6 of Country Music’s Favorite and Most Successful Reality Show Winners

Country music fans love a fan-voted televised talent show as they love Friday night football and possibly Sunday morning church. Dedicated viewers tune in every week to cheer on their favorite artists and phone in their votes.

Sometimes it works – and sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes, losing can be more profitable than winning. It’s rare for a reality show winner to break out of the television show and go on to have chart-topping careers. However, it does happen.

Here’s a look at country music’s most popular reality show winners.

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Carrie Underwood (‘American Idol’)

Carrie Underwood won “American Idol” in 2005 and went on to sell more than 85 million records and chart 28 No. 1 songs, 14 of which she co-wrote. Underwood, a member of the Grand Ole Opry,  recently performed the 50th show of her Las Vegas residency at Resorts World Theatre.

Her hit songs include “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “All-American Girl,” and “Before He Cheats.” The Oklahoma native celebrated her 14th wedding anniversary to former hockey star Mike Fisher on July 10. The couple is the parents of sons Isaiah and Jacob.

Kelly Clarkson (‘American Idol’)

While Kelly Clarkson isn’t a full-time country music star, she does dabble in the genre and is an undeniable pop culture icon.

Clarkson won American Idol’s first season in 2002 and went on to nab No. 1 hits, including “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” “My Life Would Suck Without You,” and “A Moment Like This.”
Clarkson anchors her popular daily television show “The Kelly Clarkson Show” on NBC.

Scotty McCreery (‘American Idol’)

Scotty McCreery won “American Idol” as a teenager in 2011. McCreery married his high school sweetheart. They welcomed a son, Avery, in 2022.  The North Carolina native is a Grand Ole Opry member with six No. 1 songs to his credit. His most recent two singles—” Cab in a Solo” and “Fall of Summer”—were most added to country radio the week they were released. In May, he released his chart-topping fifth studio album, Rise & Fall, an artful album that reflects the depth of McCreery’s evolution as an artist, his penchant for storytelling, and his continued dedication to country music.

Chris Young (‘Nashville Star’)

Chris Young won USA Network’s now-defunct talent competition in 2006. After getting off to a slow start with Sony Music Nashville, Young went on to chart 13 No. 1 songs, collect more than 5 billion on-demand streams, and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

Young’s hit songs include “Young Love & Saturday Night,” “I’m Comin’ Over,” “At The End Of A Bar,” “Famous Friends” and more.

Young headlined Nashville’s Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th celebration last week for a record-breaking 355,000 people. The night included one of the country’s largest July 4th fireworks shows,  drone light elements, and was televised as part of CNN’s “The Fourth In America” special. 

Cassadee Pope (‘The Voice’)

Cassadee Pope didn’t begin her career with aspirations of being a country singer – and she doesn’t want to be one right now, either. However, after Pope won “The Voice” in 2012, she released her debut country album a year later.

She and Chris Young teamed up for a chart-topping duet, “Think of You,” in 2016. The song is Pope’s most significant success on country radio. Earlier this year, Pope returned to her pop-rock roots. However, she said she started her departure from country music with her Levi Hummon collaboration, “RSVP,” in 2022.

Craig Wayne Boyd (‘The Voice’)

Craig Wayne Boyd captured the hearts of country music fans during a successful run on The Voice in 2014. Boyd told fans that before he came to California for the show, he had been sleeping in his truck. But he lost his truck, so he slept on a friend’s couch. The Team Blake singer won country fans over with his traditional sound and dedication to his son.

Boyd met his current wife, Taylor, shortly after winning “The Voice,” and the couple has five children.

(Photo by Joy Malone/Getty Images)

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