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‘American Idol’ Runner-Ups — See Where They Are Now

During American Idol‘s 15 seasons, many of today’s household names made their debut there, from Kelly Clarkson to Carrie Underwood. But the runner-ups of the singing competition show were a different story. Some found success, while others disappeared entirely.

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Probably AI‘s most famous runner-up is Katharine McPhee, who lost in season five to blues musician Taylor Hicks. But fortunately for her, her loss opened the door for new opportunities in the acting world, which was her true passion to begin with. She’s now a regular on the hit TV show Scorpion, and before that appeared in NBC’s Smash.

“Listen, I was super-grateful for Smash in so many ways,” she said in 2014. “It fulfilled all these dreams I had, but I’ve always wanted to just be an actor. It’s not something you tell everybody — you want to go out and make it happen, as opposed to just talking about it — but Smash ended up being the thing that opened doors for me.”

From Adam Lambert to Diana Degarmo, see where the rest of the Idol runner-ups are now!

Check out our gallery to see where American Idol runner-ups are up to today.