In this day and age, it seems like fresh talent is being discovered almost daily, partially due to all the successful reality singing competitions that are broadcasted on major television networks. The platform shows like The Voice, American Idol, and America’s Got Talented give artists are exciting, as often the show can catapult them into a successful music career.
These shows have given us some of the most successful country musicians in the industry, such as American Idol winners, Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina, and Scotty McCreery and The Voice winners Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery; however, there are tons of talented country artists, who you probably didn’t even know were on one of the shows.
Check out our list below!
1. Morgan Wallen
Rising country artist, Morgan Wallen is all over the charts lately, with two number one hits under his belt off his debut album If I Know Me; however, back in 2014, Wallen competed on season 6 of NBC’s The Voice. Before he found his voice as a country artist, the singer-songwriter sans mullet, chose to sing rock and alternative songs like “Collide.” He was eliminated, during the playoff rounds, but two years later he returned to his Tennessee roots, found his place in country music, and signed with Big Loud Records. Take a listen to his rendition of Florida Georgia Line’s “Stay”, perhaps foreshadowing his number one song and collaboration “Up Down” with the duo.
2. Maren Morris
If you know country music then you know the phenom that is Maren Morris. Morris is defying all odds with her sophomore record GIRL, honing both her songwriting and singing skills, delivering an album that pushes genre barriers. Before her success, Morris found herself auditioning and being turned down by American Idol, The Voice, and America’s Got Talent. The rejection clearly only fueled her fire, proving that the singing shows missed out on her unique talent. Morris shares more about her trials and tribulations in her special ‘Youtube Artist Spotlight Stories.’
3. The Swon Brothers
We caught up with Zach and Colton Swan of The Swon Brothers, earlier this year in our Swag Spotlight interview, where we recounted their journey on The Voice. Unlike the previous artists on the list, the duo made it to the live finals in season 4, placing third. Ultimately, the brothers got their start on The Voice in 2013, but are proving their staying power each and every day through the music and loyal fanbase.
4. Kacey Musgraves
Way back in 2007, Grammy winner, Kacey Musgraves auditioned for season 5 of a singing competition show called ‘Nashville Star.’ Fellow elite country artists, such as Chris Young and Miranda Lambert are also alumni of the show. Musgraves was eliminated fourth in the competition and didn’t really achieve much notoriety from her stint. Flash forward a few years later, Musgraves went on to drop her debut album Same Trailer, Different Park, which peaked at number 1 on the charts. She has found her place in the music industry since, and we can’t get enough of her superstar talent.
5. Jimmie Allen
NYCountry Swag 2018 Artist to Watch, Jimmie Allen has had quite the history with singing competition shows. Allen auditioned for America’s Got Talent but didn’t even make it past the preliminary auditions. In 2011, he was rejected yet again, on the tenth season of American Idol, which fellow country artist Scotty McCreery went on to win. As fate would have it, several years later, McCreery and Allen reconnected again on McCreery’s ‘Seasons Change Tour.’ Flash forward to today, Allen’s debut single, “Best Shot” went number 1 and, he will be a fixture at country music festivals this summer.
6. Kane Brown
Country music artist, Kane Brown has created quite the name for himself in the industry. With a loyal fanbase behind him and an organic rise to fame, it’s hard to believe that Brown was turned down from American Idol. Ironically, the entertainer returned to Idol recently as a special guest to sing with a finalist. Brown’s stint on The X-Factor was also short after he quit because the show wanted him to be in a boy band. Thankfully, he followed his intuition because he now has two back to back number one albums and three consecutive number one singles to his name.
Talented singer-songwriter RaeLynn is making a name for herself in country music. She’s successfully opened for superstar Miranda Lambert and is currently touring with Maren Morris. Back in 2012, she auditioned for the second season of The Voice. She would go on to make it to the quarterfinals. Although she didn’t win the competition, RaeLynn is proving that she is a force in Nashville, even achieving a number one record with her debut album WildHorse.
8. Chris Lane
Fans of Chris Lane know that he likes to bring his twin brother Cory out on stage with him; however, what you might not know is, the two auditioned for season seven of American Idol together; however, their audition was not with a country song. The duo actually rapped for the judges; needless to say, they didn’t make it to the Hollywood rounds. Despite their failure, it’s safe to say that Chris has found success adding his own flavor to country music and garnering fans worldwide. Although the above video is super blurry, it’s actually hilarious to see the twins’ audition.
9. Colbie Caillat (Gone West)
You might recognize Colbie Calliat as a pop artist; however, Caillat has recently embarked on a new venture in country music, fronting a band called ‘Gone West.’ Despite success as a solo artist and in various genres, she was rejected from American Idol multiple times, even before singing for the judges. Caillat surely got the last laugh, as she has a slew of number one singles under her belt and multiple Grammy awards to add to her already impressive resume.
10. Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum)
Rounding out our list is Hillary Scott, one of the lead singers of the trio Lady Antebellum. Scott has arguably one of the best voices in country music but was rejected by American Idol twice. The powerhouse singer didn’t even make it to sing for the judges. Despite the adversity, Scott went on to be a part of one of the most successful country groups to date, Lady Antebellum. With new music out now, including the brilliant “What If I Never Get Over You,” and a current Las Vegas residency, it’s safe to say that American Idol missed out on her talent.
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