Losers Always Win (…On Reality TV Music Shows Anyway!)

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Sometimes it’s actually better to be a loser than a winner!

At least if you’re on a reality TV show and you’re vying for the big prize in front of millions of television viewers, that seems to be the case.

We love TV music show contestants -- both the winners AND the losers.

It’s true. Have you noticed?

While the very first winner on any given reality TV series generally seems to make out pretty well (at least in terms of name recognition anyway), the real winners in subsequent seasons for those reality shows are more likely to be the runners up than the actual grand prize winners themselves.

Here’s where I’m coming from…

We went to the premiere show for season 4 of Nashville Star, and it got me thinking that — in many cases — the losers on these reality TV shows actually fare better than the winners.

 

Times When “Losers” Actually Did Pretty Well

If we were to just look at Reality TV showdowns within the music industry, for example — where one’s success (or failure) is dependent primarily on one’s own abilities (lyrical skill and musical talent) — you’d probably start to realize that you’re more familiar with the names of the “losers” than you are with the actual “winners”. Right?

Specifically, let’s look at American Idol and Nashville Star (the Country music version of American Idol).

 

NASHVILLE STAR
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 Nashville Star history + unofficial Nashville Star YouTube Channel

Notable Nashville Star Losers:

Actual Nashville Star Winners:

 

Judge For Yourself…

I’m sure there are many more hidden gems in the following lists of Nashville Star contestants.

Nashville Star Season 1 Contestants (2003)
Here are the Top 12 in order of elimination:
Buddy Jewell – winner
John Arthur Martinez
Miranda Lambert
Brandi Gibson
Brandon Silveira
Amy Chappell
Jamey Garner
Prentiss Varnon
Travis Howard
Natasha Valentine
Kristen Kissling
Anne Louise Blythe

Nashville Star Season 2 Contestants (2004)
Here are the Top 20 in order of elimination:
Brad Cotter – winner
George Canyon
Matt Lindahl
Lance Miller
Jennifer Hicks
Brent Keith
Marty Slayton
Shelia Marshall
Mal Rodgers
Stacie Michelle
Gregory Delang
Laura Sullivan
Austin Hanks
Rachel Williams
Heather Green
Sean Patrick McGraw
Richie Jones
Brennan Leigh
Eddie Barber
Anessa Andrews

Nashville Star Season 3 Contestants (2005)
Here are the Top 10 in order of elimination:
Erika Jo Heriges – winner
Jason Meadows
Jody Evans
Jayron Weaver
Justin David
Jenny Farrell
Tamika Tyler
Casey Simpson
Christy McDonald
Josh Owen

Nashville Star Season 4 Contestants (2006)
Here are the Top 10 in order of elimination:
Chris Young – winner
Casey Rivers
Nicole Jamrose
Matt Mason
Jared Ashley
Kristen McNamara
Melanie Torres
Monique LeCompte
Shy Blakeman
Jewels Hanson

Nashville Star Season 5 Contestants (2007)
Here are the Top 10 in order of elimination:
Angela Hacker – winner
Zac Hacker
David St. Romain
Joshua Stevens
Whitney Duncan
Meg Allison
Kacey Musgraves
Dustin Wilkes
Rickiejoleen
Tim LaRoche

Nashville Star Season 6 Contestants (2008)
Here are the Top 12 in order of elimination:
Melissa Lawson
Gabe Garcia
Shawn Mayer
Coffey Anderson
Ashlee Hewitt
Laura F. and Sophie Z.
Pearl Heart (Amy, Angela & Courtney Krechel)
Tommy Stanley
Alyson Gilbert
Justin Gaston
Third Town (Jeffrey F, James K. & Tony M.)
Charley Jenkins

 

Nashville Star Contestants: Where Are They Now?

 

 

AMERICAN IDOL
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 American Idol history + official American Idol YouTube Channel

Notable American Idol Losers:

Actual American Idol Winners:

 

Judge For Yourself…

I’m sure there are many more hidden gems in the following lists of American Idol contestants.

American Idol Season 1 Contestants (2002)
Here are the Top 10 in order of elimination:
Kelly Clarkson – winner
Justin Guarini
Nikki McKibbin
Tamyra Gray
RJ Helton
Christina Christian
Ryan Starr
AJ Gil
Jim Verraros
EJay Day

American Idol Season 2 Contestants (2003)
Here are the Top 13 in order of elimination:
Ruben Studdard – winner
Clay Aiken
Kimberley Locke
Josh Gracin
Trenyce
Carmen Rasmusen
Kimberly Caldwell
Rickey Smith
Corey Clark
Julia DeMato
Charles Grigsby
Vanessa Olivarez
Frenchie Davis

American Idol Season 3 Contestants (2004)
Here are the Top 12 in order of elimination:
Fantasia Barrino – winner
Diana DeGarmo
Jasmine Trias
LaToya London
George Huff
John Stevens
Jennifer Hudson
Jon Peter Lewis
Camile Velasco
Amy Adams
Matthew Rogers
Leah LaBelle

American Idol Season 4 Contestants (2005)
Here are the Top 12 in order of elimination:
Carrie Underwood – winner
Bo Bice
Vonzell Solomon
Anthony Fedorov
Scott Savol
Constantine Maroulis
Anwar Robinson
Nadia Turner
Nikko Smith
Jessica Sierra
Mikalah Gordon
Lindsey Cardinale

American Idol Season 5 Contestants (2006)
In alphabetical order:
Melissa McGhee
Paris Bennett
Ayla Brown
Brenna Gethers
Heather Cox
Mandisa Hundley
Kinnik Sky
Katharine McPhee
Becky O’Donohue
Stevie Scott
Bobby Bennett
Kevin Covais
Bucky Covington
Chris Daughtry
Patrick Hall
Taylor Hicks
Will Makar
Gedeon McKinney
Jose Penala
David Radford
Elliot Yamin
Ace Young

 

American Idol Contestants: Where Are They Now?

 

Other TV Music Show Winners & Losers