Bob & LBF in the Morning

Bob & LBF in the Morning

Bob & LBF in the Morning

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 13: (L-R) American Idol judges Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban onstage during "American Idol" XIV Grand Finale at Dolby Theatre on May 13, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

It is not necessarily a bad thing to be rejected by the judges. We present 5 big stars that were rejected by American Idol and have gone on to become big stars. You would think that after being told by the likes of people who are the screeners for the show that you don’t have the goods to make it to the big time, that they would call it a day. That maybe true for some erstwhile singers that never made it the real judges. I’m talking about singing in front of the likes of  Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Lionel Richie, Paula Abdul and so on. Some die-hard singers refused to take no for an answer and kept plugging away it. For some, it was up to 7 rejections before giving up.

What did these 5 stars that were rejected by American Idol lack?

It begs the question, what did the preliminary talent screeners not see in these people? Where the singers too nervous and didn’t really show their abilities? Did they lack a certain “star quality” that oozed from them? Were they lacking in personality? Did they present themselves to be potential talent worthy of getting in front of the celebrity judges? Or was it the judges that screwed up and let the big fish off the hook?

How do these judges feel knowing that rejected these big stars now in retrospect? Maybe they can rest easy knowing that they judged based on what they saw from the talent that was presented to them. When you are judging someone’s singing ability, you have to be quick because the lines of want to be stars could fill a stadium you have to make a quick decision and hope it’s the right one.

Here are 5 big stars that were once rejected by American Idol and then hit it big


  • 1. Maren Morris

    The “My Church” songwriter admitted during a January 2019 WWHL appearance that American Idol, The Voice and America’s Got Talent had all turned her down. How did the judges miss this talent? She has it all, good looks and a huge voice, what more were they looking for? Morris has gone onto have huge songs in both the Country and Top 40 world, although these days she had said she may be leaving the Country scene for good.

  • 2. Luke Combs

    “They told me, essentially, I was too boring to be on television,” Combs said of his experience auditioning for Voice producers during a January 2022 appearance on the “Full Send” podcast. Luke has had a bug career and has won so Grammy’s and Country Artist awards that he will need a new storage room for them. He sang Fast Car with Tracy Chapman at this year’s Grammy show and they brought down the house.

  • 3. Colbie Caillait

    The “Bubbly” singer said she was “glad” that she didn’t make it on to American Idol during a 2010 interview with USA Today.

    “I wasn’t ready for it at all,” she admitted. “I was shy. I was nervous. I didn’t look the greatest. I wasn’t ready for it yet.” Colbie continues to record and tour and has a large fan following and is not stopping anytime soon.

  • 4. Bebe Rexha

    The “Me, Myself & I” singer revealed to Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson that she’d previously failed to make it to the judging round of American Idol auditions after performing on an August 2017 episode of Live With Kelly and Ryan. Bebe has a large voice and personality to match, how did they miss something so big and obviously star worthy?

  • 5. Lainey Wilson

    How do the judges get this wrong? Lainey is a bona fide Country star now, winning a Grammy for Artist of the year this year. Her voice, looks and authentic Country charm is so obvious now that we can all see it. The judges must have been preoccupied thinking about lunch to miss this now huge breakout star. Then again, talent scouts also missed on a football player who is now the GOAT, Tom Brady. So, yeah it can happen to the best of them.

Sign me up for the 105.7 WROR email newsletter!

Make sure you're in the know on the latest music and entertainment news, plus exclusive prizes, trips, and more!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.