Lainey Wilson attends the 2024 People's Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on February 18, 2024 in Santa Monica, California.
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8 Country Stars Who Were Rejected By 'American Idol'

One of country's biggest stars was rejected seven times.

"American Idol" is famous 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 a few of their peers actually didn't fare too well on the Ryan Seacrest-fronted reality show.

Some of country music's biggest superstars, from Lainey Wilson to Kane Brown, were given a "no" from "Idol" producers years before their big breaks. Of course, they didn't let the rejection deter them from their dreams. In fact, it seems that getting a metaphorical door shut in their face from one of the biggest reality competition shows of all time only encouraged each artist to keep going.

And it's not only "Idol" that's dropped the ball. "The Voice" famously rejected country superstar Luke Combs and to hear Combs tell it, the reason why was particularly rough.

"They told me, essentially, I was too boring to be on television," Combs said on the "Full Send" podcast (quote via Billboard).

In the end, they all got the last laugh, as many of their songs are now used as audition songs by singing-competition hopefuls.

"Now people cover my songs for their auditions on those shows," Maren Morris said on the "Watch What Happens After Show" about of her many reality show rejections. "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."

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


This article previously ran in May 2021. It was updated on Feb. 26, 2024.  


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