Talent competitions like American Idol, Making The Band, and X-Factor have introduced us to incredibly talented singers before they climbed the charts and became the artists we know them as today. From Ruben Studdard to Da Band (and a few slices of cheesecake in between), here’s an update on the artists we once cheered and voted for.
Everyone’s favorite velvet teddy bear won America over when he first auditioned for American Idol back in 2003, singing Stevie Wonder’s Ribbon in the Sky. The soft-spoken and cuddly crooner went on to win the competition and release his debut album, Soulful. The record, which featured Sorry 2004, debuted at the top of the charts and scored Ruben the second highest first-week sales of any Idol winner.
However, his subsequent album sales began to decline and his star seemed to fade. Ruben later appeared on the season 15 of The Biggest Loser, where he dropped 119 pounds and worked his way back into our hearts.
Ruben returned to the Idol stage in February for the show’s final season, where he performed alongside contestant Avalon Young. Ruben’s currently on tour.
“All I hear is Bad Boy this and Bad Boy that.”
In 2002, Diddy embarked on a journey to create the next biggest Bad Boy act, using MTV to showcase his search. After auditioning 40,000 hopeful artists on the first season of Making The Band, he narrowed it down to five gritty rappers and one songbird – Sara Stokes, Dylan Dilinjah, Chopper “Young City,” Babs, E. Ness, Freddy P – better known as Da Band.
Most known for walking to Juniors, the world-famous cheesecake spot in Brooklyn, to fetch Diddy a slice of coveted cheesecake, the sextet found instant fame with the release of their debut album, Too Hot For TV.
The group dissolved shortly after.
According to Dylan, five of the six members were down for a reunion. Chopper Young City reportedly declined while releasing several mixtapes since his MTV days. In 2015, after being shot, Chopper reevaluated his life and has a new outlook.
Sara Stokes signed on to do a reality show, From the Bottom Up, but later planned to sue after she was portrayed as a “man beater.”
Babs Bunny, aka Lynese Wiley, is now the head of the biggest female rap company, which produces Queen of the Ring.
Tessanne Chin‘s big voice made her the breakout star of The Voice. The Jamaican singer won the competition and became the only Voice contestant that season to land a spot on top of the iTunes charts with her cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water. After nailing another performance, this time of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing, Chin scored her second number one iTunes song.
In the months after winning The Voice, Chin went on world tour, with an array of artists, including: Lauryn Hill, Shaggy, and the Marleys. Despite her popularity and powerful vocals, Chin’s debut album, Count on My Love, only sold 7,000 copies in its first week.
She performed at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 2015, a month after divorcing her husband of four years.
Chin dropped her new single, Love Suicide, to rave reviews and is reportedly working on a new album. “It’s about relaunching and having something to tour with and something to tell people about. I will be doing performances, but I want to finish the album first,” she said in an interview with Popdust.
Like her Bad Boy label mates Da Band, Dawn was discovered by Diddy on the MTV show Making The Band. Dawn’s unique tone made her a standout amongst the crowd. She was definitely one of Diddy’s favorites.
Dawn, Shannon, Aundrea, D Woods and Aubrey O’ Day made up the girl group Danity Kane. Their self-titled debut album was a massive success –selling over one million copies with two hit songs, Showstopper and Ride for You.
Their second album, Welcome to the Dollhouse, also topped the charts. However, their success couldn’t keep the girls together. Aubrey and D Woods were dropped from the group until the remaining members broke up in 2009.
Four of the five members announced their comeback at the MTV Awards in 2013, but Aundrea left the group in 2014 to start a family. A fight between Dawn and the remaining girls left her as a solo artist.
Dawn has a loyal following as an independent artist. Dawn is currently on the “REDEMPTION Live” tour and recently became the first artist to perform on Youtube’s Live 360.
Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane, Camila Cabello, and Lauren Jauregui became Fifth Harmony in 2012, after placing third on X-Factor. It wasn’t long before they released their single Miss Movin On and debut EP Better Together, which ranked high on the Billboard charts. The quartet became so popular, they won Artist to Watch at the 2013 VMAs.
The group promotes positivity and female empowerment, which translates into their music, giving them a refreshing presence in the industry. Their single Worth It, off their debut album Reflection, eventually went triple platinum, solidifying the girls as the most successful X-Factor acts.
How’s that for third place?!
In January of 2016, Fifth Harmony changed management companies and announced their second album, 7/27 (the day they were formed). The lead single, Work From Home featuring Ty Dolla Sign, peaked at number five on the Billboard charts, giving the ladies another top 10 hit and their highest position on the charts. Fifth Harmony will hit the road on June 22, 2016.