10 ‘American Idol’ Contestants in Movies And Scripted TV

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

American Idol can be a helpful stepping stone for up-and-coming artists trying achieve their goals. Some contestants are even able to expand their careers into other avenues like movies or scripted TV.

Here are 10 American Idol alums who have been able to cross over into the film and television industry.

1. Jennifer Hudson

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Despite placing seventh on the third season of American Idol, Hudson’s career took off after the show. In 2007 she played Effie White in the major motion picture Dreamgirls, which also starred Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy. Hudson even took home an Academy Award for best actress in a supporting role. Since then, she has been in a slew of other movies and TV shows including Empire on Fox, Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, and Sex and the City. Most recently, Hudson is being cast to play Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic Respect.

2. Kelly Clarkson

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Kelly took a shot at the big screen not long after her win on American Idol, when she starred in the film From Justin to Kelly. Along with her fellow Idol alum Justin Guarini, she appeared in this unfortunate movie with a musical story. Consequently the movie tanked, and Kelly rarely dips her toe into the acting world these days.

3. Katharine McPhee

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Katharine is the prime example of someone who was able to use American Idol as a launch pad into a lucrative career. After being runner-up on Idol she quickly transitioned into the movie business. After a cameo in Ugly Betty and some smaller roles, she appeared in the hilarious movie The House Bunny. Since then she had been cast in a slew of other major network TV shows, including Community, Smash, and Scorpion. Katharine is now a major working actress, and can surely thank American Idol for getting her foot in the door.

4. Jordin Sparks

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Jordin took the title of winner in the sixth season of American Idol at 17 years old and stays on top of her game. She hasn’t stopped making hits, and has a strong presence in the film industry as well. Jordin appeared in a number of film and TV episodes, but is most known for her role in Sparkle. In 2012 she played the protagonist in a musical drama with the late Whitney Houston. The film got mixed reviews, but helped solidify her career as an actress.

5. Carrie Underwood

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie’s music career never dipped after American Idol, but she thought she’d try out acting anyway. Carrie appeared in a number of cameos across movies and TV and even had a small role on How I Met Your Mother. Her biggest venture into the acting world was the role of Sarah Hill in the film Soul Surfer. Carrie played a main character in a true story about a surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irGi4LOV9gg

6. Alan Ritchson

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Though you may not recognize him, Alan has had the most fluid transition into the TV business, using his time on American Idol to launch a successful acting career. Allen didn’t make it past Hollywood, but his looks and skills propelled him into the spotlight. He’s acted in more than 40 substantial roles including being a main chapter on multiple TV shows. Most notably he played Arthur Curry in the Superman TV show Smallville, and Thad Castle in Blue Mountain State.

7. Ruben Studdard

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Ruben was the winner of the second season of American Idol, and even went on to win a grammy. He’s had moderate success crossing over into acting but nothing too major. His roles include episodes of: One on One, 8 Simple Rules, Life on a Stick, as well as a few other shows and movies. Ruben continues to focus on his music career, and on stage performances.

8. Ashley Hartman

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Ashley didn’t make it very far getting to the top 32 on season 2 of American Idol. Luckily, she’s a beautiful Orange County native, and was picked up for a recurring role on Fox’s The O.C. Ashley also worked on a few other movies and tv shows, but was more successful with on camera hosting.

9. Fantasia Barrino

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Yet another winner of American Idol, Fantasia took first place in season 3, and continues to impress. Fantasia has had a few issues since her appearance on the show, but she’s pressing on and making moves. She even had two seasons of her own reality show on VH1. She had a small vocal role on an episode of The Simpsons, and played Aretha Franklin in the show American Dreams. Most recently she has been cast as Celie in an upcoming adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.

10. Adam Lambert

Matt Beck | Talent Recap

Adam finished his run on Idol as runner up on the 7th season. He’s continued to be incredibly successful with his music career, but thought he’d try his hand at acting. Adam appeared in 5 episodes of the hit show Glee, as Elliott “Starchild” Gilbert. Since then he’s kept his acting to a minimum, but had a small uncredited role in the Bohemian Rhapsody.

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Matt Beck
Matt Beck

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