'American Idol' Stars: Where Are They Now?

by AOL TV Staff, posted Jan 11th 2008 6:00AM
Call it what you will -- the downfall of pop music or its savior -- there's no denying that 'American Idol' is a fickle god-maker.

Some winners have found great success (hello, Kelly!), some have been dumped by their labels (so sorry, Ruben and Taylor), while some also-rans have gone on to bigger and better things.

We check in on 30 'AI' alums and fill you in on which ones are in trouble with the law, which are still giving it their best shot ... and which have fallen off the radar.
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American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Call it what you will -- the downfall of pop music or its savior -- there's no denying that 'American Idol' is a fickle god-maker. Some winners have found great success (hello, Kelly!), some have been dumped by their labels (so sorry, Ruben and Taylor), while some also-rans have gone on to bigger and better things. We check in on 30 'AI' alums and fill you in on which ones are in trouble with the law, which are still giving it their best shot ... and which have fallen off the radar.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Kelly Clarkson - Season 1
Then: The Texas native -- and former waitress -- wowed the judges with her performances of 'At Last' and 'Express Yourself' in the early auditions, and quickly became a fan fave with her penchant for belting out Aretha Franklin tunes. In the '02 season finale, she defeated Justin Guarini to become the first 'American Idol' champ.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Kelly Clarkson - Season 1
Now: Carrie Underwood has sold more albums in the United States, but Clarkson remains the worldwide record sales leader among 'American Idol' alumni, selling more than 23 million CDs across the globe (versus Underwood's 14 million). Clarkson is also one of only three 'AI' alums to win Grammys, and she's currently working on her fifth CD, for a planned late 2010 release.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Justin Guarini - Season 1
Then: Many thought this early fan favorite was a shoo-in to win the first 'American Idol.' Guarini's smooth croon was enough to land him the runner-up spot to Kelly Clarkson, where he still seemed poised for a successful recording career. Paula championed the spring-curl-coiffed singer, while Simon was not a fan.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Justin Guarini - Season 1
Now: He didn't escape 'From Justin to Kelly' unscathed, and was restricted from recording and other entertainment jobs until Clarkson's CD was released. His long-delayed debut disc sold poorly, he was sued over a car accident, and he commented on 'AI' for the TV Guide Channel. He also appeared on CMT's 'Gone Country,' and was married last Sept.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Nikki McKibbin - Season 1
Then: One of 'Idol''s first rocker grrls, McKibbin was a standout for Pat Benatar/Stevie Nicks/Janis Joplin performances, as well as for her red hair and status as a single mom to son Tristen. She finished third behind Clarkson and Guarini in season 1. We think she could've taken them both in a fight.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Nikki McKibbin - Season 1
Now: When producers wanted her to sing country music for her debut album, she balked, and an album was never released. She appeared on 'Fear Factor' and a 'Battle of the Network Reality Stars' show, but there wasn't much of a fan base for her long-delayed 2007 debut CD. McKibbin battled alcohol and drug addictions on VH1 reality series 'Celebrity Rehab' and 'Sober House,' and was in the audience at the season 8 'AI' finale.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Corey Clark - Season 2
Then: An R&B-style vocalist who never seemed to be taking the competition very seriously, Clark was kicked off the second season of the show after producers found out he'd failed to tell them he'd been arrested on charges of battery against his younger sister and resisting arrest. And of course, show staff couldn't have checked that out themselves.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Corey Clark - Season 2
Now: Clark's troubles have continued, most publicly with his '05 charge that he had an affair with Paula Abdul, though a Fox investigation turned up no credible evidence. A CD release flopped, and the married Clark, who has a son, has been sued for bouncing checks and charged with domestic violence and drug possession. Good to know his 15 minutes of fame haven't changed him.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

Carmen Rasmusen - Season 2
Then: One of the most criticized contestants of season 2, Rasmusen was also the youngest of the bunch at 17. Her fluffy pop performances often drew especially harsh reviews from Randy Jackson, though parents praised the Utah native's wholesome image. She ultimately finished in sixth place on the show.

American Idol Stars: Where Are They Now?

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