Now that we’re all caught up on our favorite American Idol winners, we’re turning our attention to the talented singers who came in second place. Quite a few went on to launch hugely successful careers (oh hey, Adam Lambert), while others ventured into new territories, like acting and politics. But if there’s anything we’ve learned from this talented group, it’s that runners up can also make it big. Most recently, 19-year-old Iam Tongi was crowned the winner of season 21 (with Megan Danielle as the runner-up).
It has already been confirmed that Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie are back as judges for season 22. The installment kicks off on February 18, 2024, and is hosted by—you guessed it—Ryan Seacrest. Tori Kelly is also joining the season as a guest mentor and performer.
Following Tongi's victory, Perry told E! News, "It's been emotional, like a good therapy session. Just to see these kids, young people—younger than me—just grow and get what they came for. Even if they didn't win, they got what they came for. There's something that was sparked in them that can never be put back or be not believed in."
As we patiently wait to see who the next winner (and next runner up) will be, we’re revisiting the full American Idol runners up list to see where they are now. Is Justin Guarini still pursuing music? What has Crystal Bowersox been up to these days? Keep reading to find out.