Music

8 Country Stars Who Were Rejected By 'American Idol'

AMY HARRIS and Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP

American Idol is notorious for giving us some of the biggest stars in country music. Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Scotty McCreery all got their start on the singing show. And Kelly Clarkson, with her music career, talk show and role on The Voice, is a superstar. But there are actually a few of their peers who didn't fare too well on the Ryan Seacrest-fronted reality show.

Take a look back at the country stars who were rejected from American Idol.

Maren Morris

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Maren Morris, the reigning ACM Female Artist of the Year, is one of the most successful modern country arists. But the "I Could Use a Love Song" singer was actually rejected from American Idol, The Voice and America's Got Talent. What?!

"Now people cover my songs for their auditions on those shows," Morris said during an appearance on the Watch What Happens After Show. "So it's like, not only is it really nice to have my song on a national television show, I get to collect the check and have some sweet revenge."

Kane Brown

Kane Brown lost
Kane Brown performs during the US99 Stars and Strings concert at the Allstate Arena on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Rosemont, Ill. (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)

Kane Brown may not have made it on American Idol like his classmate Lauren Alaina, but it all worked out in the end.

"They didn't need another Scotty McCreery," Brown said of his American Idol rejection in an interview with Billboard.

Brown did make it on to The X Factor, but he didn't like the path they'd set for him. As he tells it, the producers "tried to put me in a boy band, so I quit. I went home and did my own American Idol with covers online."

Chris Lane

Chris Lane auditioned for season 7 of Idol along with his brother Corey. The Lane brothers auditioned as a rap duo and didn't make it past the audition rounds.

Jimmie Allen

SANTA ROSA, CA - JUNE 15: Jimmie Allen performs on Day 2 of County Summer Music Festival at Sonoma County Fairgrounds on June 15, 2019 in Santa Rosa, California. Photo: imageSPACE/MediaPunch /IPX

Though he's one of country music's fastest rising stars (he's the 2021 recipient of the ACM Awards' New Male Artist), Jimmie Allen was once an aspiring Idol contestant. Allen was a Top 50 finalist on season 10.

Hillary Scott

Lady A Grand Ole Opry
Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP

Before she hit the big time as one-third of the multi-platinum Lady A, Hillary Scott was rejected by American Idol before she even got to sing for the judging panel. "I never got to see [the judges]," Scott once told Entertainment Tonight of her brief stint on the show, "I literally performed for the production assistants and the interns and I just didn't make it."

Mickey Guyton

Mickey Guyton poses on the press line at the 63rd Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. The award show airs on March 14 with both live and prerecorded segments. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Country star and recent ACM Awards co-host Mickey Guyton was actually cut from season 7 of American Idol. Though she wasn't featured much on the show, Guyton was cut just before the top 24 contestants were revealed back in 2008.

Read More: Why Kelly Clarkson Didn't Want to Win 'American Idol'

Colton Swon

Before finding fame with his brother on season 4 of The Voice, The Swon Brothers' Colton Swon actually tried his luck on American Idol as a solo artist. According to Access Hollywood, Swon competed alongside Guyton in season 7 of the show and reached the top 48 before being sent home by judges Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi.

Colbie Caillat

Though she's managed to carve out a pretty impressive career for herself in the music industry, including working with Brad Paisley and writing for Taylor Swift, Colbie Caillat actually auditioned twice for American Idol. After being rejected both times at the initial stages, meaning she never even got to sing for the infamous judges, Caillat put her music on MySpace and has gone on to see huge success.

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8 Country Stars Who Were Rejected By 'American Idol'