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Which 'American Idol' rivals have the best shot to win awards?

March 19, 2009 | 11:30 am

Let's forget for a moment who has the best shot to win "American Idol." Who among the  live show participants has the best chance to go on and contend for the top showbiz awards?

Remember that Jennifer Hudson only came in seventh place in Season 3, but went on win the Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, Critics Choice, BAFTA and New York Film Critics Circle awards for her performance in "Dreamgirls" as well as best R&B album at the recent Grammys for her debut disc "Jennifer Hudson."


Season 3 champ Fantasia recorded a R&B duet with Hudson — "I'm His Only Woman" — that contended at those Grammys. Fantasia earned four Grammy nominations in 2006 for her first album ("Free Yourself") and  three more in 2008 for her second ("Fantasia"). She has three Billboard Awards, including the prize for top-selling single of 2004 ("I Believe").

Ruben Studdard, who won Season 2 by a whisker, picked up a Grammy nod in 2004 for best male R&B vocal performance ("Superstar"), but he lost to his idol, Luther Vandross. Runner-up Clay Aiken, who won three Billboard awards and was fan choice at the 2003 American Music Awards, has yet to pick up any Grammy noms.

Season 1 champ Kelly Clarkson won Grammys in 2006 for best female pop vocal performance ("Since U Been Gone") and pop album ("Breakaway"). She also won best female video twice at the MTV Music Video Awards — "Since U Been Gone" (2005) and "Because of You" (2006)  — as well as six Teen Choice Awards, four American Music Awards, and a People's Choice Award. And now that  Clarkson's fourth album — "All I Ever Wanted" — just entered the Billboard charts at No. 1, it's likely that more kudos are ahead.

Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks released her self-titled debut album in the fall of 2007 to good reviews and sales, including two platinum singles ("Tattoo" and "No Air"). The latter of those was with Chris Brown and landed them a recent Grammy nod for pop vocal collaboration.

While Taylor Hicks won Season 5 of "American Idol," he has never been nominated for any showbiz prize (and, let's be honest, has little hope in the future — what were voters thinking in 2006, eh?). However, fourth-place finisher Chris Daughtry scored four Grammy nominations for his group's self-titled debut "Daughtry." And they won four American Music Awards in 2007.

Season 4 champ Carrie Underwood is the only "American Idol" ever  nominated for best new artist at the Grammys, which she won in 2007, in addition to best female country vocal performance ("Jesus, Take the Wheel"). She repeated in that category in both 2008 ("Before He Cheats") and 2009 ("Last Name"). Carrie Underwood has also won five American Music Awards, five Country Music Assn. Awards, six Academy of Country Music Awards, and six CMTs.

So what about the current crop of "American Idol" contestants? Which ones have the best awards potential? I posed that question in The Envelope's Gold Derby forums and discovered that most support goes to Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, Adam Lambert and Lil' Rounds. Here are just a sample of comments from our posters:

Try Again: "Adam —  If the material is good or popular, he will no doubt get an AMA, VMA nomination. Allison — She seem the most poised to earn multiple nominations from the AMAs, VMAs and Grammys. She could do well with the right material to get a couple of nominations."

Gucci: "At this point, Lil' Rounds is the only one to me that has potential to land some Grammy nominations within the R&B field."

LKMOSCAR: "Allison is the only one as of now."

DJWolff: "Kris Allen seems to be the only contestant with some viable marketability. However, Adam Lambert has a huge following. He can definitely exploit the emo-Tokio Hotel route and win VMAs on his own (especially if they're fan-voted)."

Vinny: "Adam - I can see him winning a Tony someday. He can easily play larger-than-life characters on stage. Allison — She will be the next Kim Carnes / Kelly Clarkson. Lil' Rounds — She has the package (including the cute name), but she must NOT be another Mary J Blige, because there need only be one."

Read more posters' comments in the forums.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this blog item mistakening reported that Michael Sarver, Alexis Grace and Scott MacIntyre have the best chances to win "Idol," according to L.A. Times experts. In fact, the Times' Buzzmeter section identifies them has having the least chance. The correction has been made.


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Photos: Fox

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