10 surprising things you probably didn’t know about ‘American Idol’

Carrie Underwood became one of the most successful contestants from

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Carrie Underwood became one of the most successful contestants from “American Idol.”
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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Since its premiere in 2002, American Idol has scoured the nation for the next big singing sensations. Originally starring judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, the show has helped launch the careers of some well-known musicians like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

The singing competition initially premiered on Fox and aired its “farewell season” in 2016. Shortly after, ABC revived the show and aired its 16th season in 2017. It has since been renewed for another season that’s set to air between late 2018 and early 2019.

Here are some surprising things you probably didn’t know about “American Idol” to help hold you over until the season 17 premiere.


1. Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini dated after “Idol.”

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They dated after the show finished filming.
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Getty/Kevin Winter

The two were the final two contestants on the first season of “American Idol.”

Clarkson herself confirmed she dated fellow contestant Justin Guarini, but not until after the show finished filming.


2. “American Idol” isn’t an original American show.

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“Pop Idol” aired from 2001 to 2003.
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YouTube screencap

The competition show was inspired by “Pop Idol,” a UK-based show of a similar concept. Simon Cowell was a judge “Pop Idol” before becoming a judge on “American Idol.”


3. Ryan Seacrest initially had a co-host.

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Dunkleman (right) ended up leaving the show early on.
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Kevin Winter/ImageDirect via Getty Images

Although Ryan Seacrest is still the host of “American Idol,” it wasn’t always a one-man job.

In the first season, Seacrest was a co-host with Brian Dunkleman. Dunkleman eventually left the show but appeared on “American Idol” once more during the season 15 finale.


4. Many now-famous musicians didn’t make it onto “American Idol.”

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Colbie Caillat found success without “American Idol.”
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Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

It’s hard to believe, but stars like Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, and Colbie Caillat were just some of the many famous singers who were rejected during “American Idol” auditions.


5. Paula Abdul quit several times during her first day.

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The show wouldn’t have been the same without her.
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Robert Mora/Getty Images

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Paula Abdul reveals she quit eight times during her first day on the job. But, she stayed and remained a judge for eight seasons.


6. Carrie Underwood is one of the most successful contestants of the show.

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She’s won multiple Grammy awards.
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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

With a net worth of $70 million, five albums, seven Grammy awards and a host of other impressive achievements to her name, Carrie Underwood is considered the most successful contestant of “American Idol.”


7. Kanye West once auditioned for the show.

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He’s also performed on the show on other occasions.
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FOX

In a stunt to promote what was then known as “The Farewell Season,” Kanye West auditioned for season 15 of “American Idol.” Of course, he rapped his iconic “Gold Digger” song for the judges and received a Golden Ticket.


8. There are multiple “American Idol” video games.

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It came with a microphone that hooked up to your gaming system.
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Konami

The show was popular enough to inspire multiple video games, like “Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol” and “Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore.”

In both games, the player competes on their own version of the singing competition. Plus, two of the in-game judges were actually voiced by Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell.


9. Ellen DeGeneres was briefly a judge on the show.

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She was a judge for one season.
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FOX

Ellen DeGeneres was a judge on “American Idol” during season nine. She was initially hired to replace Paula Abdul but chose not to return for the tenth season of the show.

According to Us Weekly, in an interview with Howard Stern, DeGeneres said being a judge was one of the worst decisions she ever made- mostly because she found it difficult to give honest feedback to the singers, especially when it was negative. She didn’t want to break someone’s heart.


10. You can purchase and play an American Idol version of Monopoly.

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The game includes contestants from five seasons.
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Amazon/USAopoly

It’s called “Monopoly: My American Idol Collector’s Edition,” and, instead of buying properties, players can invest in their favorite contestants.

According to its product description, players can choose from 50 contestant stickers to stick onto the 22 empty spaces on the board, making it a “different game every time.”

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