‘American Idol’ Runner-Up Unleashes on Show Over How Second-Place Contestants Are Treated

by Emily Morgan

Season 6 runner-up of “American Idol,” Blake Lewis, is holding nothing back when it comes to reflecting on his life post “Idol.” 

The popular singing competition became a worldwide phenomenon when it debuted in 2002. It catapulted the careers of some of music’s biggest names, such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, and Jennifer Hudson. 

During its Season 6 run in 2007, the show was arguable at the height of its popularity. While on the show, Lewis stood out from the crowd with his smooth voice and unique beat-boxing. 

As a result, he found himself in the Top 2 and competed against Jordin Sparks in the finale. Although Sparks ultimately won the competition that year, fans undoubtedly remembered Lewis for his unforgettable performances. 

In addition, his rendition of “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi is known as one of the best performances in the 20 years of “Idol” history. 

In an interview with The Insider, nine former American Idol contestants who came in second place shared details of what life was like for them after the show, with some expressing frustration toward the program. 

Even though the show may have launched Lewis’ as a serious artist, it hasn’t kept him from keeping his lips sealed about his experience. Lewis spoke candidly about how “Idol” treated its second-place contestants, saying,” ‘American Idol’ doesn’t give two cents about us after we’re not on the show unless you got first place. It’s sad, but it is what it is.” 

In addition, several other runners-up revealed they have a comparable experience. Season 9’s Crystal Bowersox mentioned that “attitude is everything” and that it’s been hard to garner a loyal fanbase. 

‘American Idol’ alum Blake Lewis faced challenges following the show

While some runner-ups felt dissatisfied, the second-place finisher from the show’s inaugural season, Justin Guarini, is still grateful.

Any of the disadvantages that might’ve come from being [on] ‘American Idol’ were lessons I had to learn and things that I had to overcome in order to be someone who has lasted in this business for 20-plus years at a high level,” he said in retrospect. 

As for Lewis, his biggest problem came following the show. According to Lewis, he couldn’t book gigs that he usually could before his time on “Idol.”

Although Lewis may feel sour about his experience, the same may not be said for “Idol’s” most recent runner-up, Huntergirl. During her time on the show, the small-town country singer blew judges away with her authentic voice and talented songwriting. Although America named Noah Thompson as Season 20’s winner, it hasn’t stopped her from feeling like a winner. 

“I was really proud of myself,” she told TV Insider following the finale. She added, “I was so happy that I made it through this experience. I was so proud of Noah. Life is so short, so I believe you should do what makes you happy. I felt I was showing the world who I am as a person. It was great to go out singing “Red Bird,” which was a huge part of my heart. The finale was a celebration of what happened in the past year.