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Farewell AMERICAN IDOL! BWW Looks Back on Contestants Who Made It to Broadway

After 15 seasons of epic performances, star power and incredible moments, the final AMERICAN IDOL will be crowned Thursday night. The two-part Series Finale begins tonight at 8:00-10:06 PM ET on FOX.

While the long-running singing competition is best known for producing mega stars in the music industry, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert, theater fans are grateful for the show's discovery of future stars of the Broadway stage.

So as we say good-bye to this history-making television series (don't get the Kleenex out just yet - producers are already hinting that Idol will be returning with a new and improved format!) BWW takes a look back at former contestants who made it to the Great White Way!


Husband and wife duo Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo both competed on the singing competition. Young was a finalist in Season 5 of the show, while DeGarmo made it all the way to the Top 2 in Season 3, finishing second to Fantasia Barrino. The couple went on to co-star in the Broadway revival of HAIR as well as the 2014 National Tour of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT.

In May of 2012, the couple returned to AMERICAN IDOL where Ace proposed to the love of his life on live television. Check out the surprise engagement below:


Constantine Maroulis placed sixth on the 4th season of the show. He went on to appear in the Broadway musical THE WEDDING SINGER in 2006 and earned a Tony nomination for his starring role in Broadway's ROCK OF AGES. He later starred in the 2013 revival of JEKYLL AND HYDE.

Below, watch Maroulis perform his most memorable number from Season Six of IDOL, the Queen classic, "Bohemian Rhapsody"


Runner up on the debut season of AMERICAN IDOL, Justin Guarini went on to make multiple appearances on Broadway including the role of Fiyero in WICKED (2014), Carlos in WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (2011), Paris in ROMEO AND JULIET (2013) and the Green Day rock musical AMERICAN IDIOT (2011).

Below, watch Guarini look back on his AMERICAN IDOL audition:


The finale of IDOL's second season would go down in history as the smallest margin of victory by a champion. In fact, Ruben Studdard triumphed over runner-up Clay Aiken by just 134,000 votes out of the 24 million votes recorded. Aiken would go on to star in Broadway's SPAMALOT in 2008. Check out his appearance in the musical below!


Season 3 IDOL champ Fantasia Barrino went on to star in two Broadway musicals - 2007's THE COLOR PURPLE and 2014's AFTER MIDNIGHT.

Barrino had arguably one of the most memorable performances in the history of IDOL. Watch her moving rendition of George Gershwin's "Summertime" during Season 3's competition.


No one could have imagined that Jennifer Hudson would be eliminated so early on during Season 3 of AMERICAN IDOL. (If the "Judge's Save" had existed at the time she may have gone on to win it all!) However Hudson went on to prove that she didn't need the Idol crown to forge a successful career, picking up the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the big screen adaptation of DREAMGIRLS.

The actress is currently making her Broadway debut in the revival of THE COLOR PURPLE.

Below, watch Hudson belt out the show-stopping number "And I Am Telling You" from DREAMGIRLS,


America was stunned in 2006 when a silver-haired 29-year-old singer from Birmingham, Alabama triumphed over Katharine McPhee in the fifth season of AMERICAN IDOL. Perhaps it was due to the support of his loyal fans known as the "Soul Patrol." Nevertheless, Hicks went on to play "Teen Angel" in the 2008 Broadway revival of GREASE.

Below, watch Hicks perform his first single "Do I Make You Proud" on the Season 5 finale.


Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks made her Broadway debut in 2010 taking over the role of "Nina" in IN THE HEIGHTS. She also starred in the big screen 2012 musical remake SPARKLE.

Below, watch her perform "Breathe" from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony-winning musical


Todrick Hall made it to the semi-finals of Season Nine of AMERICAN IDOL. The star of MTV's TODRICK appeared on Broadway in 2009's MEMPHIS and THE COLOR PURPLE in 2008.

Below check out Hall's masterful video "The Evolution of Disney"


While Season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee has not yet made her Broadway debut, we're hoping she'll reprise her SMASH role in the recently announced Marilyn Monroe musical BOMBSHELL, now being developed for the stage.

Below, watch her perform "Don't Forget Me" as her SMASH character Karen Cartwright.

Future IDOLS on Broadway?

So who will be the next AMERICAN IDOL to make it to the Broadway stage? Our money's on Season 15 Finalist La'Porsha Renae, who can belt out a tune with the best of them! Below, watch her light up the stage with her performance of "Diamonds"

Did we miss any AMERICAN IDOL contestants who made it to Broadway? Let us know in the comments section below!

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From This Author - Caryn Robbins