Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

December 8, 2020 - Featured

While they may be huge Hollywood names now, many of our favorite singing celebrities made their humble beginning on TV shows, particularly talent shows. We all have to start somewhere, and these celebs prove that you can make it big regardless of your background. 

TV shows like America’s Got Talent, The X Factor, and The Voice have all created some well-known artists. We are going to take a look at some of these artists and exactly how they defied all odds and made their names known. 

You may be surprised to learn that the following celebrities got their first real start on TV. Read on for the full list. 

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: Niagara Frontier Publications


Of course, we have to start with arguably one of the most recognized names in the world. Beyoncé is one of the biggest superstars in the world, but she didn’t just show up to the music scene one day. 

Oh no, she first found fame on the TV show Star Search back in 1993. Since then, she has gone on to lead an incredibly successful musical career, and she has been an icon in pop culture for years. 

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: NPR

After breaking away from Destiny’s Child, she embarked on a record-breaking, multi-platinum solo career with her album Dangerously In Love, which was her first in a series of #1 solo pop albums. Since then, she has continued to top the charts, with songs like Irreplaceable, Crazy In Love, and Single Ladies

Her songs are often layered with deeper meanings, whether societal or political, and she’s also an incredible stage performer. And talent must run in the family because her sister Solange Knowles is also an amazing singer!

Britney Spears

Britney Spears first made an appearance on Star Search at the age of 11! After her appearance, she went on to release her first two albums in 1999 and 2000, which turned out to be successes across the globe and helped kick-start her career. 

She’s another legend in pop culture, and she is also one of the most recognizable artists out there. Her music paved the way for much of the pop we know today.

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: BBC

Not only has she sold millions of records, but Spears was a media fixture regardless of what she was, or was not, doing. Her fame and celebrity star power was rivaled only by that of Jennifer Lopez. 

From the start of her solo career, Britney’s sex appeal was an important part of her image, as wer many of her music videos, such as those for Toxic and …Baby One More Time, which feature her in outfits that don’t leave much to the imagination. 

Christina Aguilera

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: USA Today

Like the previous two celebrities on this list, Christina Aguilera appeared on Star Search as a young woman, though this time it was in 1990 – before Beyonce or Britney. 

However, it wasn’t until 1999 that the singer made her name known in the music industry, and when she did, it was thanks to smash hits like What a Girl Wants and Genie In A Bottle. Since she first made her claim to fame, Aguilera has become a legend in the music industry. 

In the 1990s and well into the 2000s, Christina’s music focused on sexually liberated anthems and uplifting ballads, which were delivered with her iconic powerful vocal cords that many amateur artists of today can only hope to imitate. 

She’s known for her virtuosic runs and riffs scattered throughout her works that give her music a distinct flair that is irrefutably Christina. That, coupled with her creative music videos, has cemented her as one of pop culture’s icons.

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake made his first appearance on Star Search in 1992. Are you noticing a theme yet? Back then, he sang a country song, but he’s come a long way, and in the late ’90s, he became one of the lead singers for NSYNC, one of the most famous boy bands in history. 

He broke away after that and went solo, achieving massive success with hits like Rock Your Body, Cry Me a River, and Sexy Back

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: Billboard

Many argue that Timberlake is the quintessential pop star of the new millennium thanks to his talent for being a star who jumped from platform to platform on his way to making himself known as more than just a pop star. 

Justin Timberlake has his own self-sustaining empire. After reaching his peak in the world of pop, Timberlake decided to pursue different ventures, deciding to focus on entrepreneurship and acting, which also brought him considerable success. 

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson made her claim to fame in 2002 when she became the first-ever winner of the popular talent show American Idol. Since then, she has released seven albums and created hit after hit. 

Some of her most popular and recognizable songs include Because Of You, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), and Breakaway. Her vocals are unique, and her music both inspires and tugs at the heartstrings, combining to make the signature Kelly sound that we all know. 

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: House Beautiful

Clarkson distinguished herself amongst the 10,000 other musicians that auditioned for American Idol with her big, mature voice, as well as her sense of humor and down-to-earth charm. 

At one of her auditions, she changed places with Randy Jackson, one of the show’s judges, who then performed an impromptu version of I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly. After she sang A Moment Like This and Before Your Love, Clarkson won the contest. 

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert soared to fame back in 2009 when he finished second place on American Idol. He didn’t let his near-win bring him down, though, as he went on to release For Your Entertainment, his debut album. Since then, he’s sold more than 5 million records. 

In the past couple of years, Lambert has been touring as the lead singer for Queen, an iconic rock band. His signature style and vocals make him instantly recognizable. 

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: Billboard

Lambert is an LGBTQ+ artist, a two-time GLAAD Award winner, and the first openly gay performer to top the Billboard 200 chart

Along with his own work, he has stepped into the shoes of his late idol Freddie Mercury as the lead singer of Queen, the legendary rock group. In 2020, he brought back his pop, glam rock, and funk influences with his fourth studio album, titled Velvet. 

Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen enjoyed huge success when she released Call Me Maybe back in 2012, a hit single that is certainly one of her most iconic songs. However, before she released the song, she scored third place on Canadian Idol

After Call Me Maybe gave her the big break that she was looking for, she went on to release hits like Run Away With Me and I Really Like You, cementing her position as a superstar pop artist. 

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: Medium

On her debut album, Kiss, she channeled the rush of first love and combined it with signature influences like Robyn, Kimbra, and La Roux to create songs that were both relatable and swooning, appealing to a massive teenage audience from around the world. 

However, she’s not just a sparkly pop artist – she’s also known for her more down-to-earth works, like Party For One and It’s Not Christmas Till Somebody Cries. 

Jennifer Hudson

Despite her incredible success l, Jennifer Hudson only finished in 7th place on American Idol when she appeared on the show in 2004. She didn’t let that stop her, though, and she went on to release three studio albums, appear in the blockbuster film Dreamgirls, and become a mentor on The Voice UK

Her signature vocals are what put her on the music industry’s map, and she’s been there ever since. 

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: Entertainment Tonight

She went on to become one of the most successful contestants from American Idol, and she has made herself a permanent fixture in the R&B industry. She released a series of Top Ten R&B albums, such as JHUD, while still topping the charts with her hit single Spotlight. 

On top of her successful singing career, she also became an accomplished actress, winning herself an Oscar for her role as Effie White in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls, which was originally a Broadway musical. 

Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle first rose to fame when she made an appearance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, which is still one of her most memorable appearances to date

After she stunned the judging panel and audiences with her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream, Boyle finished second place in the show, finishing behind Diversity, who scored the top spot. This did not mark the end of her career, though – in fact, it was just the start for this Scottish singer. 

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: Nicki Swift

Boyle’s debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, was released in 2009 and earned the #1 spot on both the UK and US charts, setting a record in her home country for sales in the first week.

Susan Boyle made it known from the start that she was not an artist to be underestimated, and she has proven that fact time and time again. 

James Arthur

Lastly, we have James Arthur, who found his success on The X Factor. He was named the show’s winner in 2012, and his debut single, Impossible, sold more than 2.5 million copies around the globe. 

Singers Who Began Their Careers in TV Shows

Image Source: BBC

Later, James released three studio albums, and he is set to embark on a huge tour sometime in the near future. 

His emotional music in combination with his signature, soulful vocals have made him a pop-folk icon, and he’s had quite a successful career. 


While these singers didn’t exactly get their start in the industry in the traditional way, they have surely made their mark on the music industry

These are the ultra-famous singers who got their chance at fame by starting on TV.