Season 21 of American Idol will look very familiar, as three recognizable judges are returning for another season. A new round of the series, slated to air next spring, will feature Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry. The show will continue to air on ABC with Ryan Seacrest as host. Bryan will guest host Live With Kelly & Ryan alongside Seacrest in celebration of the announcement and auditions beginning next week.
As part of "Idol Across America," virtual auditions will continue through Aug. 31 in all 50 states, including Washington D.C. A representative from American Idol will meet with contestants in each state throughout the month. You can find out more about the auditions at americanidol.com/auditions. It is also possible for fans to submit audition tapes without singing in front of a producer. Minimum age of 15 is required for contestants. Currently, no premiere date has been announced for Season 21, but it usually airs between January and May. After 15 seasons on Fox, Idol has aired on ABC for the sixth time. In the 20 seasons, the show has been on ABC, Bryan, Richie, and Perry have served as judges for each season. Seacrest has been on the show for all 20 seasons. They were cheered on by the crowd. They were voted for by us. They led us. Suddenly, these seven American Idol stars disappeared. As far as I can tell, that's the case.
Over the last 20 years, what happened to some of country music's best American Idol contestants? Several early cuts enjoyed radio success before losing touch with fans on this list of country American Idol stars who disappeared.
American Idol Season 5 featured Bucky Covington. In 2006, finishing eighth was enough to land a record deal. As a result of the closing of his record label, Lyric Street Records, the North Carolina kid's radio career tapered off. Among his Top 20 hit singles was "A Different World." Since then, he hasn't been active as an independent artist and has largely avoided social media (the last tweet was in 2018). In 2020, he married his wife Hannah and has a daughter named Kennedy.
During Season 12 of American Idol, Kree Harrison dominated the early rounds. When other contestants faltered, she was a polished singer by 2013. It was finally Candice Glover who finished second, but surely that'd earn her respect from labels and programmers?
Even though she took 2021 off (she got married), Harrison remains very active musically. She has released two critically acclaimed albums, This Old Thing and Chosen Family Tree, but her next step is unknown. After American Idol, Harrison kept working, but her season in life changed on a personal level.
The ninth season of American Idol saw Casey James finish third and then sign with BNA Nashville. As a Nashville country artist, he got the chance to show off his singing, songwriting, and guitar skills after becoming an American Idol contestant who had paid his dues before the show. He had only one Top 20 hit, "Crying on a Suitcase," and was dropped by his label after a few years. He disappeared at that point.
His personal life, however, remained busy. The now 39-year-old has three children with their wife Kelli, and in 2020 he appeared as part of a country reality television supergroup. There are two members of The Voice on Texas Hill, Adam Wakefield, and Craig Wayne Boyd. Their just-released album, Heaven Down Here, will be promoted with a full tour schedule in 2022.
Until 2012, American Idol winners struggled to get a song on country radio. It was hard for fifth-place finishers like Skylar Laine to ride a fanbase to further fame. As a talented but raw artist, she moved back home to Mississippi after failing in Nashville.
It wasn't long before Laine found a path after returning to school. She is the mother of four children and is married to an Army Captain and Chaplain. Her music is hard to find on digital streaming platforms, and she hasn't released anything musically in a few years.
After releasing his debut album, Trent Harmon vanished not long after winning American Idol (Season 15). Some issues with the label and personal issues prevented him from signing with Big Machine Label Group. While he was talented and kind, he did not seem to embrace celebrity the way most artists should.
After disappearing from Twitter from mid-2019 until last summer, Harmon returned and now occasionally shares photos of himself and Kathleen. Is it professionally? Harmon seems happy to remain a songwriter. Just one new song has been released since 2018 and he has played live only sporadically.
It has been a fascinating post-Idol career for Kellie Pickler. Following her sixth place finish on Season 5 of American Idol, she was a bonafide radio star. She probably made her best music after signing with Black River Entertainment. Since the release of The Woman I Am in 2013, she hasn't released anything new.
But that doesn't mean she hasn't been busy. Before stepping away from the spotlight, Pickler won Dancing With the Stars and hosted a daytime talk show. Her unexpected return came in the form of a SiriusXM The Highway radio DJ gig in February 2022.
Danny Gokey shouldn't be included on a Stars That Disappeared list since he only disappeared from country music circles. As a Christian music star, the Season 8 favorite has four No. 1 hits to his name and more than one million Spotify listeners.
He has released seven albums, had four children with his wife, and remains active on social media and the road. There have been few American Idol contestants who did as well as the now 41-year-old.