real church song, but it gets you there just like any great up-tempo pop song. It gives you that great feeling of energy and makes you smile. It does what the title tells you it does — makes your day a happier one."
"Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Simon & Garfunkel
"I just absolutely love this song, and have from the first time I heard it. But for a long time what I was familiar with was the Aretha Franklin version. A friend finally introduced me to the Simon & Garfunkel original. Their recording is so perfect and so heavenly — every time I hear it I either want to sing along with the whole thing, or just say, 'Hallelujah.' The sound is so pure and the arrangement is so beautiful, it just sends you away. Then, when you really listen to the words, it's beautiful on a whole different level. What does everyone want in life but a bridge over troubled water?
"This is the kind of song that makes me wonder: When it was being written and recorded, did they have a sense of how amazing and timeless this was? Did they know from the start it was a masterpiece? I think we musicians know when we've done the best we can do, and that's a great feeling. But I wonder if there's an extra awareness when you create something that's just going to last forever. This song is definitely in that category."
"The Way We Were"
"I don't remember my first time hearing Barbra Streisand. I just think I was always aware that she was the top — that she's as good as you can get as a singer and a performer.
"The first time I really became aware of just how special a talent she had was when I actually had to get it together to sing a couple of her songs at one of Clive Davis' Pre-GRAMMY [Galas]. It was a tribute for her, and two days before the show Clive asked me to sing 'People' and 'The Way We Were.' I had to take on these two gigantic signature songs — songs that aren't easy to deliver — and sing them with her sitting right in front of me. Are you kidding me? I almost lost my mind.
"She makes the first few lines of 'People' sound so easy, but melodically it's very difficult to get it just right. To this day I want to sing that over again and get it right — a little more right. I think I must have spoken to her after I sang, but I was so terrified I don't remember a thing. I think she was smiling, but I don't know. I love her. I'd sing for her again if I could — but maybe not one of her songs."
(Jennifer Hudson won her first career GRAMMY in 2008 for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson. As an actress, her role in the 2006 film Dreamgirls earned her numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. A day after the death of Whitney Houston on Feb. 11, 2012, Hudson performed "I Will Always Love You" as a special tribute on the 54th GRAMMY Awards telecast.)
(Chuck Crisafulli is an L.A.-based journalist and author whose most recent works include Go To Hell: A Heated History Of The Underworld, Me And A Guy Named Elvis and Elvis: My Best Man.)
Special GRAMMY Tribute To Honor Whitney Houston
Jennifer Hudson to pay tribute to late GRAMMY-winning artist on the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards
A special musical tribute to six-time GRAMMY winner Whitney Houston featuring GRAMMY-winning artist Jennifer Hudson has been added to the lineup for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Houston died Feb. 11 at age 48. A cause of death was not disclosed.
"A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy.
Houston won her first GRAMMY Award in 1985 for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Saving All My Love For You." She won the same award in 1987 for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)." In 1993 Houston won three GRAMMYs: Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and Record Of The Year for "I Will Always Love You"; and Album Of The Year for The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack. Houston's most recent GRAMMY win came in 1999 for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "It's Not Right But It's Okay."
Hudson won her first career GRAMMY in 2008 for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson.
The show is produced by John Cossette Productions and AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich is executive producer, Louis J. Horvitz is director, and David Wild and Ken Ehrlich are the writers.
The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place live on Sunday, Feb. 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in high definition and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The show also will be supported on radio worldwide via Westwood One/Dial Global, and covered online at GRAMMY.com and CBS.com, and on YouTube.
Follow GRAMMY.com for our inside look at GRAMMY news, blogs, photos, videos, and of course nominees. Stay up to the minute with GRAMMY Live. Check out the GRAMMY legacy with GRAMMY Rewind. Keep track of this year's GRAMMY Week events, and explore this year's GRAMMY Fields. Or check out the collaborations at Re:Generation, presented by Hyundai Veloster. And join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Jackson Tops Dead Earners List
Jackson Tops Dead Earners List
GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Michael Jackson topped Forbes' annual list of top-earning dead celebrities with $275 million, earning more than the combined total of the other 12 celebrities on the list. Elvis Presley ranked second with $60 million, John Lennon placed fifth with $17 million and Jimi Hendrix tied for 11th place with $6 million. Forbes compiled the list based on gross earnings between October 2009 and October 2010. (10/26)
UK Arts Council Announces Budget Cut Plans
Following a previous report, Arts Council England has revealed plans to implement the 30 percent cut to the UK's arts funding budget. The cuts will include a 7 percent cash cut for UK arts organizations in 2011–2012, a 15 percent cut for the regular funding of arts organizations by 2014–2015 and a 50 percent reduction to the council's operating costs. (10/26)
GRAMMY Winners To Perform At World Series
GRAMMY winners Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum and John Legend are scheduled to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" during Major League Baseball's 2010 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. Legend and Lady Antebellum will perform at games one and two in San Francisco on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, respectively, and Clarkson will perform at game three on Oct. 30 in Arlington, Texas. (10/26)